Schubert concert to deliver authentic experience with historic instruments

Left to right: Kate Semmens, Steven Devine and Ursula Paludan Monberg

Tunbridge Wells is set to welcome an intimate concert celebrating the music and repertoire of renowned Austrian compose Franz Schubert and his friend Franz Paul Lachner on March 24.

The 3pm concert will be performed by horn virtuoso Ursula Paludan Monberg, soprano Kate Semmens and the fortepiano-playing Steven Devine in the music room at Waterdown House on Frant Road.

Steven Devine, former curator of the Finchcocks Musical Museum in Goudhurst, which previously housed a significant collection of historical keyboard instruments, told the Times that the concert is ‘special’ due to the period instruments for the event being similar to what ‘Schubert and Lachner would have known and used’.

Following the Finchcocks Musical Museum’s closure in 2015, owners Richard and Katrina Burnett kept 14 of their favourite instruments dating from the 17th to mid-19th centuries and built a music-room extension onto Waterdown House on Frant Road, so they can be displayed and used regularly by keyboard players, professionals, amateurs, students and children.

Steven commented on the intimate nature of the venue for their upcoming event.

He said: “People often see a classical concert as a rather standoffish experience where people sit, and observe a stage in a large room.

“But this is a much more intimate sort of setup to your usual classical concerts. It’s a very small music room at Waterdown House, so it’ll seat around 40 people.

“This is exactly the sort of size and space that Schubert would have known for this sort of repertoire,” Steven explained.

“He was famous for putting on these evenings called ‘Schubertiade’ where his friends and people who he knew very well would get together and they’d listen to his latest songs and there’d be lots of chatter and lots of sort of readings and things like that. So, with our intimate concert we’re trying to recreate some of the spirit of these events.”

Following the passing of co-owner Richard Burnett in 2022, the venue slowed its intake, but they are now hoping to welcome more people back for concerts in 2024 and to continue to use the historical instrument collection as a valuable teaching resource.

Steven added: “There’s nowhere else you can use instruments like these with such a free and easy sort of access. So hopefully we can use it a lot more as an educational resource for not just for specialists but also non-specialists as well, so they can really get under the skin of questions such as, ‘What did Mozart’s piano really sound like?’”

There are a few tickets still available for the event on March 24 at:   

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter