Mendelssohn at The Vyne
These videos were filmed during a workshop for the 'Mendelssohn at The Vyne' project, which aims to combine university education and heritage interpretation. The project brings advanced keyboard students to the house to learn about features of the Broadwood grand piano, purchased by William Chute in July 1846 and moved shortly afterward to The Vyne. The instrument is pictured in the Saloon in a watercolour by Martha Chute, painted c.1860.
Mendelssohn was the most popular composer in England during the middle of the 19th century. Charles Lennard Chute, who left The Vyne to the National Trust on his death in 1956, owned many of Mendelssohn's works, including scores to his oratorios Elijah and Saint Paul, the Lobgesang, and psalm settings in English, all of which survive in the house. Earlier Chute family members would certainly have known of Mendelssohn's fame, and it is likely that residents or visitors played his music on the Broadwood piano in The Vyne's Saloon.
Led by historical keyboard expert Professor David Owen Norris, students from the University of Southampton learned about the construction of the instrument and received coaching on their own performances of Mendelssohn's Lieder ohne Worte (Songs Without Words). The workshop took place during normal opening hours and was freely open to visitors, who were able to come and go at will. An information sheet for visitors supplied context on the piano, Mendelssohn's music, and the performers. The videos in this gallery provide descriptions and reactions to the event and include David Owen Norris's film presenting the technical features of The Vyne's piano.