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Showing posts from November, 2014

Edward Cahill Biography Completed

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Just to say briefly to the 'happy few' who may be following this blog that the first draft of my biography of my great-uncle the brilliant Australian concert pianist Edward Cahill (1885-1975) announced in June this year has now been fully edited and completely revised. The work has been recast from being a straight biography to the far more entertaining form of a 'family quest', the subject of the search being my great-uncle. 
The story is so similar  to that of Billy Elliot. An artist emerges from a humble working class background full of prejudice but with extraordinary artistic perseverance and courage triumphs. The difference is that the experience of his formative years takes place in another country (Australia) and in different art (music). This the story of a man wanting to play the piano as a career in outback Australia, a macho, unapologetically masculine late nineteenth century Australia and the prejudices he battled against in the family, in his home town but…

Grigory Sokolov - Warsaw, 16 November 2014 - A shattering musical experience

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Strangely I go to few concerts in Warsaw these days. The reason became perfectly clear last night. As Thomas Mann said in Dr. Faustus 'Music is a cabbalistic craft.' The problem is that few musicians touch the soul with arcane magic, the spiritual source of all music as in the manner of this evening. I felt the entire programme was perhaps overshadowed, possibly even inspired, by reflections and elegiac thoughts on the recent death of the pianist's wife. Fanciful? Possibly. Certainly there was nothing 'interpretatively standard', no obeisance made towards the conventional in this recital. The utterance was of a creative artist.
Sokolov is what Russians call 'a soul' and this became evident from the opening note of his recital. The tempo he adopted throughout was rather moderate for those accustomed to a sparkling, energetic Bach. For me this was all to the good in the Bach Partita in B major BMV 825 (1726). I play the harpsichord and many feel such works sho…