Leading South African pianist gives concert at Melrose

Ben Schoeman, a world-class award-winning pianist, will give a recital of music from Bach to Rachmaninoff in Melrose Parish Church Hall on Friday, December 14.

Ben has performed solo piano widely across Europe, North America and Africa. In collaboration with his duo partner, cellist Anzél Gerber, he was awarded first prize in the Ibla Grand Prize Competition in Italy.

The duo also played in the New York Carnegie Hall and received the gold medal in the Golden Music Awards for their recording of music by Anton Rubinstein. In 2008 he became the first South African to win the first grand prize in the 11th UNISA Vodacom International Piano Competition in Pretoria.

Ben’s concert begins with Bach’s French Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 815, consisting of seven movements. Following this, four of Chopin’s most loved pieces: Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op.60, Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39, Impromptu in G flat major, Op. 51 and the musically-demanding Polonaise Heroïque in A flat major, Op.53. Of the latter piece, Chopin’s long-time lover and companion, Amantine Dupin (or ‘George Sand’), wrote (in translation): ‘“The inspiration! The force! The vigour!... From now on this polonaise should be… a heroic symbol!’.

Next comes Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ Concert Suite, Op. 71, comprising eight memorable numbers from the much-loved ballet of the same title.

Ben will conclude his concert with Rachmaninoff’s romantic Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 3. Technically in three movements, two ‘non allegro’ bridges link the movements together.

Concert starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £14 on the door.

Even before we have cruel frosts and deep, crisp snow, the run up to Christmas can be a fraught time.

Abbey Consort have the perfect antidote – Seasonal Sparkle!

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kelso is the place to be at 3pm on Saturday, December 15 when the Kelso-based choir, under the direction of James Letham, will present an attractive programme of seasonal favourites.

From Gaudete to Good King Wenceslas, the rousing Torches, plus modern classics from John Rutter and David Willcocks as well as Gustav Holst’s charming Christmas Day – a medley of familiar traditional melodies.

Tickets £8 on the door or from Hector Innes, Kelso.