Last night I was listening to Paul Lewis playing Haydn, Brahms & Beethoven, which formed the BBC Radio 3 evening concert on Tuesday May 5 (a re-run of a live broadcast from October 15, Royal Festival Hall).
Nothing remarkable in that you might be thinking, and you’d be right, save October 15 is significant for me, for with fifteen minutes to go before the relay I had a fall at home. Nothing broken, but I was a prisoner to the floor (my dodgy right hip prevented me getting up and probably caused me to be there in the first place) and the kitchen radio was tuned to the wrong station, so I missed Lewis’s recital. Many hours passed in the company of Radio 4 and the World Service.
That fall started a chain of events that soon found me in one hospital for observation then another for physiotherapy, then home for Christmas, all the while awaiting a date for hip-replacement surgery (I had seen the surgeon months earlier for a preliminary consultatiion), and occasionally wondering how Lewis’s recital went – when you are denied something looked forward to it tends to hang around in one’s consciousness.
Anyway a date finally arrived for the operation, and if the appointment got moved a couple of times, it did go ahead – and I still think it a god-given wonder that I was out of the surgery just in time to hear Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, of all great works, on Radio 3 live from the Barbican conducted by Donald Runnicles, March 4. Despite a portable radio and a low volume, It was inspiring.
That was in the days when we had concerts. The irony is this, that without the Covid-19 pandemic Radio 3 would not currently be trawling its archives in order to fill the concert brief of its schedules and Lewis’s recital would remain to me as Lost; as it is it’s now Found.
I have no comment to make on what I heard from Lewis (I wasn’t listening in order to write it up, but if I did it would be positive), more to say that it is ticked-off the list. Anyway, Alexander Hall reviewed Lewis’s evening for Classical Source, and Peter Reed covered the Missa: