Panic in the Langham Barmain
I was having morning tea on Friday with Anne-Sofie von Otter and her accompanist Bengt Forsberg across the road from the BBC when Bengt’s mobile bleeped with a text and his face lost most of its colour. As soon as Anne-Sofie was out of earshot he said to me, ‘what do you do if you’re giving a recital in 24 hours and someone has left your music on a plane?’
The music was fairly rare – some songs by Erich Wolfgang Korngold – and a call to the original publisher’s London shop confirmed that it was not in stock.
Thinking cap to the ready, I gave Bengt a couple of names who might help, followed by a screed of antiquarians who might have a score in some bottom drawer. Then his phone bleeped again. A copy had been located in Kengsington Music Shop. All was well.
As we parted, the thought occurred: what if this had not been London but somewhere less diversely endowed with musical esoterica – Sydney, say, or Chicago, or Athens? What does an artist say and do when the music disappears?
All experiences and outcomes warmly received.