Charlotte Bonneton & Karim Said, St John’s Smith Square, 29 September 2011

Late in life, mum formed an unlikely friendship with the young, extremely talented pianist, Karim Said. I can’t remember exactly how it came about.

I know I recorded some BBC4 programmes about young musicians, which mum loved and watched over and over. Karim was one of those featured artists.

I think mum then watched those programmes with Angela Broad and I’m pretty sure Angela knew Karim, perhaps because he was one of the Tabors’ sponsored artistes…so the rest is history…

Mum, Angela, Janie and Me

…anyway, mum and Angela had been to see and had met Karim before this gig. Mum and Karim had also had some exchange of correspondence, I seem to recall.

A very young Karim, I think from mum’s earlier outing with Angela to see him

Mum the groupie. I don’t suppose artistes at Karim’s stage have that many groupies either.

Anyway, when this concert came up, it was most fortuitously located and timed for me; lunchtime at St John’s Smith Square. As a friend of the venue, I get a fist-full of free passes for those lunchtime concerts. I was also able to organise my work around a visit to Church House that morning, which was maximally convenient.

Here’s the order of play:

Charlotte Bonneton And Karim Said at St John’s Smith Square. The violinist and pianist perform Beethoven’s Sonata For Violin And Piano No 3, Boulez’s 12 Notations For Solo Piano and Faure’s Violin Sonata No 1 In A.

My taste in music did not/does not always coincide with mum’s and Angela’s, but on this occasion we were as one. We all enjoyed the Beethoven and the Fauré; we none of us liked the Boulez, which seemed in any case to make poor Karim’s fingers bleed.

“I’m going to tell him if no-one else will…” said Angela afterwards, in the matter of the commercial sense (or lack thereof) in Karim pursuing the work of composers like Boulez.

No matter.

Mum had a cracking good time. Karim was extremely pleasant and attentive after the concert. He even introduced us to his fellow musician, Charlotte, making mum ever so pleased by describing mum as his friend.

Curious about Karim? Here is a link to his website…

…and here he is performing something that is to my taste – click here or below:

My City by Stephen Poliakoff, Almeida Theatre, 24 September 2011

Janie and I are partial to a bit of Poliakoff on the stage, which is all too rare these days, so we were had been very much looking forward to this one.

Super cast too – and at the Almeida.

Here is a link to the Almeida resource on this production.

Tracey Ullman has tremendous stage presence. The conceit of the play – an old primary schoolteacher wandering around London telling stories about the place – sounds great.

Yet, in truth, this play was not quite top drawer Poliakoff in our eyes. It was revisiting many of his themes and styles, but perhaps without hitting the heights that earlier works hit. Perhaps it is the familiarity that detracts from the sense of excitement.

We had a very enjoyable evening at the theatre, but concluded that Poliakoff is probably, now, doing his best work for TV rather than for stage.

I think the reviews pretty much concurred with our views. Here is a link to a search term that should find most if not all of those reviews.



Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, Wigmore Hall, 16 September 2011

At a very geeky level this is an exciting Wigmore Hall concert, because this was our first concert of the 2011-2012 season, which was the first season that Wigmore Hall archived fully on-line.

So here is a link to the on-line archive page for this concert.

In truth, Brad Mehldau concerts tend to be a bit geeky anyway. The fellow has so many influences and blends so many styles in with his jazz piano, the concert is almost like a music quiz.

Back then, I was less fascinated by the mandolin than I am now at the time of writing (January 2018)…

…but I have long been intrigued by the instrument and it was very interesting to hear it used as a jazz pairing with Brad’s inimitable jazz piano style.

I think technically Brad was no longer the curator of the Wigmore Hall jazz seasons by the time this concert came around, although it might have been, technically, the tail end of his 2010/2011 commitment to the venue.

I seem to recall that I enjoyed this concert more than Janie did…

…I also seem to recall that we both felt that we had “done” Brad Mehldau now, this being the third of his we had been to, unless the concert works or partner musicians were the main attraction for us…

…but I relented four years later for the sake of Bach, much to our chagrin- click here or below:

Brad Mehldau, Wigmore Hall, 17 December 2015

But I slightly digress. This Thile/Mehldau concert in September 2011 was a goodie in my book.