Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 14 July 2008

There's more to music than just notes

Concert organisers truckle to soloists. Their piece always precedes the interval so that they can be off the premises before I’ve reached the end of the ice-cream queue. You’d expect a concerto to provide the climax.

At least there’s an entr’acte with a piano concerto. Sometimes it’s more fun than the music. Three men, not wearing tuxedos (Why do I detest that unsuitable musicianly garb so much?) march on to the stage, clothe the Steinway in a duvet, turn it on its side, remove the legs, add more duvets, manhandle the rather sad looking parcel on to a trolley and then wheel the whole thing away very, very carefully. The audience at Birmingham last month granted a polite round of applause to the spectacle.

There’s more technology before the concert when the Steinway expert tweaks the machine according to the pianist’s preference but mere punters don’t get to see that. In compensation there was quite a lot of fiddling with the twin harps that feature in Shostakovich Five.

A concert grand must represent the ultimate in objects that can’t be mass-produced. I wondered how much they cost and was surprised to find that £50,000 is absolute tops and you can pick one up for £25,000. Apparently they don’t improve with age as a Guarnerius does.

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