Why do you go to concerts?
13 January 2011

I recently attended a Scottish Chamber Orchestra concert my wife was playing in, and it struck me that my experience of the concert must have been substantially different from most of the audience. Of course, it's natural that I should have been listening especially for Jeannie's dulcet tones on the clarinet, but beyond that, I realised that it was impossible for me to listen simply as an audience member: I found my experience as a performer constantly intruded, causing me not only to analyse the performance in great detail, but also to partially identify myself with the players and conductor as if I was in some subtle way participating in the creation of the music. It made me realise that the pleasure I get from listening to a concert is intimately bound up with the pleasure I get from performing. So that made me very curious about the experience of the (presumably) large majority of non-musicians present in the audience. What were they there for? What did music do for them or to them? I could imagine various possible answers (and no doubt there are many more than I imagined), but the question niggled at me so much that at the end I was compelled to ask the man next to me why he had come to the concert. If he thought I was crazy he graciously didn't show it. And the questions are clearly still niggling me because I'm hoping you'll comment below with your own experiences of concert-going. What do you get out of it? The answer can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Firstly let me say I love your CD of Schubert Duets with Paul Lewis. When I say I had no idea Schubert wrote lots of duets you will guess i am no expert! That disc and Paul lewis' Beetoven concertos were my only requests for Xmas gifts. I love music in every form, radio 3 in the kitchen, cds to relax, adore watching the proms on television it's so fascinating seeing hands flying over the keyboard or the lightning bows of the strings. But of course the highlight for a music lover is the live concert. It doesn't matter that i have no idea what they were talking about when Katy Derham or Charles Hazlewood interviewed our favourite musicians. Once the playing starts it is the spiritual experience, the fun of watching the orchestra and the whole buzz if there is a full audience and a great performance. Back to Schubert's duets- it would have been lovely to be at the Wigmore Hall but if I close my eyes the first notes have such a wonderful zing, I could be there!
Posted by Janet Gogerty on 03 February 2011
Hi Steven, good question, got me thinking :) I'm a non-musician and the answer for me is fairly simple, it's about the experience and emotion connected to music. You lose yourself, it's overwhelming & uplifting.
Posted by Stephen on 05 February 2011
Hi Stephen! I was at your Birmingham Town Hall concert last night and just want to say it was fabulous especially the last movement of the Beethoven! I am just embarrassed there were not more people, but I am afraid Brummies only turn out in numbers for big names. As to why people come to live concerts, I think it is simply that the sound is so much more immediate and there is so much more spontaneity. Obviously a cd will always sound the same, We have a large collection which we rarely listen to! Hope to hear you many times in the future.
Posted by Roger Tempest on 06 March 2013
Hi Stephen! I was at your Birmingham Town Hall concert last night and just want to say it was fabulous especially the last movement of the Beethoven! I am just embarrassed there were not more people, but I am afraid Brummies only turn out in numbers for big names. As to why people come to live concerts, I think it is simply that the sound is so much more immediate and there is so much more spontaneity. Obviously a cd will always sound the same, We have a large collection which we rarely listen to! Hope to hear you many times in the future.
Posted by Roger Tempest on 06 March 2013
Hi Stephen! I was at your Birmingham Town Hall concert last night and just want to say it was a fabulous performance, especially the last movement of the Beethoven! A few weeks ago I heard Kissin play the same in Symphony Hall. I am just embarrassed there were not more people, but I am afraid Brummies only turn out in numbers for big names. As to why people come to live concerts, I think it is simply that the experience is so much more immediate - it is the difference between seeing a print of a Van Gogh and the actual painting. The dynamic range of a live performance is so much greater, and there is so much more spontaneity - the occasional fluffed note adds to this! And of course there is the element of gamble and risk – the tightrope element, and the fact that if you don't like the performance you have wasted an evening and a fair amount of money. For this latter reason I would not go to a live concert without knowing something of the repertoire and performer - Youtube and Itunes are indispensable for this. Cds are becoming less relevant - my wife and I are both musicians, we have a large collection to which we rarely listen! Hope to hear you many times in the future.
Posted by Roger Tempest on 06 March 2013
I feel that Music is a journey from here, right here, to somewhere that nobody knows. If only we could find that place. I want to be there, you want to be there, that's why we can share the path, sit next to complete strangers and not care. We all want to be there. It's kind of like the living representation of the urge to fly - unreachable but the idea lives. The better the music, the nearer we come. Going to see music live, is the nearest you will get.......apart from jumping off a cliff.
