Last night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall I attended a concert given by the Orchestra of the Age of enlightenment (OAE) conducted by Sir Andras Schiff, who also played the piano.
The OAE play historic instruments and the piano was a Graf pianoforte.
I spent Wednesday evening in the company of a frequent concert goer who expressed the view that he preferred the sound of a Steinway.
The programme comprised Beethoven’s Coriolanus Overture, Haydn’s Drumroll Symphony and Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto The Emperor.
In view of my friend’s critique I listened to the sound of the piano.
Much as I admired the virtuosi playing of Schiff I could only agree the sound was “plonky” and lacked the rich velvety texture and resonance of a Steinway.
My second criticism was the encore.
I am a time-conscious sort of fellow.
So if a concert is scheduled to end at 9.00pm I expect it to do so and make my plans accordingly.
In this case I was hoping to get to Waterloo in good time for the train to Wimbledon.
I therefore declined my host’s invitation to the players’ party and the opportunity to meet Sir Andras.
I am no fan of the Southbank Centre – it’s stark concrete architecture, lack of signage and a not-especially-attractive quarter of London.