Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Gig-a-Blog™ (Annett Busse, St Anne and St Agnes)

To start yesterday's lunchtime, the excellent pianist Annett Busse played a rather wonderful Haydn sonata, XVI:46 in Ab. I know it's very trendy nowadays to remind oneself not to dismiss Haydn for not being Mozart, but, dammit, they're right. There's no sense in which you need to sit and listen to this as the precursor of this or the cornerstone of that - it just is.

If I'd been in any doubt about whether or not to come to this concert the next group of pieces would've clinched it for me. These were from Ligeti's Musica Ricercata, (nos. 3-6, it you must) and were simply fabulous. I have a major soft spot for Ligeti anyway (simply put, I owe him my degree!) but I'd forgotten the wonderful breadth of styles he commanded. There's no way that, from familiarity with say Aventures or Volumina that you'd guess this was the same composer. I suppose the brevity of some of the pieces and their sometimes abrupt and/or witty endings might have given a clue, if you'd known some of his other work (erm - 6 Bagatelles maybe??) I'd need, though, to do some serious revision of things I almost-knew about thirty years ago, before I could pursue this idea much further. Annett Busse played these wonderfully, with great style and humour. I spoke to her afterwards and she was saying how much she'd enjoyed playing them, which was nice to hear.

The final two works were by Chopin. The first, a Berceuse, was rather restrained and beautiful whereas the second, a Scherzo in Bm (op. 29) was the more usual fireworks. Busse played this with great fluency and I was pleased that she demonstrated how to play loud, fast Chopin without giving us the whole vaudeville performance (mad pianist, demonic possession, piano exploding, audience in hard hats etc) that you sometimes get. Loud and fast with a sense of proportion rather than just loud and fast, is what I suppose I'm saying she did. I keep wondering if I maybe ought to make a real effort to understand or even like Chopin a bit more but I fear life's too short.

I'm trying to do a deal with myself so that writing about the lunchtime concerts doesn't become too long and wordy. Without this I know I won't be able to do it as it will rapidly collapse under the weight of its own pomposity. I reckon that, unless it's a deliberately bigger piece, then I should say that it doesn't get any more time than the concert itself plus the journey home that night. This piece didn't quite fit into that, but is close - watch this space.

1 comment:

Strawberryyog said...

Actually it varies, whether or not I can write during the concert at all. I'd hate to think that other people would be bothered by it. So if the concert is not too busy I am probably OK - I can get into the back pew and my only neighbours, the Grumpy Old Men, are a couple of metres away. And they are so unwelcoming that it's quite unlikely that anyone else will dare to disturb them. If there are more people, though, I probably can't write. Ah well.