Spontaneous standing ovation from the entire Barbican for what must be the most noble of Emperors from Murray Perahia .
Conducting the Academy of St Martins in the Fields it was immediately apparent from the opening flourishes that we were to share in a most masculine performance . The octaves were of a massively full sound that took everyone`s breath away including the orchestra .
The electric physical energy right from the outset was then maintained from the keyboard in the long tutti that follows.
Such clarity of intention and such sense of line created a tension in which every member of this very fine orchestra was swept up in.
Like some great wave ~swim or die~ such was this Emperor of Emperors.
Even the slow movement where immediately the inner parts in the opening tutti were of such a vibrant warmth that when the magical scales from the piano entered they seemed to float and hover in the air with a masculine almost orchestral authority.
So the change from the magic of the strings to the world of the wind was a totally logical sequence something I have never witnessed before.
This led so logically to the magical change into the Rondo where the added bass notes in one or two key points was so right ,for the Emperor was speaking and it literally took your breath away as indeed Rubinstein had done all those years ago.
The wonderful lyricism floating on this buoyant rhythm that had been created was quite hypnotic as were the sheer perfection of the jeux perle scales.
Percussion and pianist listening intently to each other at the end led to a final outburst played with an urgency and rhythmic clarity that had the entire audience on their feet cheering.
There was no choice the Emperor had spoken and had brought this remarkable cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos to an end.
Looking bewildered and embarrassed by what was after all a battle fought by the Emperor and his troups he was obviously touched and moved as we all were tonight.
A Beethoven recital from Murray Perahia on the 11thJune will obviously be the highlight of the season .
Tomo Keller leading the Academy in Beethoven`s First Symphony and soloist in the opening Romance n.2 in F gave some very fine performances totally eclipsed on this occasion by the monumental performance that they were commanded to play by our Emperor Murray Perahia.