As good as it gets

We have been to some excellent local concerts over the last few months which I haven’t mentioned here (from the likes of Igor Levit, Rachel Podger and the English Concert, Cuarteto Casals, and a particularly on-form Academy of Ancient Music with Frank de Bruine). But for my birthday we went up to the Wigmore Hall for a performance of Die schöne Müllerin (yes, quite the cheery choice …). The singer was the young Dutch baritone Hank Neven, his accompanist the truly great Schubert pianist Imogen Cooper. This was an extraordinary performance, one of the most moving concerts we have been to for years, with Neven absolutely compelling and Cooper’s playing magical. The audience was completely rapt; at the end many quiet tears around us needed wiping away … with, as they took their bows, the players too evidently moved by the occasion. This truly was Schubert singing as good as it gets.

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