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December 1   -   Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

Ivo Pogorelich: I’m sorry, I can’t play Happy Birthday

From an exclusive interview with Frances Wilson, who blogs as The Cross-Eyed Pianist: What is your most memorable concert experience? It actually took place after one of the very noisy successes. There was a reception and it turned out that the host, a very prominent and powerful person, had celebrated his birthday by participating in the organization of the event. The entire society of the city was in the concert hall and a good many very well known faces at the reception. There was also a piano in the room and all of a sudden someone pointed to the piano with an inviting gesture, where it became clear that I was expected to accompany the “Happy Birthday to you” tune. I was mortified as I realized that I had never played the tune. So I bravely stood up and said “I am sorry but I do not have this piece in my repertoire”. The host was elated as no one in the room could imagine that I actually did not know the music. Everyone thought that it was cute and witty and they all applauded again. The full interview, which is published here today, coincides with the exclusive release of Pogorelich’s recording of two Beethoven Piano Sonatas on the IDAGIO streaming platform.

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