Friday, 19 February 2010
Back to Bohuslav
Well, we've hardly been in a desert of live music since the second instalment of the BBC Symphony/Belohlavek Martinu symphonies series at the Barbican, but I am indeed excited about the return. I do so love that cat shot, courtesy of the Bohuslav Martinu Archive in Policka, which I'm going to see, hurrah, next month. Anyway, tonight's concert features the symphony closest to my heart, the Fourth, by virtue of that slow movement which I got some stick for describing on Building a Library as the greatest since the one in Sibelius Four. But I believe that more than ever and I'm looking forward to hearing it again live (the only other occasion being the same team in the Martinu weekend some years back).
A Great Man phoned me yesterday out of the blue for a chat about Martinu (it has been impressed upon me that not all should be divulged on a blog, but I can't contain my interest entirely, so forgive any coyness). We talked about the correspondence between what Martinu put on the printed page and what he heard in his head, about Czech orchestras and Czech music, 'driving lessons' with the infinitely generous Sir Charles, and about how Martinu is so obviously one of the greats; forgive me if I still keep Korngold, also featured tonight, in category 2.
Hint about the chat: this dream by Piero della Francesca, which I saw in Arezzo on my first trip to Italy in 1982, will be coming to Albertopolis in the Summer.
Enough; do say hello if you come to my talk before the concert at 6pm this evening in the Barbican's Fountain Room. The main event goes out live on Radio 3 at 7pm*. I'm told it's virtually sold out; such is the pace of the Martinu renaissance.
Just a footnote on A Single Man, which we finally saw last night: admired the far from vacuous cinematography, respected Firth's and Moore's performances, was pleased at the sensual presentation of young flesh, but felt next to nothing for the characters. The other problem is that I'm so hypnotised by every jewel-like sentence of Hilary Mantel at the moment, as I work my way through her magnificent oeuvre, that what was read of Isherwood's book sounded flat and self-conscious. And before walking in the pouring rain to the Odeon Kensington I dropped in to Kensington Library - only to find that they've cleared out two thirds of their scores, leaving gaping holes on the shelves (so it's not even a space thing). This is happening all the time in libraries throughout London, but that doesn't make it any the less a shock and a disgrace.
*apparently not - despite the fact that the uncomfortable 7pm start has always signalled a live broadcast, this one turned out to be shunted to this coming Monday.