It’s a long time since I wrote about music. Not because I haven’t been to anything interesting but more because I got out of the habit. To review big concerts or productions seems pointless when the major critics/media outlets cover that kind of thing quite well.* And while I’ve been to dozens of small concerts over the past few years I haven’t come across many that were outstanding, even if most of them were enjoyable.
Well, yesterday I did attend a small concert of disproportionate excellence to the venue and crowd, Tomasz Lis performing for the Chopin Society at Westminster Cathedral Hall. The first half of Mozart and Bach was good but would have benefitted from sticking to a rondo and Partita – the Bach cantatas, while crowd pleasers, gave us a little too much of a good thing before the bog break. It didn’t help that Bach had seemingly written his Partita less as a solo piece than a chamber work for piano, hearing aid and death rattle.
Fortunately, the excellence of Lis’s Chopin playing in the second half was such that I didn’t even notice the grunts, coughs, mumblings and general crapness of the Westminster crew. His playing was a of a technical standard and emotional intensity that few of the pianists I’ve seen perform this material (and that’s a lot) have been able to match. An encore of Bach’s DMinor Concerto (cribbed from an oboe piece of Montecello) capped off a perfect sequence of music.
It’s subjective I know but on this performance I do hope Mr Lis gets a gig in the splendid venue he deserves very soon.
*One exception to this being the absence of coverage of Good Cop/Bad Cop’s gig at King Tut’s the other week. Alas, Matt Helders’ début as a frontman was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. And that includes Radioheads’ bizarre outing as support to The Sultans of Ping at the Riverside in around 1991. Never has a support act been so misaligned with the headliner. I can still picture the beer bottles of disgruntled Ping-ites raining onto the stage.
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).