Cristian Zacharias .The Wigmore Hall salutes a great artist

What a way to say farewell …… of the great musicians of our time bows out while still at the top of his game.

Two Cristians together in the green room learning the name of a tantalisingly familiar encore that Zacharias played ,sneakily joined at the umbelical to a Scarlatti Sonata.
He obviously hoped that two for the price of one would quel the ovation that the Wiggies reserve only for their very favourite musicians.

He was also Perlemuter’s favourite because apart from being a superlative musician he had like his mentor shyed away from the PR boys preferring to concentrate solely on what the composer,not the butler,saw!

A sound world all of his own .A cocoon of sound within which everything was so natural and simply expressed.Very reminiscent of Wilhelm Kempff where music just seemed to pour from his simple undemonstrative hands with the ease and inevitability of a master.Leif Ove Andsnes is a natural heir to this tradition of musicians who are a medium between the written score and the sounds they represent.No showmanship or extraneous movements that could disturb the course of the music in full flow.The variety of sounds that he produced within this framework brought the music vividly to life with a luminosity and occasionally even ferocity.This was a Schubert more in the Beethoven tradition of rhythmic drive and contrasts of orchestral colour rather than pianistic delicacy.Tchaikowsky was played with ravishing sounds and a sense of style that was scintillating,seductive and even exhilarating.A jeux perlé where notes were just streams of sounds thrown off with a nonchalant ease and with the remarkable characterisation of someone who was living and enjoying every moment of these little gems.

He is also a very nice man who is always pleased to meet people after the concert with a simplicity and a genuine memory of past meetings.
Well Zacharias did not get off so easily and did the backward and forward charade until he gave his adoring public another encore in waltz time!Debussy’s ‘La plus che lente’ joined the elusive ‘Homage a Piaf’ by Poulenc – the fifteenth of his improvisations!
The cat is out of the bag!

It was only with impish good humour and a wicked twinkle in his eye that we were able to extract the information from him.
He is Cristian Sandrin’s childhood idol from when as a boy his father ,the renowned pianist Sandu Sandrin,took his son to hear him play in Bucharest.

Zacharias remembers Perlemuter and Joan and the scarf that Joan gave me when she was 104 for MY birthday.

He loved hearing about the message from the Queen on her 100th birthday and the thank you note she sent in her beautiful convent learnt calligraphy.He loved hearing too about her surprise when she did not receive any more on her 101/104 birthdays!
My accompanying Perlemuter from this very room to the stage door for the last time.Every time was like going to the guillotine for Vlado,even in his 90th year.
He pushed me aside as he did not want anyone to see the stick that gave him the confidence to still travel the world with his beloved Joan.
There was always a smile of affectionate recognition on Vlado’s face when remembering Cristian but then Cristian is such a nice man and a simple great musician how could you ever forget him!
Like Perlemuter,Cristian is one of the world’s best kept secrets how can we ever let him go!

Greeting friends in the green room


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