It seems to have been a while since I blogged! I've been a busy bee, and have also been a poorly bee, and also a bee who was unable to finish her Photo Scavenger Hunt, but theres always next month. I think I'm back into routine now.
Let me tell you about a lovely evening I had at the weekend. There was me, my fella, a nice warm evening walk up to a beautiful church, and this lady:
Forget your Take That tickets- this was the place to be! (Jealous, much?!..) I couldnt quite believe what I was reading when I found out that Tasmin Little was due to play with John Lenehan at a nearby church, and assumed it would be too difficult for me to go. But somehow there were still tickets at the 11th hour, and I managed to convince my other half (not known for his classical music leanings) that this was not to be missed. We were there early, so as to get the best choice of seats in our ticket price. I was thrilled to be very near the stage. This was the programme:
What a treat! There was a time when my life was steeped in classical music, and, much as I always loved the radio, and the Top 40, (and later on, Britpop and Indie and grungie stuff of all descriptions), I spent my Saturday mornings in Orchestras, my Sunday afternoons in choir, and almost everyday after school was a different music-based commitment or lesson. After my studies, I had no real reason to live and breathe orchestral music, and I enjoyed escaping it all for a while. I then decided that I missed it, but after I moved, there was no real way of getting together with others to make music anymore, so I started to teach, and found new interests to occupy my evenings (notably staying at home with my small children!) But I'm an all-round music kinda girl, and will listen to anything, and this programme took me right back to the days when I could call myself a pretty good violinist.
The Kreisler was a particular treat- such a lovely way to open the concert, and a real indulgence of mine. Due to the concert venue, it was unavoidable to hear her warming-up, and this was the one she practised before she came in- it was interesting to hear how she went over the notes, played it through slightly un-easily, double-checked her fingering and tuning just as any other debut-soloist might... even though she's far from this! Ofcourse she just slipped into another mode, and there were no signs of nerves onstage, just pure wonderful music-making.
The Bach was also very beautiful, and it was a new listen for me, just like the Grieg, which I must look out for a recording of. Of course the Bartok was the biggest croud-pleaser. I myself have a very tenuous teacher-student connection with Bartok. Aside from the fact that I love him, and I based my dissertation on his piano works, he also taught my violin-teacher's proffessor. You see? He is my Great Great Teacher...! When a student of mine played some Bartok in her exam last year, I had to tell her that she was his Great Great Great pupil!
And the lady in question, seems lovely. 'How can you tell from a concert?' I hear you ask. Ah- I just can! It was a fairly intimate performance, and she connected with everybody there. She gave music, and took pleasure in it, and seemed to have a wonderful musical connection with her very fine pianist. They shared smiles and private jokes between themselves during the energetic passages, through raised eyebrows and nods of heads, and they had a passion for the programme. There was a small incident where she came to the stage without the correct music, (which only made me like her more!) and he hopped off to collect it for her, and she filled the time on the mic with ease, talking fondly about the Kreisler that she had just played, and praising John Lenehan for his support and help. She also smiled, and looked genuinely grateful for applause, making the effort to look around the audience, catching the eyes of those that she could, to thank them back.
As with any good classical concert, the encore was a little bit of something special. (I once had the pleasure of seeing Maxim Vengerov at the Barbican in London, who, the previous summer, had sprung onto the world stage doing some impressive violinistic gymnastics at the Proms. I was a tiny bit disappointed to witness a purely Beethoven and Mozart programme, and had to wait until the second encore for a flash of his famous virtuosic playing!) My fella seemed a little surprised that they walked on and off the stage after they completed the programme, to recieve two more bursts of applause and then sat down to give us something unscheduled! But it was worth the wait. It was their own take (ie- lots of flourishes and scales and trills, and lots of opportunity to see the pianist's genius) on Monti's Czardas. Fantastic.
And what could finish the evening off nicely? A little trip to the pub, and a chance gig by a fantastic singer-songwriter. There were lots of covers of good tunes, as well as his own material. He has one of those little boxes that Little Boots used, and Ed Sheeren has, where they record a few bars at a time, layering claps, chords, backing vocals as they go- it was amazing to see him use it live. Plenty of Newton Faulkner-like guitar techniques too. Watch out for him- he's called James Kirby. Utterly inspirational. I told you I liked all music!