Tuesday, 13 May 2014

"Last minute. Come!"

This time yesterday, we were looking forward to a quiet evening at home. It seemed a busy enough week ahead, and already the effects of a month away are wearing off. But who can resist an invitation to step into the shoes of someone who can't make use of their tickets for an Angela Hewitt recital? Her programme at Chipping Campden was hardly the usual one: it contained only one major work, but when a pianist's presence and virtuosity is so unusual, this becomes an irrelevance.

Late Haydn variations were followed by a sonata by one of his greatest fans, written only a couple of years later. For Caroline, the early Beethoven was the evening's highlight: I found the performance a little clunky. It has sent me back to Schnabel, who seems better at catching the sweep and lilt of this relatively inconsequential music.

After the interval, Bach's G minor English Suite was by contrast made to sound effortless, and then came Liszt's Dante Sonata, the most dramatic of antitheses. Somehow, Angela Hewitt had energy left for a rapt account of Strauss' Morgen, in Max Reger's transcription, and to sign autographs.

We drove home the quiet way, the last of the light prevailing against some inky clouds.

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