joanna macgregor 14-03-2011


i saw her do a solo piano recital at the jacqueline du pre music room the other night. absolutely breath-taking. all contemporary stuff. adès, ligeti, howard skempton, cornelius cardew, charles ives (a piece written in 1905, but sounding like 2005, so i'm calling it contemporary). some really simple pieces that could be played by someone doing grade 4, and some pieces which require superhuman virtuosity. but it's not just her sheer skill, nor the quality of her interpretations, it's also the way she introduces and discusses the music, a real warmth and enthusiasm and approachability.

she ended the concert with an arrangement of astor piazzolla's libertango (a bigger, louder, wilder, more complex version than on the record play). then, as an encore, she played a tiny piece by george crumb which involved plucking and strumming and damping the strings inside the body of the piano. i had an actual tear in my eye at the end of it.