This evening I had the privilege to watch the renowned pianist Stephen Hough perform at Royal Festival Hall. The performance was magnificent – a beautiful balance between the melancholic serenity of Debussy and vitality of Beethoven.
With my discounted student ticket, I was not placed far in the back as I initially expected, but right on the stage, almost directly behind the pianist.
The perks of sitting on the stage, were not just the ability to watch Hough’s hands float across the immaculately white keys, but to observe the reactions of the sold out auditorium.
While fixated on the superb rendition of Beethoven’s masterpiece, Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor (more commonly known as ‘Appassionata’), I peered out at the sold out audience, gazing at the awe, mesmerization and utter silence.
When Hough dramatically declared the final note, after relinquishing such intense energy and emotion, the audience maintained the silence for a couple long seconds, and then uniformly broke into a passionate applause.
Hough ended up coming out not just for one, but two encores. A rare phenomenon in the realm of classical music.
The ability to come together and transcend the banalities of everyday life, overcoming constructed fears and desires, and enjoy, even if only for a couple minutes, a display of masterfully expressed cardinal human emotions – gives me hope for the future of humanity.