Last night was the first performance of my arrangement of Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Chamber Orchestra. It was a charity gala raising money for Leonard Cheshire Disability and was a lovely warm and Christmasy occasion. The gorgeous Katie Derham was compering, and in the midst of all the carols, we played the Schumann – it’s one of my favourite concert pieces to play with piano, and I wondered recently how it would sound with a string orchestra accompaniment, and it worked well. The only problem was that the parts were very hard, and being a gala show we didn’t get quite as much time as we needed, but the orchestra were great. I also did an improvised introduction to, and then played along with the London Philharmonic Choir’s beautiful rendition of Silent Night – they are such a good choir. The audience visibly got excited when they heard I was going to improvise and I’ve seen this before; as soon as the crowd know that you’re making it up, they sit up, I think simply because they know that something could go wrong! It becomes more knife edge, and I really like that atmosphere!
Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it is calculating.