Posted by Joe on 12 February 2013
Hi Steven- It's an interesting question. I am a (very) amateur pianist who attends concerts frequently. These are the main reasons that I attend concerts: 1. The intellectual stimulation: What will the pianist play, and how will they play it? What ideas do they bring to the table, and is it convincing? This is the music critic in me, I suppose. 2. The emotional experience: An inspired performance of a good piece of music can transport me to a special place, lost in the sound world. For example, a couple of days ago I attended a recital by the young Soyeon Lee (fellow Naumberg winner!). Her "La Valse" was ravishing. The thick murky atmosphere was so vividly conveyed in all its spine-tinglyness... and the climaxes were positively hair-raising. 3. I also enjoy being exposed to new music -- or at least music that I'm not familiar with. Speaking of which, I have you to thank for introducing me to Messiaen (through a couple of your performances in San Francisco) and Kapustin (through recordings). 4. Lastly, with all the irritations of a live audience (coughing, extraneous noise, etc.), it's tempting to be convinced by the Glenn Gould mentality of relegating music to a private affair enjoyed only at home with recordings. But I believe in music as a living art, and I like to support it as such as a patron and audience member. --Charles
Posted by Charles on 13 January 2011
Yes, the answer is complex. Here are some components – 1. Some of the audience – it’s anyone’s guess how many – will have had some experience of playing music, though not at professional level or anywhere near it. I’m probably not all that rare a bird in a concert audience: took piano to Grade VIII as a schoolboy (now 50+ years ago), then other things took over, and I was probably near my technical limit anyway, but it gave me enough experience (including a little as a performer, to school audiences) to be able to recognise and marvel at the skill, both technical and musical of any pianist, and to an extent any other performer too. So you can probably count on some of your audience to be enjoying the white-knuckle ride with you as you play. Indeed, for all I know, some of us may be enjoying it a lot more than you are at on the platform. 2. There is no other sensible way to hear, say Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, than in a concert room large enough to house a full orchestra and absorb its sound. Home hi-fi can be pretty impressive but it’s pale by comparison with the real thing. 3. Some will have come to a concert hoping for the experience of a lifetime, and sometimes they get it, and then will keep on coming back hoping for more. One such, for me, was the first time I ever witnessed a full-blooded rendering of a romantic warhorse – Newcastle City Hall, c.1956, a Sunday afternoon, the Halle under Barbirolli with Julius Katchen playing the Greig. For the soloist it may have been a routine job, for all I know, and the audience was a bit sparse, but it comes back to me still whenever I hear that concerto (not very often nowadays). Another was Birmingham Town Hall, the CBSO under whoever was their conductor at the time, c.1969, with Jacqueline du Pre in the Elgar concerto – that was no routine job, and I have never wanted to hear that work again, simply for fear it will spoil the memory. But such experiences keep one ever hopeful as a concert-goer. I could catalogue more, including some of your own performances. 4. These are perhaps the most positive reasons why people go to concerts, but there are others. One motive is habit, or at the extreme, addiction. For some, it’s a place to go to of an evening, a change from your own sitting room but at least as warm and almost as comfortable. I have sometimes gone to the door of the Queens Hall in Edinburgh, with a ticket, then looked at the crowd going in and thought ‘I don’t want to spend the morning sitting among that lot’ and gone shopping instead. And I have sat in front of people, of a November evening, who plainly had simply come in from the cold and to rest their feet (an evening comes to mind, years ago, in the Usher Hall, where Witold Lutoslawski was conducting some of his own works, to comments from the row behind me along the lines of ‘Ooh, that made me jump’ and ‘It’s kind of spooky, innit?’)
Posted by Edward (Ted) Davison on 14 January 2011
I saw your brilliant performance in Yokohama today, and I happened to think of exactly the same question throughout your concert. I took my two boys(7 and 12 years old) with me and I really wondered how they could enjoy the concert. I myself am an amateur pianist, so I can I enjoy concerts both from the performer side and from the audience side. But, those who do not have special musical education must sometimes bear long, sleepy movements(I do not mean yours). However, my kids seemed to have enjoyed the concert in their ways. I think it was worth taking them because now they know a new world and that beautiful music existed. I suppose that apply to every audience; after all, people are eager to experience new things, aren't they? We go to concerts because we would like to watch and listen to highly professional live performances, and feel the performer's existence in the unique atmosphere of concert halls.
Posted by Yukako on 15 January 2011
