Friday, 23 October 2009

And a Leviathan in action

I should have also mentioned the concert itself, shouldn't I? Slightly odd one to start with, very cool and collected, Mendelsohn and Brahms. A little too cool for me, and I was left feeling a trifle unengaged. I'm not good at engaging with music using just my mind, I'm afraid. I guess I'm too somatotonic. I want the visceral, physical oomph of the music hitting me; the sensual pleasure of it. Live orchestral music can feel like being literally bathed in waves of sound; it caresses my skin and flashes through my guts, the vibrations entwining with my heartbeat and taking life as they meld with my own living tissue.

Last night this wasn't really happening at first. But then, after the interval, although we stayed with Brahms, the temperature was shoved up close to boiling by the monumental playing of Yefim Bronfman. This is one big man. Big in every sense, ability as well as build, and more than a match for this big concerto; he looks as if he could crack walnuts with one fingertip. He was terrific. He played with drama and precision, tightly together like twins in a neck-and-neck race, both the scale and the delicacy the piece needs, and he brought the house down.

I had heard good things of him, I went primarily for this, and the man (or should that be The Man?) delivered, in large, perfectly judged spadefuls.

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