The importance of beauty

I don't get to concerts much these days...

Huw Williams | 18:14, Wednesday 30 April 2014 | Turin, Italy 

It was a last minute tip-off. Maria João Pires was playing in Torino on Friday evening, and there were still tickets available.

If you don’t know your pianists, when it comes to certain repertoire, and in my very humble opinion, there are pianists, very good pianists, world class pianists, a bit of a gap and then there is Maria João Pires. And the programme included Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto. Simply put, if I could choose to hear anyone in the whole world play that piece of music live, I would choose to hear Maria João Pires, without a second’s hesitation.

This is the next ten Christmases in one go on a Friday evening in April.

You get the picture, this is Christmas come early in Torino. This is the next ten Christmases in one go on a Friday evening in April.

I know sometimes when one gets to hear one’s heroes they are disappointing. Some are overhyped, some sound a lot better on record than they do in real life, and who of us doesn’t have a bad day once in a while? But this was not one of those occasions, this was startling, breathtaking. It brought tears to the eyes. I’ve taken part in quite a few performances of this piece – I think I still have the score more or less memorised – so I didn’t think this music could surprise me any more.

How wrong I was. I could try and put into words why it was such an incredible performance, but I’d be wasting our time, because some things simply have to be heard to be believed.

C.S. Lewis was a big believer in this

It was a timely reminder to me of the importance of beauty. C.S. Lewis was a big believer in this; when we are surprised in this way by beauty (or joy as he often liked to call it) we are invited to “look along” the ray of light which has just shone onto us, to see its source, to see the author of that beauty, who by nature can only be more beautiful still.

Document Actions