Listening to Murray Perahia performing Mozart’s Concerto No. 24 felt like a privilege. Never had I felt before so privy to a pianist’s deepest feelings as I had done last night.
He was supported most ably by the stalwart Chicago SO under the experienced baton of Bernard Haitink. As a matter of fact, the sound reminded me of those magic recordings of the late sixties and early seventies which filled me with passion for the standard Viennese repertoire.
But Perahia was the man of the first half. His touch was so light, his instrument sounded almost like a fortepiano. I cannot liken it to lace because that might indicate fragility. This was a performance which seemed both to look forward to Beethoven and back to an 18th century salon while marking the genius of this remarkable composer.
Only an artist of Perahia’s sensitivity could bring this dichotomy and individuality together into a coherent whole to plumb a depth of emotion I associate with Beethoven while retaining that deft touch which is so classical in style.
Yet this was not the whole picture. To this achievement, he added something much more difficult to measure—which I can only describe as lifelong experience.
I do not mean the ease he had with the music which he knew inside out. This was so absolute you felt he could play the notes in reverse, improvise with them or even almost re-compose the whole concerto: I mean the sum total of the little bits of life which make the man.
I believe we were benefiting from decades of reading, absorbing, inhaling and ingesting Mozart.
We were privileged not only by an elegant performance but one imbued with a deep understanding of the emotional impact of human experience.
Prom 72: Mozart, Piano Concerto No24 in C Major; Murray Perahia (pno). Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink
(Apologies: there was supposed to be an accompanying pic, but Blogger simply wouldn't let me upload one today, and I gave up on it.)