Concert: Barenboim plays Bach

Sunday Afternoon caught Daniel Barenboim playing Bach's Preludes and Fugues from Book 1 of 'Das wohltemperite Clavier'. Translated that is "the well-tempered keyboard". The first hour were numbers 1-12, then after intermission there were 13-24.

It was a sellout concert given Barenboim's mega-star status. There was a long queue waiting in vain for returns. Inside the hall, it was just him, the Steinway and the preludes and fugues.

On stage there was magic. There was also a bit of tapping and fancy footwork, which initially was a bit distracting. The hands may do the hard work, but the rest of his body seemed to be locked in a constant struggle with the counterpoint. I didn't have the best vantage point and wished I was sitting on the other side so I could see his hands (rather than the body of the piano) but I guess you can't have everything...

He has just released a CD of this as well, which he was signing at the end of the concert. I assume that with the amount of tapping onstage that he must have worn shoes with rubber soles in the recording studio.

I do think there is a limit to the amount of Bach one can take in in an afternoon and during the second half of the concert my mind began to wander. Scanning the audience I noticed that I wasn't the only one getting restless as there was some serious fidgeting and moving about going on. Running into a colleague from work after the concert there was agreement with this sentiment. I had to go home and listen to something less pretty and complex. So I passed on the signing of his new CD, leaving hundreds of others waiting in line...

And then...

During the Bach concert while my mind was wandering I decided that I would give the memorial service for D that was on today in London a miss. There is nothing like Bach to get your mind straight and your thoughts in order...


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