Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none…

Until this musical year (because my health has become both a priority and a burden), on one Tuesday each month – and throughout that long day – you would have found me sat in Stratford ArtsHouse, behind the Orchestra of the Swan’s remarkable cello and double-bass sections, laptop or iPad (and keyboard) on my lap, basking in the splendour of their talent and sound: as they rehearsed for that evening’s concert; whilst I started to make notes for my ensuing review (despite frequent, extended drifts of concentration: when either those notes would be left untouched; or the score I was following would be left unturned).

Here was a refuge – and of the most glorious and comforting kind – away from the daily tribulations and devastations of disability. Here, my increasing deafness no longer mattered; nor my Asperger’s. I was amongst friends – people (impressively gifted ones, at that) who would not judge me, but would treat me as their equal (which I am not) – absorbed in some of the greatest creations (instruments and music) that humanity has managed to conjure up.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

I knew our music would allure him…

Sometime during last weekend, I came downstairs to find The Good Lady Bard transfixed by a recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on Classic FM – a piece much discussed (and played) in this household (as on this blog): especially the difference (on the soloist’s part, at least) between good and bad performances.

This was neither. In a nutshell, it was astonishing – the composure and control of the pianist far excelling any previous experience of this work (and with orchestral accompanists of the same impressive calibre). As TGLB said: even amongst all the virtuoso passages, and the swagger, the performer “sounds like they have all the time in the world”; adding that “they seem so relaxed: as if this is well within their capabilities; that they’re not being stretched, at all…” – and I had to agree. All those dense notes; and what could have been a struggle (or a muddle) rendered crisp, and yet remarkably heartfelt. Whoever was playing was at the top of their superlative game… – but this was not a version either of us had encountered before. I laughingly remarked that, in the more lyrical sections, it reminded me of either Martin Roscoe or Peter Donohoe playing Mozart; however, I was not aware – having listened to many (extremely different) recordings, whilst carrying out research (for the two concerts linked to, above) – of either of them having recorded this.