It feels a bit self-indulgent to be filled with a sense of accomplishment for simply having experienced Michael Houstoun perform all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas this year. But in the interest of full disclosure and no censorship, I do.
I feel as if I have been a part of something that will be remembered as a significant moment in New Zealand’s musical history for years to come. And maybe that is what is so affecting about a project like this. Retrospectively I now have a belief that what Michael really signed up to this year was to be the conduit, the master of the music, the all important connector of the great Beethoven to the people (us!).
Before I get carried away with this notion I have to acknowledge that mountains of credit and adulation must of course go to Houstoun who never failed to wow us, the people, with his utterly brilliant interpretations of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas. Which, I might add, he performed multiple times in varying programmes totalling 183 sonata performances in forty concerts with barely the snippet of a score in sight on the music stand (insane right?!).
As the four and a half kilograms of confetti rained down on our Michael (yes I think we can call him our own) at the very last BEETHOVEN reCYCLE concert earlier this week I thought back to the 40 accounts I have published from audience members around the country on this blog. I thought about how each one of these accounts uncovered someone who had been moved or enlightened in some way by Michael, through Beethoven’s music (or perhaps by Beethoven, through Michael’s hands).
And as the rows and rows of appreciative people continued to clap and cheer in a standing ovation for the pianist, I realised that if every seat sold in all the forty concerts (more than 15,000 seats!) held a person who had been as affected as the 40 people chronicled in our blog (a mere 0.2% of the total attendances) then … well wow – that is a big family indeed.
A big BEETHOVEN reCYCLE family, headed by Michael Houstoun, that I now have the pleasure and privilege to be a part of.
With that realisation and in the days following the finale of the cycle all that I have felt is the need to reach out and give everyone in my newly found BEETHOVEN reCYCLE family a giant virtual family hug.
To Michael, to Beethoven, and to every person who was part of the reCYCLE journey in any way….
Let’s do it again sometime! See you in 20 years for a reunion?
– written by Candice de Villiers, Chamber Music New Zealand.