After celebrating Christ the King and the end of the Church’s liturgical year I was fortunate again to be able to travel into Birmingham on Sunday afternoon for an excellent 3.00 pm concert. A packed house enjoyed the chamber orchestra of Europe play some Stravinsky. But the highlight of the concert was two extraordinary pieces of Mozart played and directed by Mitsuko Uchida. We were enthralled by two piano concertos (No. 23 in A major) and (No. 24 in C minor).
The power, passion and intelligence with which Uchida directed the orchestra then produced almost unbelievable feeling from the piano were really breathtaking. It was also really great to see the orchestra enjoying the music so much and down to the last man and woman dressed impeccably in their white tie and black dresses.
Unless you have a very good memory – or more likely know much more about music than I do – you might need reminding about these two piano concertos. The slow movement to the first piano concerto (No.24) is perhaps one of Mozart’s most recognisable. It has an amazing ability to combine tragic feeling with dramatic strife. It touches the soul as Mozart builds on each note to reach an emotional peak. There is something haunting and sad and poignant about it which gives it a sacred power.
What a genius and what music. What a gift and how wonderful that the human race has such spirit and intelligence to continue to open up this powerful world for the nourishment for those who participate and listen.