BEETHOVEN CONCERT 9 OF 40: A coy smile crept across Michael’s lips

CMNZer, Anna Sedcole chose a good concert for her return to a chamber music night out, and she was lucky to get a seat amongst the packed house! Here’s her experience at Wellington’s final BEETHOVEN reCYCLE Part One concert…

Anna Sedcole at the final Beethoven reCYCLE Part One concert in Wellington

Anna Sedcole at the final Beethoven reCYCLE Part One concert in Wellington

Arriving at the Ilott Theatre for Michael Houstoun’s third programme in a series of seven of the Beethoven Sonatas, I idly wondered when the last time was that I had been out at night. I seriously could not remember. As the mother of a nearly ten-month-old, it is a rare occasion that I have the opportunity to get to a concert these days – and I am glad to say that in this instance, it was well worth the effort of putting on a clean top (my son had thoughtfully wiped his nose on me prior to leaving) and slapping on a bit of lipstick (when was the last time I did that?!).

I was a bit early, so I settled into my seat and opened my large print copy of Bill Bryson’s “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” (large print was all I could find at the Karori Library). I wished that particular page didn’t have THE PUBIC YEARS in quite such enormous bold print, but never mind.

Beethoven reCYCLE Part One Wellington - a very full house!

Beethoven reCYCLE Part One Wellington – a very full house!

The audience buzzed around me, taking their seats in eager anticipation of what was to come. Eventually, the lights dimmed and a reverent hush fell over the crowd. The requisite black-clad page-turner carefully set the score on the piano. Michael came out and took his seat at the piano.

For the next two hours, we were treated to a pianistic tour de force. I’m quite sure there are many agreeable ways to spend an evening, but surely this has to rate as one of the most enjoyable of all. How lucky we were to be sitting in that theatre, listening to New Zealand’s finest pianist (if not one of the world’s best) playing works by Beethoven.

I was pleasantly surprised to realise that I had played the beginning of the Sonata in F, Opus 54, and I smirked to myself when Michael reached the fast, octaves passage – where I’d always given up. This rarely heard work was a highlight for me – Michael’s sensitive touch was just right. When a coy smile crept across Michael’s lips at a particularly witty section of the music, I felt like I was witnessing a private joke between friends – in a good way, not as if I was being left out!

When I got home, I was informed that my son had settled easily and not woken up at all, which is most unusual. I really must get out more often!

– Anna, 17.04.13



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