Category Archives: Music Matters

Ivo the Divo

IVO THE DIVO I did something last night that I have only ever done once before: I walked out of a piano recital at the interval. If I hadn’t been sitting in the middle of Row K at the Royal Festival Hall I’d have walked out sooner. This was the much-heralded return to the venue […]

The Art of the Encore

  The Art of the Encore The formal programme is complete, the audience is on its feet clapping and cheering and, after the second or third return to the platform to acknowledge the applause, our soloist indicates that he / she is going to play something more. A brief pantomime follows: An encore? Really? Me? […]

Lost in Translation

One of the first CD booklets I wrote was at the behest of the late lamented Ted Perry. It was for volume 1 of a new series on his Hyperion label called The Romantic Piano Concerto (Piers Lane playing Moszkowski’s and Paderewski’s concertos). That was in 1991. I have written several others for Hyperion in […]

Pianist with a bus to catch

KHATIA BUNIATISHVILI at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, 4 June 2014 The Georgian pianist, now 26, is, let us say, very pleasing to the eye. Last night she gave us a shimmering, figure-hugging, full-length silver gown. With that mop of black hair and trademark carmine lips, Khatia Buniatishvili cuts a charismatic figure. You can’t teach stage […]

Waxing lyrical about Brazilians

Apparently there is another Football World Cup about to take place. Being a follower of the oval rather than round ball, I shall be getting in a few rental films over the next weeks to avoid the inevitable wall-to-wall coverage, and not see much of the action until England meet Germany in the quarter-finals for […]

The RFH organ restored

The Royal Festival Hall’s mighty Harrison & Harrison organ has not been heard at full throttle since 2005. It was taken out of action for two years when the Hall’s acoustics were refurbished since when only one-third of the instrument has been operational. First installed in 1954 (it took four years to build), it was […]

Fiddling about

I’m generally a fairly sanguine chap but occasionally I read something that makes my blood boil. The excellent BBC Music Magazine has just published another of its Greatest of All Time polls. These polls always cause controversy and passion – it’s their raison d’etre – but they do provide a bit of harmless fun and […]

The Art of Dubbing

There was a really excellent documentary on the telly box the other night, a BBC4 survey of how major film stars have had their singing voices dubbed over the years. The most famous exponent of the art is Marni Nixon (still with us at 83) providing Deborah Kerr’s singing voice for The King and I, […]

The Best Dance of Death?

My friend the great Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire sent me this link a few days ago without comment: Here’s my comment. As you can see, it’s an unpublished performance of Liszt’s Totentanz conducted by Rafael Kubelik with Freire as soloist. For  me this is the most thrilling, convincing performance of the work I have ever […]

Great Grosvenor

To the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Wednesday evening for Benjamin Grosvenor’s first recital there. Barely twenty years old, he’s already a media star due to his own exceptional abilities and canny management and marketing. What makes him stand out from his peers is his complete but unfashioable affinity with the repertoire and style of playing of the […]