A day dedicated to Beethoven in his 250th year.
A reconstruction of the 1808 concert that had been directed from the keyboard by Beethoven himself.
Today it was even prefaced by a foyer pre- concert performance of the Choral Fantasy arranged for chamber ensemble by Gustav Holst’s Latvian grandfather Gustavus von Holst and the fourth movement of the 9th Symphony in the two piano arrangement by Franz Liszt.
The man who should not have been here today brought a touch of magic to this amazing concert.
Aimard standing in at the last minute for Haefliger .
After a Pastoral Symphony,Ah Perfido Concert aria and Gloria from the Mass in C a truly magical account of the fourth piano concerto.
Amazingly without the score and of such luminosity and crystalline clarity but with such Beethovenian inputs of energy that up to now had been missing from an otherwise superb Philharmonia under Salonen.
Playing also the secondary cadenza that does infact seem like an improvisation.
Having just heard his Hammerklavier the other day it is amazing not only to appreciate his superhuman intellectual capacity but a total identification with Beethoven that I was not expecting https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/aimards-hammerklavier-and-concord-sonatas-in-london/
I awaited for his Choral Fantasy with great expectation .Could it surpass Curzon that I had heard with Colin Davis in this very hall?
Stephen Fry flying from one box to another as he read reports of reviews of the day when Beethoven conducted and played his own works in concert in Vienna in 1808.
Chamber pots were not supplied!
Luckily today a long interval provided the relief needed before the call to arms with Beethoven 5.
And a Beethoven 5 that caught alight indeed from a now inspired Salonen.
Beethoven’s rather silly op 77 Fantasy was included as an improvisation that Beethoven is reported to have made.
It followed a beautiful performance of the Sanctus and Benedictus from the C major Mass op.86.
But then the miracle occured with a Choral Fantasy of such sublime beauty coupled with the energy of a man possessed.
Aimard on this occasion could have been the great master himself.
“When music’s enchantment reigns,
And sacred words are spoken,
Beauty takes form;
Night and storms turn into light.”
Obviously the words were an inspiration in these uncertain times.
The Sunday Times tells us than men do not cry but this was one of those rare memorable occasions where this was an exception.
Everyone on their feet at the end.
Applause and sincere cheers that just proved that I was not the only one deeply moved.
Beauty conquers all!
Lets hope we remember that in the difficult days that lie ahead.