Steven, just heard you play Rachmaninov, Ravel and Beethoven in Perth. Loved the Beethoven and was really blown away by the Rachmaninov - hope you'll record it. As a very poor amateur musician I think concert-going is about many different things. It can sometimes be a rare opportunity to commune with the music, to really focus on it to the exclusion of anything else (eg. it's hard for me to find 4.5 hours to listen to Parsifal at home, so hearing it "live" is something special.) There's also the aspect of what you'd have to call "canary fancying" in singing circles: can the performer pull off something that you know is difficult (achieved with aplomb by your good self last night.) I think you also want the performer to bring something of themselves to the music and to communicate that to the audience. Some pianists leave me somewhat cold in concert while others (eg. Argerich, Kovacevich, & Osborne, natch) speak so strongly through their music that this is a vital part of the concert. It's not enough to interpret the music - a great performer brings something else to the stage, which you only get in performance. Finally there's the aspect of really "hearing" the music - it doesn't matter how good your hi-fi system, nothing sounds as good as an instrument being played live in front of you. Come back to Perth soon!
Posted by Dogbertd on 16 February 2011
The reason I go to concerts or just listen whenever I can to music is just simply 'that I MUST' ...It gives me joy, it gives me purpose and like the air I breathe..it gives me life.
Posted by Betty Sekhri on 16 February 2012
I am a non-musician: I can't play an instrument and can barely read music. (Though I tried during my comprehensive school education.) As a result of my musical illiteracy I suppose I'm not there for the analytical approach like my neighbours at a recent concert: "In the 13th variation I just wasn't convinced by the left hand...". I wasn't even counting the variations. In some ways Gould's comments about concerts are true, but perhaps he missed the point. All live events create an anticipation of potential excitement (a buzz, if you like), and with this comes an anxiety around failure - whether it be watching your football team or favourite actor. But it isn't wanting someone to fail, it's wanting to share. In the way you said you were 'subtly participating in the creation' of the music - I would have a similar feeling even though it is patently absurd to say this as a non-musician. For me I guess it comes from feeling energised and / or uplifted by the music - as opposed to an acute analysis of technique, or understanding what the performers are going through. So, I suppose I go to concerts to hear music I know, or see a musician I know, and get just that little bit extra from a live performance - to experience it as an event. To be a witness, in effect. In addition, I go to concerts to hear music and musicians unknown to me and I want the same experience but there is a greater sense of discovery and somehow less tension. It is interesting to write 'see a musician', but I think this is a part of the experience too. As much as audiences' coughing makes me want to smash up the Royal Festival Hall, I enjoy witnessing a musician. I also want to see a 'performance'. (That's why I always wondered about Richter's method of dimming all the lights and having a single bulb shining on the score. I think it probably made him even more of a cultish figure; and made people more obsessed with the man rather than, as he desired, the music.) At the end of the day musicians are performers. But there shouldn't be any fear around this: it doesn't mean everyone has to turn into a showboating Liberace. I've seen a pianist play Dudley Moore's version of a Beethoven sonata as an encore, and another play Schoenberg from the score: both were absolutely riveting but in different ways. A fair number of concerts I go to are mediocre: and on my tube journey home I often think about how many CDs I could have bought with the money. But those concerts that are special, and exceed expectations, live in the memory for a long, long time. After all, people don't say 'I will never, never forget the time I heard XXXX on my CD player.'
Posted by Bart on 17 January 2011
I seek out concerts to be transported to another level of existence, where there is an exhilarating awareness of beauty, life, and possibilities. In my experience, this sense of occasion is less rarely found in solo and chamber music concerts than in concerto, orchestral, and opera performances. I seek out performers who are great communicators, who are not merely performing but also questing. Too many performances are characterized by virtuoso excellence and even original rhetoric but lack joy, inspiration, and a sense that the artist is doing this out of love (something definitely conveyed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Mackerras Beethoven Symphony recordings, especially the winds!). After a lifetime of work abroad, I reside now in the Washington DC area and hope to hear you perform here. Your Rach preludes album is a treasure (up there with Richter and Fiorentino).
Posted by Richard J Adams on 22 August 2011
Music is something I could not live without. One goes on a journey filled with colour and beauty.If you have any imagination you can conjour up patterns and happy events. Although I love to watch the orchestra I am also happy to close my eyes and just happily take my fill. Fortunately for me my music tastes are varied although was not introduced to classical music until I was 30yrs of age. Looking forward to hearing you on the lst March
Posted by Joan Wilson on 27 February 2011

