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Playing before the hurricane at the Poisson Rouge

The Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt braved the elements last night to perform at New York’s coolest classical venue, which stayed open despite warnings from the Mayor. Here’s her account of it, exclusive to Slipped Disc:

The Fugue Before the Storm

(c) Angela Hewitt

A fantastic night at Le Poisson Rouge in New York. It was great to see a packed house, despite the authorities doing their best to make sure we all stayed at home. If this apocalyptic storm comes, at least we will go out having listened/performed both the Goldberg Variations and the Art of Fugue in the same evening!

Somebody has written on Twitter that I gave Hurricane Sandy a “Category Five bitchslap” by performing tonight.

The audience was so quiet—much quieter than at Carnegie Hall. Totally rapt. Only a few noises from the bar staff, and at one point (fortunately a loud one) the air conditioning went off with a whoosh, but was silenced in about 45 seconds. Many people couldn’t make it, but those who did were so happy, even if it meant walking miles to get home. Still no rain here. A bit windy yes, but doesn’t seem that bad to me.

Now I’m stuck. All flights cancelled to Canada out of LGA. Most flights to anywhere. The hotel says they can’t guarantee a room yet, but I’m sure people will cancel. All I need is a piano over the next few days to practise Messiaen’s Reveil des Oiseaux. Gerald Finley tells me the Met has cancelled Figaro tomorrow night. Driving home in a cab, New York was a total ghost town. I can’t even get a glass of wine in this hip hotel lobby. We have been furnished with a lightstick that will glow in the dark, candles and matches in case the power goes.

Right now all I need is some sleep.

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  1. Dr. Marc Villeger says:

    Bach’s Goldfish Variations perhaps…

  2. Stephen Carpenter says:

    Goldberg Variations and Art of Fugue on the same program followed by practicing Messiaen. Sandy never had a chance. Wished I could have been there- have lived with and appreciated the Art of Fugue most of my life. Travel safely when you can, Angela, and thank you for the “street level” report.

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