Love and Mercia

Supporting material for the concert at Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham, on 11 June 2024


OUR TOWN: Cheltenham & The Cotswolds III LOVE & MERCIA

Far from their war-ravaged homeland, some teenagers have found comfort in music
and wish to share their joy.
11 June 2024
Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire


A concert by musicians from Ukraine, studying in Cheltenham and Solihull, at Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on 11 June 2024.

Mercia was a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England that stretched from East Anglia to Wales, including modern Gloucestershire and the West Midlands.


‘I think that quite an important point in my success in music is the fact that I always worked for the sake of music itself, and not for the sake of personal

–– Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953)

‘Only the wanderer knows England’s graces.’
–– Ivor Gurney (1890–1937)

‘Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight.’
–– Brian Wilson (1942––) and Eugene Landy (1934–2006)

About this booklet

Volume: © John Morrish (2024). Postcard above: Fritz von Kamptz, published by Raphael Tuck and reprinted from 1903-1959. From the Newberry Library, Chicago, USA. Cover photograph: PD, source Pixabay. It shows an Early Forget- me-not (Myosotis ramosissima), frequent throughout England and flowering May-June. Text: © the contributors (2024). Editorial help: Tony Rossiter.


Nathalie Tatarian

Nathalie Tatarian is 15 years old and currently in Year 10 at Dean Close School in Cheltenham.

She began learning piano seven years ago and is preparing for her Grade 8 exam. Her ambition is to become an architect and to combine that art with music. No doubt she is familiar with the German writer Goethe’s remarks on the subject. He was in conversation (or, as we would say, in an interview) with someone called Eckermann.

‘I’ve found a page among my papers,’ said Goethe [1749-1832], ‘where I describe architecture as frozen music. And there’s something in that, you know; the state of mind produced by architecture is similar to the effect of music.’

I wonder if she has heard this response: ‘If architecture is frozen music, then music must be liquid architecture.’

Quincy Jones quoted the sentence in a Rolling Stone interview about George Martin, shortly after his death: both were legendary musicians and producers, Jones with Michael Jackson and many giants of jazz and Martin with The Beatles.

If fact, the quote originated with an architect: Frank Gehry was born in Canada to a Russian-Polish couple, before moving to the US and creating astonishing buildings around the world, notably the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain. There are no borders between arts or between true artists.

‘Thank you very much for this amazing opportunity,’ says Nathalie. ‘I have thought about creating a video-animation of all the buildings in Ukraine which have been ruined and I will try to compose suitable music in a tragic, lyric and epic way.

‘As my animation continues I hope to create a new architecture project by coming up with my own buildings for Ukraine and then develop my music composition in the style of my building.’

Eva Kulikova

Eva would like to speak for herself.

‘My name is Eva, I am 16 years old, I am from the city of Kharkiv. Music accompanied me throughout my life. Even when I was very young, I watched with admiration how my father wrote his own music, grew up hearing stories about his concerts and always dreamed of following in his footsteps.

‘I graduated with honours from Music School Number 6, at Mykolo Lysenko in Kharkiv [see opposite page], with honours. I studied piano and academic vocal. I hope to create my own ‘serious’ music and eventually enter the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Mykolo Lysenko (1842–1912) was a Ukrainian composer of the Romantic period. He subsequently immersed himself in Ukrainian folk culture and created a Ukrainian-language opera from Gogol’s novella Taras Bulba. It tells of a Cossack who kills his son after he discovers the young man has betrayed his people to the invading Poles.

‘I started learning to play the piano at the age of five. At the age of eight, I joined the award-winning choir Spring Voices, and that is where my journey as a singer began. Competitions, performances on the best national stages of Ukraine, such as the Kharkiv and Kyiv Conservatories; Kharkiv Theatre of Opera and Ballet; and Kharkiv Philharmonic. I was also a multiple laureate at several grand solo singing competitions.

‘Since getting to Solihull School, a sea of opportunities and acquaintances has opened up for me: I do solo singing under the direction of Clare Boville, I sing in the chapel choir and performed in it at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, have played in a Mahler Symphony in Worcester Cathedral, and I take part in the school’s incredible musicals. With the help of wonderful teachers, I realise that my dreams can become reality!’

Krystyna Zaitseva

Kristina is a pupil at Bournside School in Cheltenham.

She was born in 2008, and on her sixth birthday the war in Ukraine began, interrupting her happy childhood.

She says that she does not remember her peaceful life before the war.

The hardship that she has endured with her family has helped her to develop a strong character and sense of purpose.

