Released on: 21st November 2011
An experienced performing pianist and former school music specialist, my passion for playing the piano began in early childhood.
In 2000 I developed breast cancer. In October 2010 I marked the tenth anniversary of my recovery by giving piano recitals of music by Ludovico Einaudi in aid of cancer charities. Audiences so enjoyed the music that I urged people to buy Einaudi’s albums to hear the works played to perfection by the composer. It is largely due to the appreciation and encouragement of the many who suggested I record my own interpretation of his music that this album has been created.
As well as benefiting UK cancer charities, donations from sales of this album will be given to help fund work being done by Professor Roy Bicknell, who leads the British effort in an international research project developing alternative treatments to chemotherapy.
Of all my treatments (radical surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and five years of protective drug therapy) chemotherapy was by far the most difficult to bear. The very word ‘chemo’ can provoke anxiety in people when told they need it, the associated unpleasant side-effects being well-known. I was told these vary: “A frail elderly person might sail through it, yet a hefty rugby player might find it intolerable, according to the strength of the immune system.” Mine, already damaged by years of stress from living with a chronic illness and alarming side-effects of drugs used to treat this, was too weak to support chemo at the advised strength. Even reduced doses caused such disabling fatigue, nausea and weakness that my husband would at times carry me around the house. Things worsened over the seven month treatment period, the cumulative effects making it even harder to endure.
Because it concerns me that people on chemotherapy typically feel so weak and ill, I am committed to supporting research into Anti-angiogenesis, a treatment with no such devastating side-effects. Although chemotherapy is established and effective, to see the arrival of a less harrowing alternative is a wish very dear to my heart; one I hope will become a reality during my lifetime.
The following was contributed by Professor Roy Bicknell:
“Having sought alternatives to chemotherapy for 25 years, my work has centred on the realisation in the early 1990’s that growth of solid tumours depends on access to a blood supply. Stimulation of growth of new blood vessels from existing ones is known as angiogenesis. In healthy people (excepting women of child bearing age) angiogenesis occurs only during wound healing. Targeting it in cancer patients should be effective in treating tumours without side effects.
In 1989 I, with other scientists around the world, began looking for substances tumours produced that stimulated growth of new vessels, and at ways to block these substances. Arguably the most important substance is Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), produced by all body tissues in response to a lack of oxygen. Tumours particularly lack oxygen. Scientists developed VEGF blockers or anti-angiogenics, the most advanced being Avastin, a synthetic antibody that binds to and inactivates VEGF. Avastin has been shown both to increase the lifespan of patients with advanced colon cancer, with no or very mild side effects, and to be of benefit in patients with metastatic breast and some lung cancers.
This is only the beginning. Avastin is expensive; a course of treatment costs £21,000.
Twenty years on, my work currently aims to develop better and cheaper anti-angiogenic agents.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who buys this CD in support of cancer charities and research.”
Professor Roy Bicknell, MA, D.Phil, FSB
Head Cancer Research UK Angiogenesis Group
Institute for Biomedical Research
College of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Birmingham
With special thanks to…
Ludovico Einaudi for the beautiful music he has created, and his kind words of support with permission to feature these on this album.
Mark Blagden (Einaudi Tour Manager) for personal assistance.
Sincere thanks to all involved with the production of this album:
Will Vaughan for recording this CD for Toad Row Studios near Beccles in Suffolk.
Annette Jude, well-known local pianist and accompanist, for kindly lending the use of her K.KAWAI RX-3 grand piano for this recording.
Dennis Reddick (Photographer), for freely donating the image for the inlay and booklet.
Graham Griffiths, Director of the award-winning UK music distribution company Proper Note, for believing enough in my project to take it on.
Philip Hateley, Karl Hearne for their patience with my frequent changes in direction during the production and design of this album.
The Classical Recording Company Ltd. for the final mastering of the CD.
Prof. Roy Bicknell MA, D.Phil, FSB for his contribution to the CD booklet.
Myles Godfrey, Sian Billingsley and Louise Cook of Cancer Research UK, for help with publicity and fundraising issues.
Pete my dear husband, for his loving support and help with this project and in all things.
Lucy my beloved daughter, for her uplifting words of encouragement when I was unsure.