Theatre tickets from £10
HomeNewsWhat's On DirectoryClassified AdsShoppingChat BackAbout UsContact Us
  Going Out  
  Cinema, Theatre, Shows & Comedy  
  Pubs & Bars  
  Restuarants & Gastro Pubs  
  Sports, Pursuits & Gyms  
  Days Out & Places to Visit  
  Parks & Playgrounds  
  Our Reviews  

Bagattis - Italian - South Croydon


The Chat House - Indian - South Croydon

  Croydon Car Show  
  Eric Hands - Photographer in Croydon  
  Lady Day -
Dawn Hope at the Warehouse Theatre
  Layhams Farm  

The Rectory -
New Pub in Purley


Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (15) @ Warner Village Cinema, Purley Way

  Tiger-Tiger Opening Night  

Wildlife Hospital Open Day


The Wing Yip Centre


Although noted for world-class performances at our very own Fairfield Halls, Croydon isn’t exactly famous for the number of artists actually producing music in our philistine’s playground of a borough.  It was across the road from Fairfield, however, that we went to see one of Croydon’s major new talents perform some of his work.   

Dr Ludger Hofmann-Engl was giving a piano recital at the Unitarian Church in Croydon just before Christmas. We already knew Ludger gave piano lessons,
( ), but beyond this we knew not a lot.  Grateful for a night off from Christmas shopping we braved the winter night and the Croydon traffic to find out more.

Ludger studied composition at the Nuremberg Conservatory and was instructed in Piano at the Sacred Music Institute Erlangen and in Berlin, completing his PhD in 2003 in Music Psychology at Keele University.  He has pursued the psychological side of music having written many articles on the subject and talked at international conferences around the world.

The venue, although small, is ideal for this kind of event and for the size of the audience, which had been limited to family, friends, colleagues and former pupils.  The atmosphere was informal and relaxed, several children were sitting near the front and from our experience of piano performances this was going to be hard going for them.  We soon realised this was not going to be a concern due to the punchy format, as well as the variety and length of the concert.

The concert was arranged into two sections either side of the interval with an example of a Fantasia by Mozart in the first, followed by three Chopin Waltzes in the second session.  Following each composer’s piece, Ludger then played an equivalent composition from his own catalogue of work.  A catalogue that now numbers over fifty compositions played by orchestras across Europe for broadcast on radio and released on Cd, with more coming up in 2004.

More self-indulgent musicians would just play own material, but by interspersing his own works with those of Mozart and Chopin he created a variety that was kind to the 21st century attention span of some listeners (namely the staff of Croyweb).

Between pieces, taking the applause, Ludger literally beamed sunlight into the room, he was obviously really enjoying himself.  A man very much at ease with himself, in love with his wife and family, and not least his music. 

The programme contained references to Ludger’s method of composing which comprised exploring the psychological impact of cognitive experiences thereby creating complex musical structures in accordance with life events.  We were too polite to ask exactly what all this meant and it remained a mystery until the full impact was dramatically brought home during the opening piece. 

In a departure from the programme he played a piece he’d written for his wife.  It consisted of four sections covering the main stages of their relationship.  Much to the obvious embarrassment of his wife Nicky he played the second section – “Troubles”.  It was staggeringly powerful and not a little tortured.  Without completely understanding how it was happening one could sense a huge feeling behind the music and a communication of something rather awe inspiring.  We were assured later that the piece really was based on their life experience of each other, which left us wondering how these two people were still together, although happily the composition ends in a section called "Unity". So the idea was that the process of growing together is not always smooth but contains painful moments, which - if both parties try hard enough - will eventually be overcome.

In another twist to the programme was Ludger ended with Chopin’s Mazurka Opus 68.4, an unfinished piece found beside the composer’s deathbed.  The haunting and beautiful melody was played to perfection by Ludger and with due reverence he decided to loop the music therefore not imposing an ending of his own.  The audience were invited to leave during the piece that was then gently phased out after everyone had left the hall. 

The style of ending also avoided the need for an ovation from the appreciative audience.  In characteristic form he emerged casually from the hall into the foyer after several minutes to the enthusiastic applause of the still waiting audience who weren’t going anywhere until we’d shown the appreciation the performance so rightly deserved.

© Croyweb 2002 | Terms of Usage | Privacy policy | Site design by vakart