25 March 2015

The musician's bane

Injuries are disasters for musicians - unexpected and one-off or repetitive strains. Either way, they are dreaded, they prevent practice and degrade performances and mar the job or the pleasurable pursuit. I was mightily impressed by Gilbert De Greeve's performance at the Belgian Embassy but I could tell something was wrong. In the end, he had to excuse himself from the last tune, a Chopin waltz, due to a finger injury he'd had in the last day or so. Gilbert is an emeritus professor, once Director of the State Music Academy in Antwerp, an honorary professor of other conservatories. He travels the world presenting concerts and workshops and lectures. He's a highly trained musician and a very nice guy to boot, so it was with some sadness that he was inflicted for this concert. He played Mozart, Brahms, a series of Chopin waltzes and works from two Belgian composers, Benoit and Mortelmans. He was most happy with the Brahms that was more gentle, less demanding of finger pyrotechnics and strength. He was most concerned with the Chopin, coming last, loud and lively and gymnastic, to the extent that he had to apologise and drop the final item on the program. An unfortunate end to a concert that was otherwise firm and powerful and insightful and played fully from memory. I can only hope to catch Gilbert sometime in the future. It was his seventh trip to Australia, so with any luck, I will.

Gilbert De Greeve (piano) played Mozart, Brahms, Benoit, Mortelmans and Chopin at the Belgian Embassy.

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