Enoch Arden at St Mary’s

Sunday 8 November 4.00 pm

Streamed LIVE concert in an empty church

Christopher Kent (actor) and Gamal Khamis (piano)

Enoch Arden for voice and piano by Richard Strauss Op 38

based on the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Following previous acclaimed performances at St Mary’s of their narrative recitals Never Such Innocence ( 2018) and Odyssey (2019), Christopher Kent and Gamal Khamis return with a rare opportunity to hear a hidden gem of the romantic repertoire. Enoch Arden is a deeply touching narrative poem originally written by Tennyson in 1864 and set by Richard Strauss for speaker and piano in 1897. Although Strauss performed it widely himself with the actor Ernst Possart at the time, it has been heard infrequently since, despite advocacy from such notable figures as Glenn Gould, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Patrick Stewart.

Enoch Arden tells the story of three childhood friends who grow up in a remote fishing village. Enoch becomes a sailor, marries his sweetheart Annie Lee and then sets off on a long voyage from which he never returns. After many years, assuming he is lost forever, Annie reluctantly marries the third friend, the miller Philip Ray, who has offered to bring up her children. But then Odysseus-like, Enoch does return only to find, unlike Odysseus, that his wife has not waited for him. What happens next is both stirringly dramatic and agonisingly tender. With words and music of haunting beauty, Enoch Arden is a masterwork of the now almost lost genre of musical melodrama.

Wonderful performance of Enoch Arden by Tennyson and Strauss………it still holds its magic as a melalogue as was obvious to the record of views at St Mary’s Perivale today with a magnificent performance from Christopher Kent with the very difficult piano part played by Gamal Khamis.I thought Claude Rains with Glenn Gould was good but this is up there with them.

I performed it all over Italy with my wife Ileana Ghione and after her death with her best friend and illustrious colleague Milena Vukotic but rarely have I been so moved.Now I understand why our performances too had the same effect as today because I have never sat through a live performance except from the driving seat ! Unfortunately it is the only melalogue that really works in this modern age.Liszt and Schumann wrote some too but Strauss knew better!

Christopher Kent has appeared on stage, screen and radio in a wide range of roles from Shakespeare to contemporary drama. London theatre appearances have included Cyrano de Bergerac with Robert Lindsay at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and The Government Inspector with Timothy Spall at Greenwich Theatre. He is also one of the UK’s best-known voiceover actors and his voice is regularly heard on commercials, documentaries, film trailers and literary recordings. Recent concert work includes collaborations with the Bridge String Quartet, West London Sinfonia and the Voice of God in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde.

Gamal Khamis gained a degree in Mathematics at Imperial College London and completed his formal musical education at the Royal College of Music. He first performed at the Wigmore Hall at the age of 10 and has since appeared at most of the major U.K. concert halls, across Europe, North America and Australasia, and on BBC television and radio. Gamal has won major awards for both solo and collaborative piano playing, including at the Royal Over-Seas League and the Ferrier Awards. He is an Artist with the Concordia Foundation, Royal Over-Seas League, Park Lane Group and Samling, and is a member of the Lipatti Piano Quartet.



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