Hastings International Piano Competition - and the Beast from the East

Last week was mad in Battleaxe land. I don't need to describe how bitterly cold, how snowy it was. Pretty much the same for everyone. Snow fell thickly here on Monday evening, carried on and off all week and  did not disappear until Saturday.  Add to this the annual Hastings Piano Competition, with the big orchestral finals nights on Friday and Saturday, then me having pulled my achilles tendon at ballet class - yomping through the snow made it worse....

    Here is a picture of the piano winner, young Russian Roman Kosyakov, courtesy of Hastings Observer.  He is studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire - so almost a Brummie. I don't intend to spend terribly long on the piano competition - have written about it plenty of times before. Here is a link to something called Festival Flyer which tells all

   Suffice it to say that getting down to the theatre on Friday was no joke - we had been dumped with a load of fresh snow that afternoon, and the theatre was less than half full - just as well, we all took up several seats each with our thick coats, scarves, hats, snow-boots....
    By the second night conditions were much better, and the theatre was its usual HIPCC finals night heaving mass. As still relative newcomers to Hastings it is nice to see, every year, how we know more and more people in the audience.  This year we were able to introduce two much newer newcomers to like-minded others - two friends of our old Turkey chum Karol in Lyme Regis have moved up here and came to the event for the first time.
Waiting tor the results
    So, never mind the social scene, what about the music. This year the proceedings were compered  by national treasure Bill Turnbull. I have to say have never been a fan of his, and at times his commentary felt a bit like panto night... However, today we read that the poor man has major cancer. He is all over the papers.....

   The RPO sounded much better on the second night. On Friday I think they were, like the rest of us, cold, stressed and a bit downhearted.... they'd warmed up by Saturday.
    The six finalists were all excellent - I think the best standard ever, and as usual most of us in the audience ended up backing the wrong horses.  I'd backed Fanya Lin, the first pianist to play on the Saturday, a youngTaiwanese woman who pounded her way through the Prokoviev No 3 with unbelievable ferocity, but she didn't even get third place.
     So, back to the weather - here are some photos. I don't like the way we call weather childish names like Beast from the East and Storm Emma - sounds like a cartoon baddie meeting a rumpus in a nail salon....  I gather that some poor folk on the Downs Farm Estate just up the hill from here still have no water....
A hungry gull

And a hungry badger

Tuesday morning

One day....

And another....

Friday afternoon

A view from the Jerwood

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