I headed to Birmingham's Town Hall on Friday, looking forward to hearing Maria João Pires, a pianist I've admired through her Mozart recordings for a long time. She was to share a recital with her duet partner, a young Serbian who she met at a festival in 2007, Miloš Popović.
I bought my ticket (using a special offer from the THSH, thank you to them!) and only then realised that Maria had had to withdraw both from this concert and from her solo recital the previous evening - disappointment! I decided to stay as Miloš was to play solo instead - and I'm very glad I did. I particularly enjoyed his Haydn (Piano Sonata no.59 in E flat Hob XVI:49). Someone to look out for in the future.
Once Richard Hawley had introduced the recital, saying that Maria was suffering from shingles and asking the loyal audience to welcome Miloš for his UK debut, my disappointment had turned to sympathy. There was a lovely atmosphere in the hall and I'd encourage anyone who can to go along to these full-length lunchtime concerts. Richard also promised that they'd invite Maria back in a future season - so keep an eye out for that!
An excerpt from the programme notes:
"One thing we can say about music is that we can do our best to grasp it and teach it, but there will always be one thing missing this way - grace - the unexpected miracle which gives music its true worth...It is grace which attracts music lovers to come to concerts, to be part of a precious and unique event. Maria João Pires' Partitura project is all about creating favourable circumstances...proposing well-known musicians to foster young musicians, to invite them (as the name suggests) to share the concert platform. And it is precisely then that this miracle is accomplished, in the presence of an attentive audience, combining interpretations and in one moment traversing space and time."
Miloš: "I was practising a Mozart sonata for four hands when I heard Maria João Pires knock on the door looking for a piano to practise on. Having heard me practising alone, she asked if I would like to play that sonata with her! What a way to discover her tireless generosity and her desire to share her knowledge with someone she hadn't even met before! To be part of the Partitura project is an immense privilege for me".
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