20 October 2010

Hear some excerpts here

Music is the highest form of human expression. Attending a concert is both a chance to witness the recreation of a piece of music that has both an historical significance (especially if it's a premiere of a good piece) and a cathartic experience. It's about the bold soloist traversing heights, akin to witnessing a mountaineer stand on Mount Everest for the first time - will he slip? I enjoy the danger. I enjoy witnessing other people working together (or in the case of a soloist, alone and attempting to do difficult things, to send me a message that might just be worth hearing). I go to compare performances with other performances that I've heard. I go to encourage the young. I go to remember the important things in life.
Posted by James Booth on 12 June 2011

A busy summer
03 October 2010

Once again I find that work has overtaken my blogging efforts. This summer was a taxing one, with a series of challenging projects. One of the most time-consuming was an innocuous lecture on improvisation I agreed to give at the Edinburgh Festival. It's a subject I feel strongly about, but trying to put my ideas into coherent form was like wrestling eels and took many more days than I expected. Before that, I had played a very unusual Rhapsody in Blue at the Festival conducted by Gunther Schuller, one of the most influential American musicians of the last 100 years (he straddled the classical and jazz worlds, and was at the forefront of experiments to bring them closer together). His ideas about the piece were largely concerned with getting rid of the Hollywood-style glitz and brashness you often hear, and restoring it to the dimensions of a chamber work, elegance replacing volume. It was a real shock for us all at first, but I went as far as I could towards his views, figuring here was a chance to really hear something new, and the result was quite beautiful.

Just before that, in early August, I had a wonderful but busy time in Aspen, playing recital, concerto and chamber music concerts in four days. That is one of the most heavenly places I've ever been to: incredible hiking, great food, and of course a top-notch music festival. Here's the view just 45 minutes walk (mainly up!) from the edge of town.

I've rarely been happier to receive a re-invitation.

Certainly the trickiest part of the summer came at the end, playing Rachmaninov 1st piano concerto at the Proms soon followed by 3 days recording Ravel. The prom was more stressful than usual because I had played the piece a few days previously in Belfast and had a couple of memory lapses which quite badly affected my confidence. After some thought, I decided to use the music in London. In classical music circles, there is a slight disapproval of performers, particularly pianists, using the music (I've heard that some British music colleges stipulate that solo piano exams be played from memory, for example, probably as a reaction to the stigma). Memory is a strange business - when you are relaxed everything flows easily but once you start to doubt it it can feel like turning off a tap (witness the people on TV game shows who say it's so much easier to answer the questions at home). I think there's just no point in adding needless anxiety to a performance, so I have little hesitation in using the music when I feel I need it (normally modern music), but then I'm lucky to already have an established career. How much harder for someone starting out, who maybe struggles with memory, feeling they need to try to 'make a good impression' by playing without music. It's quite cruel when you think about it, particularly when it's over something so irrelevant. Sviatoslav Richter played for years before his death only with the music. I can't think of any good reason for forcing people to play from memory that outweighs the stress it causes. In a state of anxiety one cannot properly access the rest of one's emotions; that in turn inhibits one's ability to communicate through the music.

