Pupils, parents and other visitors to The Beacon were given a real treat by pianist Alexander Ardakov and children’s author, illustrator and storyteller James Mayhew. As Alexander played Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky James illustrated the music. As he painted and drew, James and the emerging picture were filmed and projected onto a big screen. Each of the ten sections of the music describes a scene such as The Gnome, Ballet of Unhatched Chicks, Limoges Market, Catacombs and The Hut on Hen’s Legs. James, who is probably best known for his Katie and Ella Bella Ballerina books, admitted that the most difficult sections of the work to illustrate are the ones which do not take very long to play.
James introduced each section with a poem he had specially written about the episode depicted in the music. The whole audience was spellbound as they watched the paintings emerge with amazing deftness while Alexander played with such a commanding understanding of the music. There was a great rapport between pianist and artist who were both obviously enjoying the performance.
The Old Castle before which a troubadour sings
There was a retiring collection for Friends of BCH and James very generously agreed that the paintings could be sold and the proceeds donated to the charity. The evening raised over £1800.
Huge thanks to Alexander and James for their unforgettable performances and The Beacon which organised the event and provided wine before the performance in their stunning Spinney Theatre.
The Great Gate of Kiev