an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Does Ma’am love Brahms?

Checking out the Condoleeza Rice Brahms recital clip at Buckingham Palace, one had to cast the mind back an awful long time to fathom when a serving officer of the US government last performed a piece of music before a reigning British monarch.

I guess President Truman, a decent piano player, might have done had he ever been given the royal command, but other than Harry – and his daughter, Margaret, who played professionally (but not very capably) before taking to writing crime fiction - I can’t think of any Washington insider who could have given as good account of themselves in music as Condi did this week.

So let’s hear it one last time for Ms Rice, and let’s remember that whatever her successor achieves at the State Department, there is no way Hillary is going to beat this feat.

What did Her Maj make of it? Impossible to tell. But the little bit of the Brahms quintet that has been released for public viewing is stiff and over-cautious, perhaps because Condi is glued to the page and making no eye contact with the string quartet, comprising London Symphony Orchestra members, led by Luise Shackleton, who is married to the British Foreign Secretary, David Milliband.

As a diplomatic event, it was in a class of its own. As a musical experience, a little more rehearsal might have helped. With time on her hands after January 09, Condi would certainly be welcome on the chamber circuit. Next stop, Wigmore Hall? 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. In 1986, who should sit down with his family next to my table at the old Trader Vic’s in New York, but President Richard Nixon. We talked a bit about music, and he shared that he played the Brahms Rhapsody in g minor and other works. He’d often practive at the White House, he shared. He asked me to send my recordings to him–which I did. Besides Harry Truman, there was another pianist President–was it Teddy Roosevelt?

  2. I was interested to see the depiction of Ms Rice in the recent film ‘W’. Stone seemed to think her an earnest teacher’s favourite. I find this hard not to see like a neo-Austenian demonstration of accomplishment, mixed with a little of Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ satisfaction? What did Mrs. Grose say to Miles as he practiced lopsided scales?
    “O what a clever boy; why,
    he must have practised very hard.”
    Austen’s Mr. Bennet might well exalt Mr Rice to let the other musicians have a chance to display.

  3. I was interested to see the depiction of Ms Rice in the recent film ‘W’. Stone seemed to think her an earnest teacher’s favourite. I find this recent performance hard not to see like a neo-Austenian demonstration of accomplishment, mixed with a little of Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ satisfaction. What did Mrs. Grose say to Miles as he practiced lopsided scales?
    “O what a clever boy; why, he must have practised very hard.”
    Mr. Bennet might well exalt Ms Rice to let the other musicians have a chance to display.

  4. Marc Overton says:

    I think the writer must have meant “sang professionally” for Margaret Truman, rather than “played.” It was Ms. Truman’s less-than-capable Constitution Hall recital – and Washington Post critic Paul Hume’s less-than-laudatory review of it, that aroused the President to threaten Mr. Hume with damage in tender places.

  5. dirk sutro says:

    Richard Nixon, pretty decent pianist –performing his own piano concerto on the Jack Paar Show.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCsGSMze_6Q
    NL to Dirk: Good point, thanks

an ArtsJournal blog