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A touch of greatness: Alfred Brendel

We went to a stunning performance of Monteverdi's Vespers yesterday at the Usher Hall. In a world seemingly obsessed with fleeting fashions and newness, it's heart-warming to find that a work composed almost four centuries ago (1610), performed on authentic period instruments, can speak so strongly and directly to its audience in 2007. Conducted by Jordi Savall, the Catalunyan singers were memorable, the baroque ensemble (La Capella Reial de Catalunya) and surprised us all by performing an encore by Arvo Pärt (2004), movingly introduced by Savall.

Before the concert, waiting in line to buy a programme, we were stunned to recognise the bloke just in front, after he turned round, as Alfred Brendel. Some conversational greeting seemed inevitable. Fortunately we had heard him play the previous evening in this very place, so were not too overawed to mumble something about how much we had enjoyed his concert, only to be told, in his self-deprecating way, that it wasn't a terribly daring programme. (It had been a masterly performance of Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart piano sonatas, plus two Schubert impromptus.) Now you don't want to impose on the world's most famous living pianist, especially not in a programme queue, but we couldn't quite let that pass. Only at the Edinburgh Festival does this kind of encounter take place!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 17, 2007 11:24 AM.

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