piano encounter

As it’s Sunday, tv usually provides a suitable afternoon film.

David Lean’s classic 1945 film ‘Brief Encounter’ is the quintessential Sunday afternoon film.

It of course uses Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto as its soundtrack.

But I don’t know much about the pianist who recorded that famous performance. Do you?

Thanks to a new 5-CD box set of her solo recordings for Parlophone & Columbia during the 2nd world war (APR 7502), there’s an opportunity to learn a lot more.

Eileen Joyce was born in Tasmania, but was resident in England for many years, playing professionally until her retirement in the early 1960s.

Apparently she used to match the colour of her dress to the mood of the music she was performing.

So faced with two different concertos, she changed dresses during the interval.

Great story – but the truth, Joyce said, was that she sweated so much, and it also distracted her from her stage fright.

The new box set, which features the music of around 30 composers from Bach and Mozart to Chopin and Liszt, is ‘Classical CD of the Week’ in the ‘Daily Telegraph.’

Eileen Joyce – Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto – 3rd Movt

Eileen Joyce – Schlozer Etude in A Flat Major

APR Recordings – official website

A recording of Rach 2 that I have and like is by Barry Douglas with the LSO and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Through the wonders of YouTube, someone has uploaded the 1993 tv film ‘Concerto’ featuring the making of this recording.

You also get Dudley Moore in comic pianist mode, which I’d forgotten is actually quite irritating.

Barry Douglas – Concerto – Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto


2 Responses to “piano encounter”

  1. Kytle says:

    I didn’t, but hope to catch up with it on iPlayer before it goes. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Gordon T says:

    I seem to remember reading a children’s book about Eileen Joyce when I was young, but I can’t find any reference to it now. I didn’t realise, however, that it was her recording that was used in ‘Brief Encounter’.
    There was an interesting programme on Rach’s 2nd Piano Concerto on Radio 4 the other day (in the “Soul Music” series), which featured among others John Peel’s widow, for whom it held particular associations. I wonder if you heard it?

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