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- Rawicz and Landauer - Trimble Sisters - Bowen and Isaacs -

   LINKS to other pages in this site and to other sites in the Travelling Days series:

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RAWICZ AND LANDAUER. Many Jews and others considered 'undesirable' by the Nazi government were able to escape to Britain before the outbreak of WWII in September 1939. However, the British government, concerned that some of the immigrants could possibly be enemy spies, rounded up hundreds of families of German origin who were then sent by boat to the Isle of Man off the north-west coast of England.

   The island, traditionally a holiday resort, became transformed into an internment camp. Boarding houses became barrack blocks. Internees took part in local farm work, ran their own newspapers, and even set up internal businesses. By the end of 1940, 14,000 ‘enemy aliens’ were virtually imprisoned on the island. Many were University Professors and other professionals and included such inmates as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, Lord Weidenfeld, Sir Charles Forte and the concert pianists Rawicz and Landauer. RawiczLandauer.jpg - 47559 Bytes

   After intense lobbying by friends on the mainland and further investigation by the British authorities many of the internees were later released. Maryan Rawicz (1898-1970) and Walter Landauer (1910-83), respectively Polish and Austrian by birth, eventually became British subjects. For approximately three decades they established a formidable reputations as a two piano team. Their understanding and precision of ensemble playing were legendary and they also arranged most of their considerable repertoire. Landauer's original pieces included the Vienna Concerto (for piano and orchestra) and short pieces such as 'Gamine', 'Summer Rain' and 'Echo Waltz' for piano solo.

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THE TRIMBLE SISTERS, Joan and Valerie, were born in Ireland and during the war became well known as a piano duo. Valerie was also a fine cellist and Joan a composer. Valerie Trimble died in 1980.

    The following extracts are from an obituary written by broadcaster and columnist Una Hunt on the occasion of Joan’s death at the age of 85 in August 2000.

   ‘Arthur Benjamin wrote and dedicated his 'Jamaican Rumba' to the Trimble sisters specifically to encourage them to play two pianos. Joan might not even have considered a career in music had she not accompanied the tenor John McCormack on a concert tour of Ireland during the 1930s. His belief in her talent gave Joan the encouragement to go on to study in London, where she later married and settled before returning to her native Enniskillen in the 1970s.'

   ‘When I listened to Joan reminiscing about the war years in London - she was half a pianist and half a Red Cross nurse - it occurred to me TrimbleJoan.jpg - 20500 Bytesthat this period was in many ways the heyday of the Trimble sisters.' She managed to combine a busy career with bringing up three children as well as acting as receptionist for her husband, a general medical practitioner. 'While she practised or composed, the phone sat on top of her piano to answer queries from patients and make appointments. The Trimbles' radio work, which had made them household names during the war, included regular spots on the 'Tuesday Serenade' programme. For the last twenty years of her life she devotedly nursed her invalid husband.' Most of Joan Trimble's music was written over fifty years ago, 'but to my mind it has aged gracefully and represents her own totally unique and individual voice.’

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YORK BOWEN was born in 1884. He was an accomplished pianist and prolific composer of virtuoso works. During WWII he partnered Harry Isaacs in a very successful piano duo team. Bowen also taught for 50 years (1909 to 1959) at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At a Promenade Concert in 1959, the year he retired, he gave the first performance of the Piano Concerto No. 4 that he had composed 30 years earlier. YorkBowen.jpg - 14082 Bytes Of the performance the London 'Times' critic wrote, "No contemporary British composer has been as prolific, we believe, as York Bowen, whose 75th birthday earlier this year was recognized at last night’s Prom in the Albert Hall, when he played the solo part in his own Fourth Piano Concerto. It is a post-Romantic concerto in the Rachmaninov tradition, with a flamboyant piano part which the stalwart veteran played clearly and restfully, in a manner that many younger pianists might envy. York Bowen died two years later in 1961.

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