My parents have departed after a rainy week in cold, cold London (all good weather always seems to vanish the minute they set foot in the country). Despite the brutal return to Autumn, we managed to squeeze in one of my favourite things: a concert in Wigmore Hall.
In the heart of quiet, staid Mayfair, Wigmore Hall never disappoints. From the minute you enter under the glass portico and spot the sea of white heads sporting suits and ties, you know some serious music will be played here. The intimate hall and great acoustics mean you never feel far from the performer, as if you're right on stage with them. Last week, we were lucky to see Bobby Chen, pianist extraordinaire.
We settled into our plush seats, perusing the cupola over the stage, and wondering just how old this Bobby Chen was. On the programme, he looked to be about fifteen. No sooner was the question out of our mouths than the couple in front of us turned around. He was thirty, they said, and we believed them: they had been his guardians when he first moved from Singapore to Surrey at age eleven. What followed was a conversation full of interesting tidbits about this child prodigy who had grown up to be every bit as successful as predicted. Apparently, after his guardians took him to Windsor Castle, Big Ben and the like, he asked them to 'stop taking him to interesting places' -- he just wanted to practice his piano.
And he was amazing. From Debussy to Prokofiev, he wooed the audience and we gave him a standing ovation in return. Meeting him with his guardians after the concert, he seemed humble and down-to-earth, slightly uneasy in the presence of so much admiration.
Once again, Wigmore Hall did not disappoint.