This little trip couldn’t have been more efficient: my pianist Markus Becker and me flew into London last night, arrived at 7:50 pm after a day of rehearsals in his hometown Hanover, and left today at 8:15 pm after our lunchtime concert at LSO St.Lukes.
It was one of these BBC lunchtime concerts of one hour without a break, which I find almost more stressful and tiring than a full recital – at least you don’t have to play longer than 40 minutes in a row. We performed in a pretty new London-venue, an old church which has been transformed into a very beautiful, sound-proof performance space.
We didn’t have the biggest crowd, and I was stressing out not only because of the microphones but also because of the very sparse rehearsal time we had. We met the day before and rehearsed the entire program, which consisted of the Debussy Sonata, which we had played often, but also the Suite Italienne by Stravinsky and the Prokofiev Sonata, we had never played together.
Except one little memory slip I felt actually quite good, but it is funny how a small lunch-time audience can alter your feeling after a performance. Again I felt rather free and thought more about music than about playing perfect, which is not an easy thing to do while the microphones are running, I must admit.
But I focused on breathing very deep and tried to talk with every single phrase (no, didn’t succeed, that’s for sure, but at least I tried…:) I just found out the importance of deep breathing, by the way. Yes, I knew before about how important breathing is in general and in music in particular, but to breathe really deep opened completely new perspectives to my performing, since it makes me feel much more free and liberated, and I start doing rather unusual musical (or unmusical) things.
Oh, one little mishap: in the coda of the Prokofiev Sonata our page turner got completely lost and turned at places he really shouldn’t have turned, so poor Markus, who played this Sonata for the first time, was trying to remember what he was supposed to play, but without the music in front of him, he was only guessing, and this causes sheer panic. He recovered beautifully, and we did a little patch-session for the radio-broadcast tomorrow, but something like that reminds us how dangerous of a job it is to perform. Anything can happen…
We had a lovely lunch afterwards, a couple of coffees, wines and a beer, before leaving one of the most exciting cities in the world in order to get home to prepare for our Reger-recordingsessions which start next week. Soooooooooo much work, and I still don’t completely understand the music.