One of my favourite music blogs is written by pianist Stephen Hough; he’s also one of my favourite pianists! It veers between humorous, serious and sometimes downright angry. Here’s an excerpt, then go and read some more…
At some concerts venues there are emergency vehicles parked outside … just in case. I first came across this in Florida where the audiences tend to be old, even by classical music’s ’sea of grey’ standards. But still, it’s rare to have more drama going on in the auditorium than on stage, even in the most grey, dull performances.
There are exceptions though. Many years ago I was playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and (pre-Sir) Simon Rattle. We had reached the last movement of Beethoven’s 3rd concerto, and during one of those piano cadenzas which delay the robust return of the main theme I heard a strange commotion in the hall. In a short space of time in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion there was a banging, a panicky murmuring, fast footsteps descending the steps, a thumping, a retching … I didn’t know whether I should stop or continue. Beethoven propelled me along in fear and uncertainty, and then, after an opening and closing of a door, all was calm again. Later it turned out that someone had been choking on a cough sweet.
“Stephen Hough is a concert pianist by night, but his daytime interests include theology, art, hats, puddings… and writing about them.”