Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Steven Osborne piano (or Hello Marcellous!)

It isn't often at a concert that you discover you are sitting next to someone whose blog you follow.

The Scottish (not English, thank you Marcellous for the correction) pianist Steven Osborne played Debussy and Prokofiev last night at the Angel Place Hall.
I love the music of the romantics, from Beethoven to Sibelius but have never been a big fan of French impressionists like Debussy.  Osborne, however, took the opportunity to talk to his audience before playing each piece (he said it relaxes him) and told us a bit about composing music which gave me a better insight into this music. He said it is relatively easier to compose a piece in which a couple of tunes fit into an agreed structure than a piece (like Debussy's music) which is a single piece carrying itself forward without a pre-agreed structure. I listened to the Debussy pieces more attentively than I would have done without the explanation.

My seat neighbour didn't seem terribly enamoured with a pianist talking about the music before playing. He had swept in just before the concert, with bright pink scarf flying and a glimpse of red rimmed button holes on a black coat.
Something about the way he listened to the music made me think he may be a pianist himself, so I asked him during the interval.
'Yes', he said, ' Well no. Well I used to be! But yes!'
He turned and asked me, 'Are you?' 
'You're an artist or something?'
(I'd doodled little sketches of Osborne in my program.)
'Yes.' I said. 'Yes, and I often paint musicians.'
He considered.
'Did you grow up in New Zealand?' he asked.
'Yes I did,' I said, thinking he had picked up my accent. 
'Oh,' he laughed, 'I read your blog! And you read mine!'

How often do you find yourself sitting next to someone whose blog you follow? The blogs I follow are an eclectic bunch, usually discovered by accident and mainly well written diaries giving me an insight into lives different very from my own. Among them are a couple of blogs written by people who know much more about music than I do and who sometimes hear the same concerts I have heard. I visit their blogs to read what a formally trained musician thinks of the music I have heard - although not before writing my own impressions. 

'Well I wonder who you are?' I replied rather disconcerted. 
Angel Place hall holds 1200 people and even if you know another blogger might be in the audience, you don't expect to be sitting next to them, or if you are, you don't expect to be told.
'Are you Marcellous?' I asked. 
Once or twice in five years Marcellous and I have commented on each other's blogs, which puts us, I suppose on the end of the friendship spectrum below 'vague acquaintance' level. 
He laughed. 'Yes I am!

It was a very odd feeling discovering the reality behind the blog, a feeling we seemed to share. But perhaps if we are seated next to each other again we might find we have progressed up the friendship table to 'more than vague acquaintances'. 

Hello Marcellous! My spell-correct keeps changing your name to Marvellous.