And so finally to Ravel. In the middle of September I recorded the final installment of my complete survey of his piano music: Gaspard de la Nuit, La Valse, and Miroirs. The experience was both wonderful and terrible, to be honest; all Ravel's music requires so much concentration that by the middle of the second day I was already exhausted. But Andrew Keener, that most sympathetic of recording producers, helped me along with some good psychology and TLC, and in the end I felt excited that I'd managed to capture quite well what I want to say with the music. This is the most stressful part of it, to know you have something of great beauty and intensity to say with the music, but fearing you may not be able to communicate it: maybe because you become too tired, or because there is a problem with the piano, or you can't relax, or a house alarm ruined the best take, or the hall roof keeps creaking, or any number of other things which might interfere. So to finish a recording and feel that you have honoured both the composer and your own feelings about the music is always a cause for great satisfaction.
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Recording Ravel
26 July 2010

I'm sitting with Jeannie on the plane to Boston, en route to Massachussetts to spend time with her family; her twin nieces were one a couple of days ago so we're catching the tail-end of the birthday celebrations. A long flight like this gives me the first chance in a while to think about writing. It has been a hectic month, the dominant feature of which was three days of recording Ravel solo piano music. Nothing Ravel wrote is easy, even the pieces which sound it; he doesn't seem to know what feels comfortable at the piano. This might well be connected to the fact that he was a pretty mediocre pianist, a fact attested not only by a smattering of recordings (one cannot always rely on early recordings to give an accurate picture), but also contemporary accounts. Yet, perversely, he had an astonishing instinct for the colouristic possibilities of the piano, and while it may not be the most grateful music to learn, it is supremely effective and satisfying to play. Ravel was notoriously defensive in person, capable of being cold and sarcastic even to his good friends, and I think one senses the effect of this defensiveness also in his music. It is not that his music lacks emotion - quite the opposite - but the emotion is often buried under the surface, particularly beneath apparent innocence or playfulness. It is a fascinating solution to the conundrum of how a man who is scared to reveal himself in person can cope with revealing himself through his music, and this conflict produced, in my opinion, some of the most touching and vulnerable music ever written. I've recorded Le Tombeau de Couperin, Sonatine, Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, and a bunch of little pieces; I'll record the remainder of his piano works in September for a double CD of his complete piano music to be released early next year.

Since then I've hardly been at home, but for once it's not work-related: I attended a marvellous 3 day birthday party on the Scottish island of Rum (SCO cellist Su-a Lee hired a whole castle for more than 100 of her friends!), and then visited my great friends the Pigotts in Totnes where I helped make little icing men for a swimming pool birthday cake and played the Lego Harry Potter computer game with the kids. It's nice after the intensity of recording to do something brainless!
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Two Little Slices of Heaven
15 June 2010

Last night I played the last concert of an exceptionally busy month. It seems that every concert has had different repertoire, including a number of very tricky works in close succession (Brahms 2nd piano concerto, Ravel Gaspard de la nuit and La Valse, Rachmaninov Corelli variations...). I have eagerly awaited this day of freedom, and am presently sitting in London pub with a pint of beer waiting for the football to start. Bliss!

In the midst of all the busyness during the last month, I had a brief but wonderful break from in Achiltibuie to celebrate the birthday of my friend and colleague from Hyperion, Mike Spring (a man who possibly knows as much about piano music as anyone on the planet). Achiltibuie is a very special place, situated in the far northwest of Scotland, 30 minutes along a single track road where one's desire to stare at the fabulous scenery struggles with one's desire not to hit the sheep which keep crossing the road. The village looks out over the Summer Isles and the surrounding area is just idyllic, with some spectacular walking. We stayed at the Summer Isles Hotel, a place renowned for fabulous cuisine; this also happens to be where I started my honeymoon with Jeannie. The only sad part is that Jeannie could only join us on the final evening - she got a call at the last moment to play principal clarinet with the Bergen Philharmonic, which meant she missed the 14 mile walk from Lochinver past Suilven. Jeannie and I did manage to have a quick jaunt up Stac Pollaigh on the morning we left however. This blog post is brought to you by the Stupendous Scotland Tourist Board.

