This past week saw the culmination of a project, a continuation of a collaboration and a return to my roots.
The performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy on 28 April was a special event since I had the opportunity to work alongside an orchestra and choir as concerto soloist. The performance was the result of weeks of focused work towards memorising and making sense of the piece’s seemingly random structure, its character – now bravura and bold, now lyrical and delicate – and balancing my part with those of the orchestra and choir. It was heartwarming to be greeted by such an appreciative audience.
Last year I worked with the ladies of the Odeion String Quartet in Bloemfontein, South Africa for the first time. This past week we continued our work in exploring the piano quintet repertoire. They added Dohnányi’s second piano quintet (Op. 26) to their repertoire and it was my first time to perform Dvorak’s famous piano quintet (Op. 81). Our performance in Ladybrand in the Eastern Free State was a great success with a full house and an enthusiastic audience. Driving to Ladybrand from Bloemfontein was roughly 90 mins and I was struck by the beauty of the landscape that was the scene of my childhood. I am amazed that it took an absence of nearly twelve years to truly appreciate the beauty of this dry land.
Tomorrow the Odeion String Quartet and I will meet again at the opening concert of the St. Michael’s Music Festival. We will perform in the chapel of the school, which was the venue of various of my performances in high school. This coming week I will be adjudicating the junior piano category and so the circle is completed, but I will be on the opposite side than where I performed as a child.