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Christian Blackshaw Piano Recital

RNCM Concert Hall, 23 October 2012

Few concerts have given me as much pleasure.

And, really, what Christian Blackshaw does verges on the miraculous. He played four Mozart sonatas here, together with the Fantasie in C minor, and he played all without sight of a score. His playing was precise and exact, there were absolutely no worries on that score, yet there was great feeling and an austere flair present too. If the composer himself had played these pieces it could hardly have been better.

This gives a clue to what Blackshaw is actually about, and why his work is so valuable: he is keeping Mozart’s music alive, night after night, with vital recitals such as these. I thought, curiously enough, of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel, where a group of rebels and freethinkers keep literature alive (books are being burnt) by memorising and reciting great works. Among their number are a pair of twins: War and Peace, volumes one and two. The task Christian Blackshaw has set himself is infinitely more complex, cognitively and artistically, but he is with this heroic band in spirit.

A wonderful evening.