Some news

In a curious and (perhaps fittingly for 2020) unexpected sequence of events it has turned out that not giving concerts is very beneficial for what I would call, for want of a better word, my career (and I imagine there is surely a lesson to be learned here). As all concerts stopped, I settled into our hillside home and have not left the immediate area since I returned — in the nick of time, it turned out — from my last concert trip in early March. Just around then, a lot of very appreciative reviews started appearing for my recording, made a sufficient number years ago that I can listen to it largely without experiencing pain, of Sorabji’s Sequentia cyclica (I will provide links to or post these separately), and this made the first weeks relatively entertaining. Sorabji’s music is, if nothing else, rather ‘Marmitey’ (i.e. you love it or find it awful — to borrow my friend Finn Peters’ description of drum’n’bass), so I had if anything prepared myself for a load of incomprehension as to why anyone would bother with this stuff (and there are precedents for this). In May, this critical excitement started hotting up with some broadcasts of bits of it in the UK (on Radio Three’s Record Review, with kind words from no less a figure than Kenneth Hamilton) and then receiving an unequivocal thumbs-up from the doyenne of German music criticism, Eleonore Buening, on a similar programme on SWR. The general good reception eventually reached a peak with the latter and her colleagues awarding me the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritiken in the solo piano category. Never having been awarded such a thing before, I was surprised, somehow pleased that people liked the music, and wondered what, if anything, might come from this.

Expecting nothing in particular (as is my wont), I was surprised to receive an invitation from a distinguished German-Russian pianist to play Sequentia cyclica in the Heidelberger Fruehling next year. And after two decades of a rather haphazard and lackadaisical approach to getting concerts and making contacts, I’m rather relieved that a professional in the field has offered to collaborate in this matter: yesterday I exchanged contracts with PUSKAS INTERNATIONAL artist management & consultancy so, like every other performer, I await 2021 with baited breath …

In other news, I have written eight of ten movements of a Partita for solo piano, a 50th birthday gift to my friend Christophe Sirodeau. After a bit of time not playing the piano very much (motivation suddenly eluded me after years of working to deadlines), I’m working on three concertante pieces — Beethoven’s 4th concerto (with cadenzas by Medtner and Busoni), Alkan’s 2nd Concerto da camera, and Reinecke’s wonderful Konzertstuck (which has several passages that rather strikingly pre-empt Tchaikovsky’s first concerto) — which I’ll play with the Quintet from the Vienna Chamber Symphony next month in the excellent festival Indian Summer in Levoča (that is, if the Slovaks don’t close the borders to Poland).

2 thoughts on “Some news

    1. I’m lucky in that the organisers of the Indian Summer in Levoca have rescheduled the concerts for next year, so feel free to come to Slovakia and you will hear the Alkan!

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