Saturday 6 November 2010
And still they go
O numi, o ciel, what a year it's been for distinguished deaths: many of them in the natural order of things as we so equably acnowledged in the stunningly energetic Mackerras memorial concert on Thursday, the inevitable few untimely. Just as I'd finished my homage to Rudolf Barshai for The Arts Desk, I flipped over to Parterre and found that glorious Shirley Verrett had died at the age of 79.
I never saw her on stage - not sure there was much opportunity this side of the pond, at least when I had grown to opera-going maturity - but I always loved her Verdi tigresses: few mezzos had a more redoubtable chest-voice. The obvious choice is this, delivered in a tacky studio set and with just a teensy bit too much lingering, but at least the emotions have time to tell.
And thanks to the Parterre punter who drew my attention to this:
So let's have a lollipop encore to lower the emotional temperatures. As one of my students said last night, Yan Pascal Tortelier's latest, slightly OTT appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra yielded a 'real peach of a concert', pure delight from the Hindemith we'd so keenly anticipated through the cheerful burble of Debussy's early Fantaisie to the Ravel Pavane and his unsurpassable orchestration of Musorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (every segue, every tempo perfectly judged, I thought).
But the surprise gem was Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's encore. I didn't recognise it, and nor did orchestral pianist Liz Burley. I guessed French, I guessed toccata, so I was about as right as you can be without knowing the piece. Here it is played (not quite so humanly, but impressively enough) by Aldo Ciccolini.