…Charms to soothe the Savage Breast

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder’s performance of the Beethoven sonatas ended on 26 August at the Playfair Library Hall in the University of Edinburgh’s Old College. He played brilliantly, to a rapt audience.

The physically and mentally exhausting performance by this brilliant pianist combined technical expertise and feeling, fun as well as drama and sudden changes of pace.  We were entranced and entertained in equal measure by the sonata in E major, opus 109, the sonata in A flat major Opus 110 and finally the sonata in C major opus 111. 

Many people, including myself, believed William Shakespeare wrote the lines ‘Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.’ Because I was not absolutely certain of the provenance I checked and in fact, poet William Congreve penned those words of comfort in 1697. How true, and beautifully exemplified by this recital.

Beethoven, in the Romantic imagination, wrote his last piano sonatas as well as string quartets for himself and posterity, in ivory tower isolation from the world. More prosaically, we are told they were composed for a friend, publisher or patron… If, like me, readers are of a musically romantic disposition, the former is my preferred explanation.

Perhaps because my own father, Ludwig Christian Saam, was a talented pianist I have always enjoyed piano music, listening and playing, (though not to the high standard of both my father  and Buchbinder!) and I have always admired Beethoven as a composer – and for his courage and persistence when many would have given up. If nothing else I feel now inspired to buy a new piano! I hope others will do the same before the physical art of learning and playing without electronic assistance is lost for ever, although whatever suits the individual best is his/her choice!


Published by

Christine Richard OBE FRSA

http://www.lothianlife.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Christine.jpg Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *