Wigmore Hall and a full day of doing stuff

I’ve been in the office all day. The sun swung by around eleven-ish and burned its way across my monitor making the detailed website work I’ve been ploughing through today quite challenging. I impressed myself with a Britten-esque kind of resourcefulness, retrieving the remains of a superglue tube from the draw and fixing the window blind. Focus continued throughout the afternoon. Tea was made. More progress. Emails sent. Then the final task for today.

Playlist creation

I’ve always been rather cynical about playlists for streaming services. This isn’t necessarily a good thing to admit given that I’ve been commissioned to create one and write the contextual information about it. The truth is that I question whether anybody really cares what I think about what you should listen to. I’m all about personal discovery. That’s what classical music is at its heart. It’s a subjective thing after all. Therefore, you the listener need to put the hard graft in. You need to work out what it is you want to listen to. And, when you do listen, you need to be able to work out how it makes you feel. Bottom line. Why don’t people realise this?

Yet, the weird thing is, that creating a playlist for someone is a remarkably stressful process. You’re making a statement. It’s a reflection of yourself (even if contractually you’re not allowed to talk about yourself in the text you write. The copy you submit is then a constraint, even though the meat of the product is a personal selection.

An odd process. Enjoyable though. A little bit stressed about it. I am 24 business hours past my submission date. Actually emailed the editor asking for an extension. Felt like a fucking student again. So pathetic. Hope to God he replies (and pays up) otherwise I’ve spent a couple of hours doing something for no money.

More on that story later.

Festival dates

One of the other tasks for today was following up on a slew of emails from last week, one from a festival inviting me to consider attending a selection of their concerts in the spring. I browsed events with a slightly keener eye than I have done in the past, honing in on some Beethoven quartets and Bartok concertos. These things are never certain and I always feel as though I have to go the extra mile to express appreciation for being invited. It’s the right thing to do, after all. ‘Penned’ the email, was about to hit send, then thought about noting down the dates I’d asked for. It was at that point I realised I was asking to attend three concerts from Friday 29th March .. necessitating a flight to and from Europe.

Again. More on that story later.

Wigmore Hall 2019/2020

I was intending to write about three festivals in this post. But, what with the ‘stuff’ I’ve been banging on about above, I’ve really only got time for one. Bite me.

Wigmore’s 2019/2020 season preview brochure is a delightful piece of print to hold in the hand. Instantly recognisable Wigmore red covers with embossed gold lettering. The text is clear, the line-height optimised, and the artist imagery well-selected and well-positioned. This like no other season brochure I’ve seen recently means the Wigmore’s new season is the easiest to write about. Someone knows what they’re doing.

The line-up is tantalising. My attention is drawn first off to the Beethoven spotlight featuring violinst James Ehnes who I still haven’t seen in London and must (I saw him play in Verbier once – I remember his unfussy playing made his seemingly effortless artistry alluring). There’s also the marvellous Isabelle Faust and the white heat of Janine Jansen’s playing on offer too.

Leonidas Kavakos is there too and is for me another must-attend.

I see Michael Collins will be performing both clarinet sonatas with Stephen Hough (as a clarinettist myself this something I would love to see – both ravishing works for the instrument, much better than those viola arrangements). Clarinettist Martin Fröst’s terrifying musical talent also makes an appearance at Wigmore Hall. An opportunity to witness his circular breathing would be one too good to miss. Expect that gig to sell out quickly.

Iestyn Davies gets a 40th birthday concert too (I’m sure there won’t be any issues with the correct spelling of his name on the dressing room door – best make a mental note Wigmore Hall just in case though).

And the sight of pianist Leif Ove Andsnes staring out at me from page 13 with those steely grey Norwegian eyes is enough to make me buy up all the tickets on offer for both his pairing with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and his solo recital regardless of what the programme is. I’m that superficial.

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