16 January 2004

Church leaders to perform a classical recital

A trio of London church leaders is to swap the usual hectic cycle of preaching and meeting for the more sedate atmosphere of performing at a classical recital in London next week.

The trio, going by the name of Parsons' Noyse, consists of the Rev John Swarbrick, Chairman of the London South West Methodist District, on piano; the Rev Harvey Richardson, Chairman of the London South East Methodist District, on violin; and the Rev Roberta Rominger, Moderator of the Thames North Synod of the United Reformed Church, on cello.

They are to perform the recital including works by Schubert and FaurŽ in the Chapel of Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, on Friday 23 January at 1pm. Proceeds are to go to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Richardson, Rominger and Swarbrick have been trying to fit playing together into their diaries since the start of 2003 and this will be their first performance together away from their endless round of meetings. Swarbrick and Richardson first admit playing music together as an antidote during stressful Methodist District Chairs' meetings. Swarbrick, whose district overlaps with Rominger's synod area, first suggested a trio after discovering that she played cello.

Mr Swarbrick described how the trio has discovered a theological dimension to their playing as they have practised together. "The Greek Church Fathers used the word perichoresis - literally 'to dance around' - to describe the mutual participation of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit within the Trinity. We don't exactly dance, but the music does as we seek to let its melody, harmony and counterpoint shape our response as performers."

The programme for Friday's recital is to feature Gabriel FaurŽ's Piano Trio in D minor, Anton Rubinstein's Melody in F, Frederic Curzon's The Boulevardier, and Franz Schubert's Notturno in E flat major.

The performance will raise funds for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded five years ago by Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said, to enable its members, young Israelis and Palestinians, to rehearse and play together. Last year the orchestra played The Proms (Royal Albert Hall) for the first time, as well as giving their first concert in an Arab country, Morocco.

The Rev Harvey Richardson, a Methodist minister in Cheshire and the South East since 1974, trained at the Royal Academy of Music between 1964-66.

The Rev Roberta Rominger has a BA in music from the University of California and belongs to two string quartets and three piano trios as well as having found the time to be a URC minister in Arizona, Newcastle and London.

The Rev John Swarbrick read music at Durham University and honed his piano skills in the diplomatic service before training for the Methodist ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge.

Tickets for the Parsons' Noyse recital can be ordered at the cost of £5 each on 020 7799 5000 or by emailor purchased on the door.

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