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I became closer acquainted with Piano 40's personnel at a dinner party hosted by Nadia Lasserson and her husband, Mike:

Richard Deering, along with Nadia, is a founder member. I knew his playing from a rather special Saga LP I prize, made in the mid 1960s and devoted to English piano music by Bridge, Goossens, Scott, Ireland, Bowen and Bax. It should be licensed by EMI for inclusion in their British Composers series. The persuasive mellow tones of the Blüthner piano matched many first performances of new works he presented at home and abroad, and I see him now as a musical schemer in the fullest sense. In the course of introducing the music to audiences, he writes his own liner notes and is constantly thinking up new ideas, comparisons and ways of spreading interest with listeners. I occasionally have the feeling that he would like to 'shut off' more often than time allows; certain stares in my direction also indicate that he would like to analyse me more closely under a microscope!

He has the perfect foil in Nadia Lasserson, who has enough energy and enthusiasm to run any enterprise of her own choosing. I think she knows just everybody in the music business. She immediately senses the solutions to most problems -- worldly, musical and otherwise -- and is very fair in her judgments and assessments. Occasionally, I deliberately say something out of turn or just act cheeky. I am pounced upon and told to shut up. She and husband Mike are great fun, and warm, understanding people. Both read me like a book!

Jeremy Brown I know less well, although he is plainly in love with a considerable range of music and understands the problems and desires of performers following years of experience. As well as keeping a close eye on keyboard partners, particularly involving group changes of personnel, like the second violinist in a string quartet he acts as that all-important mediator that makes things all hang together.

Piano 40. From left to right: Richard Deering, Nadia Lasserson, Rachel Nadin and Jeremy Brown
Piano 40. From left to right: Richard Deering, Nadia Lasserson, Rachel Nadin and Jeremy Brown

The latest recruit -- Rachel Nadin -- I met all too briefly after the concert. She is a great beauty and has a radiant smile. Considering she was 'flung into the fray' without warning, her energy and expertise are there for all to see and hear.

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Copyright © 22 April 2004 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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