|Barenboim in concert at the RFH. Photo: Chris Christodoulou|
I'm normally loathe to use imagery quite as colourful as suggesting that a pianist becomes Orpheus and leads us across the Styx, but how else to convey in words with reasonable accuracy the effect of what he did with the slow movement of the B flat Sonata? He went right into the work's darkest recesses and drew from it something resembling catharsis in the ultimate sense. I don't think I'll be able to listen to the piece again for quite a while, so strong was this. Read the whole thing here.
Incidentally, I had a fascinating little chat with the piano technician Peter Salisbury, who has been helping with maintaining the newbie instrument through the series. I've rarely seen any piano expert quite so fired up about anything. Apparently the action on the Barenboim-Maene piano is not lighter than a "normal" concert grand - it is as heavy, or heavier, he says - and it is not easier to play, but more difficult, and takes a lot of getting used to; yet the rewards are still emerging in terms of colour and seem to hold endless potential.
Last week Barenboim gave the Edward W. Said London Lecture at the Mosaic Rooms. You can find a video of it and the Q&A that followed online at the London Review of Books, here. The lecture focused on...
Music education. Its crucial, essential nature. The necessity for music to be taught in schools 'on a par with mathematics or biology'. So there. Listen up, politicos.