Monday, 17 December 2007

Trip to Birmingham: Grieg's Piano Concerto

At last the time had come to go to Birmingham for the long awaited concert.

We left Al and Dennis fitting the new utility room on Saturday and travelled up to Birmingham. It took us about 2.5 hours and we were very glad that we borrowed Dan's Tom Tom as it took us right to the car park in the middle of the city centre!

We had allowed plenty of time in case of delays of which there were none so we had about two and half hours to kill. We were really lucky that it was the big Christmas craft street market so we wandered around and bought a couple of presents. It was a lovely atmosphere with a big carol concert and a street ice rink. We didn't have a camera with us so I took a few photos on my phone to capture the atmosphere.

After we'd wandered round the market we went to find something to eat and had a lovely pizza. Then it was time to go to the Symphony Hall for the concert. As we walked to the hall, cars were streaming into the car parks so we were really glad that we'd got there early and found a space so easily.

The hall is very impressive and I was very excited when we took our seats. I was a bit like a child actually and couldn't stop fidgeting. We had fantastic seats right in the middle of the upper circle so the view and the sound were both amazing.

The Birmingham Symphony Hall (view from my seat)

The concert started with Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite which was really lovely. I hadn't heard it played live since a school trip to see the ballet in London.

Then the piece that I was waiting for: Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor. The grand piano was wheeled centre stage and on came the man himself, Leif Ove Andsnes one of the finest players of his generation. His technique and musicianship are quite stunning. He isn't a showman as so many virtuoso soloists can and indeed love to be, instead he serves the music and the result is just wonderful; certainly to my ears.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, this was an amazing opportunity for me to hear my favourite piece of music played by my all time favourite pianist. I had goosebumps when the piece started and was amazed at how emotional I felt. The whole concerto is 30 minutes but it seemed more like 3 minutes. It was truly wonderful and I am so happy to have had the experience. The concert wound up with Elgar's Enigma Variations which was very stirring. A fantastic evening and one which I would love to repeat!

The journey home was good, just under 2.5 hours. We got back around midnight and the dogs were pleased to see us. They had a long walk first thing in the morning and then had Al and Dennis for company all afternoon until Dan and Mac picked them all up and took them back to their place for the evening. They dropped them back home around 10.30 pm. We learned that the wicked little Kizzle was rather over the top at Mac's; making a lot of noise and rabbit running round their sitting room. They put up with it until about 9.30 pm but then it was pod time!


  1. I have no idea what you are talking about with all this music stuff; but it is so special to be able to listen to your favorite music in person! And you got to a christmas market! What a perfect night!

  2. So glad that you enjoyed your concert, it is so nice to do something totally different from dogs ! for a change, that you feel so passionate about x

  3. Sounds like you had a really lovely day out and what way to get in the Christmas spirit.

  4. Sounds like a fantastic evening!

  5. Wot cracking seats - bet the acoustics where good too.

  6. What a wonderful experience! The closest I have ever come to that kind of goosebumpy sensation with classical 'stuff' (you are such a heathen Bernadette!) was buying a ticket to see The Nutcracker ballet in Oxford over twenty years ago when I was a student. I just wanted to see a ballet being done well LIVE (needless to sya I had to go on my own as none of my student friends were remotely interested!) but to my and everyone else's amazement Rudolph Nereyev made a surprise guest appearnace as the starring role for that night only. Can you imagine...!!!The whole place erupted when they made the announcement.I can still see him on that stage and everyone watching in awe. Incredible. Enjoy the memories