Kristina was finishing eighth grade at Art School when she left Ukraine, specialising in piano, and had taken part in various music concerts and gaining many awards.

Kristina is also fond of art. She hopes to visit different countries and to to return to Ukraine when peace returns.

A Picture Quiz (on its way)

Gloucestershire and the West Midlands – both parts of the the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia – have nurtured many famous and infamous musicians of all sorts. How many do you recognise? You may cheat using all the resources of the modern world. Warning: one of them is nothing to do with this area and is there to trick you. Answers below.


Nathalie Tartaria (piano)

  1. J.S. Bach: Prelude & Fugue No. 6 in D minor
  2. Murad Kazhlaev: Six Preludes. No. 6: ‘Protest’
  3. S. Heller: 25 Études faciles, Op. 45. No. 15: ‘Warrior’s Song’

Eva Kulikova (soprano),accompanied by Christopher Guild (pianoforte)

    5. Madeleine Dring: ‘Take, O Take Those Lips Away’ from Seven Shakespeare Songs

    Traditional: ‘Handzia’

    1. Traditional: ‘Oh, I Have Eyes’
    2. Andrew Lloyd Webber: ‘Pie Jesu’ from Requiem
    3. Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart: ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ from Phantom of the Opera

    Kristina Zaitseva (piano)

    1. F. Liszt: Études d’exécution transcendante. No. 12: ‘Chasse neige’
    2. S. Rachmaninoff: Prelude No. 7 in C minor, Op. 23/7
    3. S. Prokofiev: 10 Pieces, Op. 97. IV: ‘Winter Fairy’
    4. J. Sibelius: 13 Pieces, Op. 76. II: ‘Étude’


    J.S. Bach: Prelude & Fugue No. 6 in D minor

    This piece was originally written for organ, while J. S. Bach was court organist for the Duke of Saxe- Weimar. The fugue is a quintessential example of the form and was known as ‘The Great Fugue’ in the 19th century. Liszt was the first to transcribe it for piano, because he was a tremendous show-off, and this piece certainly does the job.

    Murad Kazhlaev: Six Preludes. No. 6: ‘Protest’

    Kazhlaev (1931–2023) was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and was a much- garlanded composer and conductor in the old Soviet Union, writing both serious and light music as well as film scores. His music is bright, tuneful and appealing and piano was his instrument.

    S. Heller: 25 Études faciles, Op. 45. No. 15: ‘Warrior’s Song’

    Stephen Heller (1813-1888) was a Hungarian pianist, teacher and composer, famous in his day and near-forgotten by the time he died. His studies are near-compulsory for students of the pianoforte.

    Alexandro Parisotti: ‘Se tu m’ami’ from Airs anciens à une voix

    Parisotti (1853–1913) is remembered for ‘Airs anciens’, a compilation of very old songs, much modified as a teaching aid for singers. This piece was attributed to Pergolesi, but no record of an original has been found and it is now assumed that Parisotti wrote it. Stravinsky did something similar with Pulcinella.

    Madeleine Dring: ‘Take, O Take Those Lips Away’ from Seven Shakespeare Songs

    Dring (1923-1977) was taught at the Royal College of Music by Herbert Howells and Ralph Vaughan Williams, both Gloucestershire men. These pieces were written in 1949. She worked mostly in obscurity but has posthumously been honoured by having the dining hall of Streatham & Clapham High School named after her.

    Traditional: ‘Handzia’

    This piece (also transliterated as ‘Gandzia’) is a love song to a woman of that name. Here’s the ending:

    ‘If your will,
    Is not to love me,
    Then my fate would rather be, To my own grave.’

    To which some internet wit has responded, ‘Social anxiety is a b**** isn’t it? I feel you, bro.’

    F. Liszt: Études d’exécution transcendante. No. 12: ‘Chasse neige.’

    Liszt (1811-1886), born in Hungary, was a virtuoso pianist and performer. These ‘transcendental’ pieces were published in 1852, but began life 25 years earlier. Composers are dedicated recyclers.

    S. Rachmaninoff: Prelude No. 7 in C minor, Op. 23/7

    Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was born in Russia. This prelude is one of a set of ten written in 1903. He left home at the time of the Revolution and settled permanently in America.

    S. Prokofiev: 10 Pieces, Op. 97. IV: ‘Winter Fairy’

    Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote this dance for Cinderella, composed between 1940 and 1944. The endless difficulties of composition in the Stalin era meant he somehow had to break off and write the monumental opera War and Peace in the middle of writing this ballet.

