The other day I promised some less good news about another Russian pianist, and here it is: Grigory Sokolov, who was to have played at the Royal Festival Hall on 29 April, has cancelled his appearance due to visa trouble. The hoops that the British government is demanding artists jump through in order to perform here have now been set so high and made so unpleasant that it appears he has better things to do with his time than bother with them. He just won't come here.
It's OUTRAGEOUS that such bureaucratic claptrap should keep one of the greatest pianists on the planet away from the musical capital of the world! And please don't start writing in to JDCMB with sanctimonious comments about keeping out terrorists - we've had plenty growing up right here in Blighty, and they tend not to be concert pianists, let alone ones of Sokolov's stature.
Consolation prize: Sokolov is to be replaced by Angela Hewitt, who will perform the Bach Goldberg Variations. I'll be interviewing her on stage before the show.