Yes, I am very sorry (for not writing in such a long time), and no, I have not been lazy, rather the opposite. Since my last blog entry about a month ago I have been so incredibly busy trying to cope with all the tasks that there was absolutely no time to take care of anything else. What did I do?
First of all I played all these recitals with this genius pianist Cecile Licad, which is always a huge challenge for me since she demands everything from me; I have to be on my toes to react to whatever she throws at me, musically as well as emotionally. And as much as we might rehearse for a concert, in the evening the outcome is always completely different to anything we might have played before. This makes it quite thrilling, but also very, very exhausting. The concerts took place in Â
It wasnâ€™t really my festival (part of the Amiata Pianofestival), but I was in charge of the artistic planning. Together with my friend and manager Â
First concert was Cecile and me with the program of the week before (Janacek Tales, Beethoven A Major, Rachmaninov Sonata), next one the Signum Quartet (Beethoven op.18,3, Ravel and something else â€“ my memory is leaving me), then me with all Bachsuites for the first time in my life, I was so nervous before; three hours with one little break, all memorized with some memory slips and lots of improvisatory elements. I was so relieved when I had this one â€œunder my beltâ€, since it is somehow our bible, and to know it all in your head feels really good JÂ I donâ€™t know how good it was musically, but people told me that they werenâ€™t bored for a single second, which made me happy since I was always bored whenever I heard all of them in once concertâ€¦
The other three programs where the Jazz-concert and two mixed chambermusic programs including the Chopin Etudes op.10 which Cecile played so unbelievable that I called this afterwards the greatest live-performance I have ever heard. Hopefully people understood what had happened there. So much music, no technical limitations, creativity every single second, drama without the slightest hint of theatre, really lived emotions, and not only I was moved to tears. I hope I have the chance to do the same next year since people and location were absolutely fabulous, and the 20 minute drive between hotel and concert hall was so beautiful that it didnâ€™t even matter to me, who hates driving.
Yes, Your blog entries and the periodic notices that I receive have been missed! but alas, you have been busy..What a remarkable feat of memory, Superhuman! to be able to perform all the Bach suites from memory…Were they recorded?…will the recordings be released?..any of the other music? Your recollections from the festival were very touching..Sounds like it was a huge success..I’ll look for stuff from the quartet..Best Regards Alban..Carry on!!!
Hi George –
oh, it was far from Superhuman, I am afraid, even my son reminded me after the performance of my mistakes, but it was definitely alive 🙂
No, we didn’t reocrd it, and it won’t be released, even if it was – I won’t record the Suites for at least another 5 years, if not 10, find it soooo difficult to make a difference and to really understand the music from deep down, not just the structure. You can not only use your guts while playing it, but it has to have so much understanding of the style together with a deep emotional message, that I wouldn’t attempt a complete recording. Did No.5 and am only half satisfied with it – I salute anybody who dares to do them all, but I am definitely not ready. Best wishes,
Alban….wow what a feat…all the Bach suites! I am so happy to have discovered your blog. I guess you and Cecile make quite a team…I remember when you both played at Paul’s place in New York. If I can get someone to drive me to Baltimore I will certainly try to come to your Shriver Hall recital. Love……….Betty
Dear Betty, oh yes, we are quite a team, please come to Baltimore, we’ll give our best just for you! Best wishes from Berlin,
Thanks…..you always give your best I am sure. Anyway if I don’t make it to Baltimore I will definitely see you in Washington next Spring. Love to you, Katalina and Janos. Betty