Lockdown Knitting Concert

Robert Bridge - livestream piano recital including Beethoven, Ravel and Schumann

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We live in unusual times. The immediate dazzling shock and disbelief of lockdown has gradually subsided into dazed bewilderment and dismay about an uncertain future landscape. So many questions; few if any clear answers. This will obviously affect each of us in different ways - socially, financially and also in many simple and unseen ways, impinging on the things we take for granted and which enrich our lives.

For musicians, as for all performing artists, this has obviously been catastrophic, signalling an abrupt end to music-making of any sort - not just the more prestigious public performances but smaller-scale events, amateur groups and even informal private rehearsals. And of course the Knitting Concerts are not immune - although Robert Bridge would like to think that a few determined tricoteurs could put any virus through its paces.

So, how to proceed. Well the prompt for this was that Robert Bridge had announced a putative date at the beginning of March for a mouth-watering concert this May when a clutch of very gifted cellists headed up by Leo Melvin would be working their way through Bach's Viola da Gamba sonatas. As the date has neared Robert wondered what they could do. Clearly a live concert in front of a live audience was not on the cards. But then even a live video event was problematic with no imminent likelihood of getting access to All Saints to stream the concert from and more pressingly just too many logistical difficulties facing the musicians who needed to get together to rehearse. For all the wonderful technological aids available, and which many of us are learning about with indecent haste, there is still no clear platform for musicians to rehearse together online without laughable and unworkable time lags. So, regrettably, it seems sensible to put that particular programme on hold, hopefully for not too long, either until it is comfortable for them to get together and give a virtual performance or even invite a live audience.

And so Robert thught he could, at this point, simply announce that the Knitting Concerts had gone into furlough. But the history of these concerts has always been wedded to the notion of accessibility and so if you can't come to the music, he felt the music should come to you. So he is proposing to livestream a piano recital on Sunday May 17th at 6pm.

Robert commented: "This is an audacious gamble. I have yet to master the technology, find a decent microphone, persuade my piano tuner through my doors and figure out how to keep the dog quiet, let alone the rest of the family. And my hair is a mess. It is quite possible that my playing will sound even more garbled and incoherent than it does at the best of the times. But I think it's worth a go.

"I'd like to play you some Beethoven (the Andante Favori), some Ravel (his Jeux D'Eau) and quite a bit of Schumann (the whole of Carnaval), probably about 45 minutes of music plus a bit of customary chat and banter. You will get no cups of tea. It will be difficult to replicate the buttock-numbing effect of the All Saints' pews. But if you really enjoy the music you will have the chance to donate a few pennies to one of the UK organisations that support the food banks that have become an ever more pressing need in this new world of ours."

If you'd like to listen you need to send Robert an email. In return he will send you some instructions: "I promise to make the technology as simple and bulletproof as I possibly can. If it all goes badly wrong we can have a laugh and try again but if it goes well I promise to play my very best. These are strange times and we all need to do what we can."

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May 8, 2020

 

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