The Radford Charitable Trust Cornwall
Helping young people realise their musical potential...

Matthew Herbert:
20 Pianos

(Piano Number 8)

Make: Steinway
Built in: Early 20th century
Location: Radford Trust, St Anthony, Cornwall

"The piano, as far as I know, was the first put in this room in 1912, when Maisie and Evelyn Radford moved here from Devon. They originally had three pianos in the studio, but this is the only one left.

It's not in the best shape, but it has had plenty of playing in it's day. My memory of it is of Christmas, when my uncle would come down, my father would play, whilst singing at the piano, I've bashed through plenty of old standards on it. It's been abused in it's time by me, probably, but it's also had some very fine players.

Evelyn Radford was the pianist of the two sisters, who were very well known in Cornwall where they set up a charity to help young musicians, which still runs, Her sister Maisie was a violinist. They Set up the Falmouth Opera Group and produced the first performances of Mozart's ‘Idomeneo' and ‘Clemenza di Tito' in English, translating the libettos themselves. They gathered together singers from St Mawes and Falmouth or the Polytechnic. They were well known in London, too: Sir Adrian Boult thought very highly of them. Maisie also became a band and composed music and poetry herself. So they would have sat in the studio working out their translations of the operas, on their productions and making music together.

It's slightly battered now. It's in a wooden barn that doesn't get heated so it suffers a bit. The last time it was played was three years ago in a concert that we put on for all the beneficiaries of the instrument loan scheme that the Radford Trust still runs - the money that Evelyn and Maisie left has allowed us to lend instruments to promising young musicians in the country, and we had a piece composed for anyone who could play it, I'm afraid it hasn't been tuned since then; it could do with a tuning. It's surrounded be shelves of music - all the Radford scores and things. Everything's grown around it almost. As I say, it's been here since 1912. It must have been the first thing in”

Emma Campbell - The Radford Charitable Trust

For more information on the project, please click here

"The Radford Sisters were acclaimed by musicians throughout the country.

They worked for many years for the Cornwall Music Festival and brought music personally to villages up and down the county."
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