Friday, August 26, 2005


This is the indomitable Norman Lebrecht's inspiring account of how he found himself performing the recitation in Schoenberg's 'A Survivor from Warsaw' at Dartington last week.

Every music commentator should take part in a performance now and then and Norman's article helps to show why.

Speaking of stressful performances, we hear this morning that one of Leonidas Kavakos's strings broke during the Berg at the Prom last night and he finished the concerto on the leader's violin. It must take nerves of diamond, never mind steel, to switch fiddles in that piece, of all pieces, in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall, live on BBC Radio. What's more, Andrew Davis had dropped out and Joseph Swensen was drafted in to conduct instead, somewhat late in the day. Tom and I were down at Glyndebourne and missed the fun...

If I feel stressed out by proofreading my novel and trying to catch last-minute inconsistencies - of which there've been plenty - all I have to do is think 'I will never have to recite Schoenberg, or break a string in a Prom' and I feel better INSTANTLY.