    J. Sibelius: 13 Pieces, Op. 76. II: ‘Étude’

    Sibelius (1865–1957) was born in the Grand Duchy of Finland, then an autonomous part of the Russian Empire. His wide-ranging music was popular with his peers and the public but at times has been dismissed by critics. No-one, however, has ever erected a statue to a critic.

    Answers to the quiz on pages 6-7. I expect you’d like the questions!

    1. The classical guitarist Julian Bream (1933-2020), who made his concert debut in Cheltenham at the age of 13 effectively launching that whole genre in Britain.

    2. Harmonica player Joe ‘Bubbles ‘ Soap. No, I lied. It’s Harpo Marx, the American comedian. Nothing to do with Cheltenham.

    3. FKA Twigs (born Tahliah Debrett Barnett in 1988) is a dancer, singer, songwriter, whatevva, who was born in Cheltenham.

    4. Gustav Holst (1874-1934) is in my view Cheltenham’s most important former resident, if not its most celebrated. A Joybringer, as Manfred Mann’s Earthband put it.

    5. Tricky question. This is a male singer, Charles Bannister (1738-1804) playing Polly Peachum in a travesty of The Beggar’s Opera. His earsplitting falsetto managed to convince a visiting male soprano form Italy, Ferdinando Mazzanti, that he was indeed a female singer, albeit a bad one. Born in Gloucestershire.

    6. Michael Edwards, aka Eddie The Eagle. Born in Cheltenham. Aside from his Olympian efforts, he had a No. 2 hit single in Finland, despite knowing no Finnish.

    7. Laurie Lee, writer of Cider With Rosie and much more. Known as a fiddler in youth, he seems somewhat unfamiliar with the instrument he is holding so impressively in this picture. Born in Slad, near Cheltenham. Worth a visit, but don’t be put off by the ‘locals’ in his favoured pub, The Woolpack.

    8. Jimmy Young (1921–2016) was born in Cinderford. A successful big- band crooner, his career was ended by the arrival of rock’n’roll. He cried all the way to the BBC, where he became a DJ.

    9. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872– 1958) was born in Down Ampney in considerable wealth. He did however keep in touch with the interests of the common people by reading the newspapers hung up in the outside privvy for unmentionable purposes.

    10. Ivor Gurney (1890–1937). Gloucester-born composer and poet, gassed in the First World War and subsequently committed to a lunatic asylum in Kent. Something of an obsession for your author.

    11. Cozy Powell (1947–1998). Born in Cirencester. Drummer on many rock and pop records and creator of one hit, ‘Dance With The Devil’. Died a true rock’n’roll death, crashing his car on the M4 after a compicated extra-marital tryst.

    12. Tina May (1961–2022). Jazz singer from Gloucester. Christened Daphne. Not really a jazz name.


    This event was arranged in association with a charity, Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees. The Mayor of Cheltenham, Paul Baker, who attended the concert, is a Trustee. The Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Edward Gillespie, was also present.

    There is always a collection at these concerts to cover the cost of hiring the hall from the Cheltenham Trust and to pay expenses for some of the performers. On this occasion, anything collected beyond that will go to the charity.


    If we have inadvertently infringed anyone’s copyright, we apologise. If you would like to reproduce or reuse any of our work, just ask. We will probably say yes. Thanks to Andrew Auster, Tony Rossiter, Jeane Harmer- Lewis and Ricardo Fearon. Thanks for the hospitality and sorry for breaking the chair.

    The Cheltenham Music Festival Society

    Since 2107, more than 130 free lunchtime Young Musician Concerts have been held in Cheltenham. Originally at Chapel Arts, they moved to Pittville Pump Room in September 2022. The concerts, at 1:00pm on Tuesdays, give young people the opportunity to perform, either as solo performers or as part of a school’s music department.

    Soloists have included Gloucestershire Young Musicians of the Year and performers from London, Manchester, Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

    The concerts, arranged by the Cheltenham Music Festival Society, are free, but there is a collection at the end to pay the charge levied by the Cheltenham Trust for use of Pittville Pump Room and the expenses of some of the performers. For more information, contact Andrew Auster by email:

    Forthcoming Attractions

    Tuesday 25 June 2024
    Tim Rumsey (piano)

    Tim is currently in the final year of his Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music. Covering the gamut from classical to jazz, he is as comfortable with Gershwin as he is with Beethoven and Birtwistle. He composes and arranges for solo piano and his own trio, which features violin and clarinet.

    This booklet created by:

    John Morrish, 2 Priory Mews, Sidney Street, Cheltenham, GL52 6DJ +44 77 88 515387
    Contact me. Especially if you like doing webpages.