It’s difficult to believe it’s been nearly an entire week since I went to one of the concerts of my life. Months ago I was tremendously excited when I bought tickets to see Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. And then I sort of forgot about it because the concert was months away. Then it crept up on me and my mother and I were off to the QPAC Concert Hall. I was a little bit excited because when I checked the seating plan against my tickets it looked like we might be in the FRONT ROW. Yes, that’s right the FRONT ROW. Who knew they began at GG? Wouldn’t you think that AA would be the front? But no. Anyway, lucky me and my obsessive buying of tickets one minute after they went on sale. The man himself was maybe two metres away from us. I could see every move, every bead of sweat, the virtuosic performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto played with not just arms and fingers but every fibre of his being. I could see his foot stamp on important off and on beats. I could see him sniff in his subtle direction of the orchestra. I was also excited because, silly me, I hadn’t realised that in directing the orchestra he would also play the Marriage of Figaro overture and then the Beethoven 4th Symphony in the second half. It was vital, energetic, and sonically beautiful playing. If I could make the sound of any modern violinist it would be Bell’s.
(The other highlight of the night was the musical snobberatis sitting next to . I eavesdropped on their conversation which was mainly boasting about the concerts they had been to, combined with how musically talented their distant relatives were. The payoff was when they bought their program at interval and I heard them say “Oh! That was the Marriage of Figaro Overture. I wondered what that was”. I’m ashamed to say I silently mocked them for not recognising what is a classical standard. Very naughty I know. Oh, and the women who combed the stage for Bell’s discarded bowhair were a little bit unusual as well.)