Earlier this week I took a trip to Henry Wood Hall in London to hear Jack Liebeck recording Ysaye sonatas for Orchid Classics.
I was only there for an hour, but hearing fractured sequences of a vaguely familiar piece created a moment that seemed to go on for ever.
The live audience experience is right now something of a distant memory. The crisp bright sound of skin on skin underpinned with the deep gentle roar of appreciation is an unreachable recollection.
The substitute is hearing live sound – human-powered unamplified sound ricocheting around a space, witnessed by a handful of people.
There were six of us – students of Liebeck, a PR person, and me – in Henry Wood Hall, plus the videographer and the musician. It was as though we were watching a scientific experiment: the very beginning of sound. The lone musician focussing on his craft, exposing not only the complexity of the music, nor its beauty, but the miracle of it.
There was power, grit, defiance and determination in that sound. An instrument compensating for an orchestra that can’t convene. One musician against the world. Stirring. Uplifting. Determined.
Liebeck’s recordings of solo music for violin by Ysaye is scheduled for release by Orchid Classics in 2021.