Flushed with excitement as he left the Royal Festival Hall, local ear-user John Man was reportedly thrilled to have seen and heard the great pianist Ivo Pogorelich give one of his absolutely mental recitals.
“Some of that was off the charts crazy,” he said. “But you know, I’m OK with that.”
Several critics were less forgiving and panned the concert, saying that it was off the charts crazy and they were not OK with that. “I was expecting something unique,” said one critic, “but what I got was confronting and surprising. That upsets me.”
Man recalled that when he first entered the concert hall in a heightened state of anticipation, he quickly realised that Pogorelich was already on stage, dressed casually, warming up at the piano. “See that’s some crazy shit right there,” said Man. “Practising on stage before a concert like you just don’t care? I don’t even know what that is. Is it…legendary? It’s probably legendary, like some of that gimmicky crap Paganini got away with.”
Aunt Sally was also in the audience and found the concert intriguing. “I like it when a musician has the courage to walk up on that stage and play with a real set of balls,” she said. “If Schumann had been around to hear his half-hour Fantasie in C last for fifty minutes I’m sure even he would have been like, wow, that dude has a serious set of balls. You know, sometimes that’s all I want.”
Man said that Pogorelich played with such a fiercely independent approach that it was akin to hearing the music being completely recomposed by a uniquely individual artist operating on his own terms, heedless of conventional wisdom and tradition, reaping untapped creative potential from the score like a rogue Delphic oracle but without any of the incest or tragedy one might expect from a Delphic oracle, rogue or otherwise. “What he was doing hardly related to the score, that’s for sure,” he said. “But that was kind of awesome in its own way. I’d be willing to bet that the great pianists of the nineteenth century played a lot more like this than we might like to think. But, you know, I’m OK with that.”
Some critics furrowed their brows and spoke sternly. “I’m not,” said one. “I want the unique piano superstars of today to be extraordinary in the normal, regular way.”