Friday, June 09, 2006


The LPO is having a sweepstake for the World Cup. Guess whose resident violinist drew Paraguy?!

Meanwhile we have been sitting on a Danish island in a dear friend's summer house, eating baby lobster tails and taking things far too easy - though thanks to my new laptop I was able to make some progress with Novel No.3.

Home again to find the Wigmore Hall's own-series programme for next season sitting on the doormat. Hmm indeed. Why can't I get more excited about it? It's full of excellent musicians, wonderful singers and lovely music. One event made me jump out of my chair: the inimitable Andras Schiff playing Beethoven's last three piano sonatas not once but twice - on the same evening! Dear maestro, HOW - ?!? The date for the diary is 29 November and anybody who can beg, borrow or steal a ticket for either performance (6pm and 8.30pm) is going to be very lucky.

Apart from that...Yes, I admire singers like Felicity Lott, Dietrich Henschel, Christian Gerheher, Veronique Gens et al. I'm always happy to listen to musicians like Tasmin Little, Michael Collins, Stephen Hough and Melvyn Tan, or exciting youngsters like violinists Alina Ibragimova and Sergey Khachatryan. There's nothing to beat a good string quartet, and ensembles like the Tokyo, Jerusalem and Michelangelo quartets should be jumped at. So should the Leopold String Trio and the Nash Ensemble. Also they're having a Kurtag festival, with the Hungarian guru himself, which should be very special.

But there's something about it that, overall, looks just that little bit The Same As Ever. Apart from Andras Schiff, I can't see anything else that will actually make me drop everything and run, not the way I did for Gidon Kremer and that incredible, unspellable marimba player last year, or Opera Rara's Pauline Viardot concert a few months back, or the Razumovsky Ensemble which I know and love (their next gig, by the way, is 21st June - book now!). Has the Wigmore abandoned its fledgling adventurousness in favour of retrenchment to St John's Wood? Or is it just the end of a long, hot day?