Pebble beach by the road heading up to Achiltibuie

About to get caught in a hail storm up Stac Pollaigh

Hail storm receding

Happily hail-free

North of Suilven looking west

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A mammoth journey
17 April 2010

I wonder how many classical performers found themselves stranded over the last few days thanks to the Icelandic volcano eruption (my headline of the year goes to the Daily Mail: "AWESOME POWER OF THE FIRES OF HELL. Poison gas, famine, catastrophe. How all the technology in the world can't save us from Mother Earth's fury".) Certainly, it's in the nature of our profession that on any given day there's a good change we're going to be abroad. As for myself, I was in Copenhagen to perform with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Ludovic Morlot (one of the most genial and intensely musical collaborators I've had the pleasure to work with). I was due to fly back on Friday morning for a concert that night in Carlisle with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. By late Thursday night, it was becoming clear that I was going to miss the concert, and I was trying to work out simply how to get home at all. In the end and after much research, I managed to book a berth on a night ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich leaving yesterday, which gave me time to make the trek down from Denmark (departing 7.45am on a train bursting at the seams with displaced air passangers, and arriving at the ferry terminal after many changes of train after 8pm). I arrived at 6.30 this morning in Harwich and am now, at 1.40pm on the last little train journey from Edinburgh to Linlithgow. I got off fairly lightly, because there were many at the terminal unable to get on the ferry, with the word being that there were no places available for several days. I knew I had a 2 berth cabin, so was able to take someone with me. The bizarre thing is that when I got to the cabin there were 4 beds in it. I know at least one other person who found the same. Moreover, while I was able to give a spare bed to someone, I know others who were not allowed to, being told the ferry was already full. So it seems like there was a great waste of capacity. There must have been many, like me, travelling alone and forced to book larger cabins because there were no single ones left. The refusal to allow those beds to be filled seems to me inexplicable.
It's not only 'Classical' performers who were influenced by the Volcano 'fallout'. Even scabby little 'Jazzers' had to resort to the ferry back from Shetland. Having said that...the sea had the calmness of a mirror and a serene sunset over Orkney was an unforgettable reward for enduring a somewhat protracted homeward journey.
Posted by Chick Lyall on 14 November 2010
re ferries - unfortunately, human nature being what it is, there will always be people trying to make a quick buck out of others' misery. I am looking forward to seeing you at Liverpool Phil with Vasily this week.
Posted by jill conlan on 21 April 2010

13 April 2010

Dear Steven, My first steps into 'blogreading' but very enjoyable experience. Read of your forthcoming date at Dalmeny Kirk where I help to run a small art group for mainly retired artists who enjoy 'painting for pleasure'. Saw a concert you did in Usher Hall a few years ago and as I was brought up in the Fair City, noted when you chose the new piano for Perth Concert Hall. All the very best to you and Jean and if you pass Dalmeny Church Hall most Wednesdays(2-4pm) do pop in and I will get you a painting done for your home - no charge. Cheers.
Posted by Ian Slee on 14 April 2011

