Yesterday evening's concert at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall was, as expected, a joy. And that was enhanced by the use by András Schiff of a reproduction of a Walter fortepiano built by Paul McNulty. McNulty, an American who lives in the Czech Republic, is the preeminent builder of these beautiful instruments. The last time I heard one of these instruments, in the flesh as it were, was in Warsaw two years ago played by Viviana Sofronitsky.
Schiff is a glorious musician, and to have him playing Mozart's concertos 9 and 24 with the OAE on a Walter in the comparatively intimate surroundings of the QEH is about as good as it gets. And he also conducted Papa Haydn's 98th symphony - and of course was able to demonstrate his keyboard skills again in those disarming moments in the finale when he sat down at the keyboard and played a little duet with the concertmaster - written by Haydn for himself and Saloman. It was an utterly charming moment.
I am looking forward tomorrow to seeing my friend and colleague David Agler, Artistic Director of the Wexford Festival, who is here in London for a few days from his home in British Columbia. He has auditions all day - we will have a relaxing dinner to catch up after his long day.