Murray Perahia: Classical Music Extraordinaire Live in Manchester

Murray Perahia - Live in Manchester
The poster outside the Bridgewater Hall. Innit.

Piano legend Murray Perahia took to the stage last night in Manchester at the Bridgewater Hall, didn’t say a word, and yet still managed to leave a lot of people clapping like seals. That, dear readers, is called skill. Aiiiiiiiiiie!

He had his piano there to help him achieve this, of course, and he also had the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, and Mozart to help him along. Although we got positioned in the audience next to this foul smelling older gentleman, this was an occasion to celebrate. So we will. Behold: huzzah!

Murray Perahia Live in Manchester

Things got rolling with a piece we’d bever heard before (classical music being a vast genre with plenty to listen to – Mozart wrote 600 compositions alone) – Haydn’s Variations in F minor, Hob (cooking hob?) XVII:6. Catchy title, huh? You can listen to it above – glorious, eh?

This was followed up by Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A minor, K310, and Braham’s Four Piano Pieces, Op.119 in the lively first half of the performance which, remarkably, somehow didn’t feature anyone’s mobile phone going off or sporadic pauses so Perahia could take a Selfie.

Beethoven rounded things out after the interval with Piano No.29 in B flat major (thank GOD it wasn’t in B flat minor!), Op.106, “Hammerklavier”. Perahia’s been a concert level pianist for 40 years (he turns 70 next April) and plays all of these complex pieces from memory. This is, you know, pretty impressive – like being able to clap with only one arm (you smack your hand into your face).

A Night at the Piano

Perahia’s famous for his utmost commitment to his art. Indeed, being in the audience it felt like we were disturbing him whilst he was practicing… or something. Regardless, he didn’t kick us out and we got the full range of Perahiaisms – occasional flamboyance with his hands and funny facial expressions.

We’re not sure if other pianists do this, but he had a habit of walking on and off stage at the end of playing during which we had to clap repeatedly, only for him to come back on, leave again, then return and begin playing. All the time we had to keep clapping. Like… WTF, dude? Calm your hyperactivity, Perahia, and just play the damn piano!

Seriously, though, this man’s one talented individual and he wowed us with his abilities. The reality is, the audience were there to watch him reel off his seemingly effortless brilliance whilst the rest of us are inept fools who could only gawp in wonder. Good going, man.

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