My altercation with the back doorstep
23 March 2010

Shortly before Christmas I was woken by the sound of the bin lorry coming down our little cul-de-sac and bolted out of bed to get the bin out in time. Unfortunately it was the first day of the cold snap, and the ground was covered in ice: as a result I went flying when I stepped outside and landed with full weight on left middle finger. At first I didn't think any real damage was done because although it was pretty sore and inflamed it looked otherwise normal. As a precaution I got it X-rayed and was shocked to discover it was actually broken: a tiny flake of bone had been pulled off by one of the ligaments. As breaks go this is relatively minor, but the recuperation time is still significant. 3 months on, it is well on its way to being fully recovered, but I still have slight limitation in movement at the extremes of the range and weakness due to having been unable to use it properly over a long period. I've avoided writing about it until now because I knew I would have to cancel some concerts but wasn't sure how many, and I didn't want to needlessly alarm promoters (the truth is I was also pretty freaked out by the experience and didn't want people asking me about how serious the injury was until I knew if myself). I managed to cancel fewer concerts than I expected but what I had to cancel was really disappointing - a tour of 10 concerts with my wife around Scotland. Some of these were taken over by a couple of other pianists - Aaron Shorr and Scott Mitchell - but thankfully some were moved to this month (we're on our way to Inverness for the penultimate concert as I write). The first concerts I did after the accident were Schubert duets with Paul Lewis at the end of January, and for these I had to refinger everything to avoid the injured digit. Needless to say, this was very irritating! Since then, as luck would have the repertoire has increased in intensity gradually - Beethoven 4th concerto last month, Britten concerto a couple of weeks ago. These I was just about ready to perform when they came up, my finger gradually being able to withstand more stress. By now, the only real limitation I feel is a reluctance to play full power with it. In a month I expect I'll hardly notice there was ever a problem. The only significant obstacle left is my first performance of Rachmaninov's 1st piano concerto next Monday. The problem is not so much a question of power (the other fingers can compensate), as of simply playing the notes: due to the injury I lost several weeks practise time, and what practise I could subsequently do was at first severely restricted to stop my finger swelling up. So I feel like I'm much less prepared than I would normally be for a first performance. I'm pretty frustrated by this, but at the same time I'm grateful I can play the concert at all. And anyway, the whole experience might not be wasted: you have to suffer to play the blues... and Rachmaninov.
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  37. No 8 in A minor – Rachmaninov preludes
  38. Oiseaux tristes – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  39. No 5 in G major: Quasi allegretto – Beethoven Complete Bagatelles
  40. Canticle of the Holy Night – Feldman, Crumb piano works
  41. Animé – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  42. No 9 in A major – Rachmaninov preludes
  43. Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio – Beethoven Piano Sonatas
  44. Une barque sur l'océan – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  45. Feux d’artifice – Debussy: The Complete Preludes
  46. Les fées sont d’exquises danseuses – Debussy: The Complete Preludes
  47. Crumb - Processional – Feldman, Crumb piano works
  48. Pittoresco – Mussorgsky - Pictures from an Exhibition
  49. Jeux d'eau – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  50. No 18: Liedchen – Alkan: Esquisses, Op 63
  51. Slow pulse – Tippett: Complete Music for Piano (Piano Sonatas 1-4, Piano Concerto)
  52. À la manière de Chabrier – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  53. Schubert-Sonata in Bb D960 3rd movement
  54. The Great Gate of Kiev – Mussorgsky - Pictures from an Exhibition
  55. Fantasie in F minor D940 – Schubert piano duets
  56. Piano Sonata No 2 (1962) – Tippett: Complete Music for Piano (Piano Sonatas 1-4, Piano Concerto)
  57. Allegro non troppo - Largo – Shostakovich and Schnittke Cello Sonatas
  58. Toccata – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  59. Rondo giocoso con moto – Tippett: Complete Music for Piano (Piano Sonatas 1-4, Piano Concerto)
  60. La Valse – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  61. Allegro – Nikolai Kapustin Piano Music
  62. Allegro precipitato – Mussorgsky - Pictures from an Exhibition
  63. Variation VII: Badinerie – Britten: Complete works for Piano and Orchestra
  64. Oiseaux tristes – The Naumburg Foundation Presents: Steven Osborne • Ravel
  65. No 1 in F minor: Allegro moderato – Schubert Impromptus, Piano Pieces and Variations
  66. I. Andante – Prokofiev Works for Violin and Piano
  67. Allegro rubato – Mussorgsky - Pictures from an Exhibition
  68. II. Andante un poco adagio – Brahms and Rózsa clarinet sonatas
  69. Rigaudon – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  70. Noctuelles – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  71. Feldman - Palais de Mari – Feldman, Crumb piano works
  72. Allegro non troppo – Tippett: Complete Music for Piano (Piano Sonatas 1-4, Piano Concerto)
  73. Jardin du sommeil d'amour – Turangalîla-Symphonie
  74. Menuet in C sharp minor – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  75. Variation VI: Nocturne – Britten: Complete works for Piano and Orchestra
  76. No 29: Délire – Alkan: Esquisses, Op 63
  77. Limoges, the market place – Mussorgsky - Pictures from an Exhibition
  78. Première communion de la Vierge – Olivier Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l'enfant-Jésus
  79. Allegro capriccioso ma tempo giusto – Stravinsky - Complete works for piano and orchestra
  80. Toccata – Britten: Complete works for Piano and Orchestra
  81. No 1 in C major – Rachmaninov preludes
  82. No 30: Petit air dolent – Alkan: Esquisses, Op 63
  83. No 1 in G major: Andante con moto – Beethoven Complete Bagatelles
  84. Mendelssohn 1st piano concerto, 2nd movement
  85. Menuet – Ravel - The Complete Solo Piano Music
  86. Allegretto – Beethoven Piano Sonatas