How about a nice masterclass with Alfred Brendel?
Four years after that, he moved to London to study at the Guildhall School in London, and it was there that he had his fateful meeting with Alfred Brendel. “We met at a master class, and then he invited me round to his house. Really, that was such an incredible experience. We spent five hours on Liszt’s Dante sonata, analysing every bar, and at the end of it I couldn’t play a note.”
But then, once Opera Chic found herself seated at la Scala a few seats away from Maestro Brendel and simply being near him in an opera house full of people was intimidating enough.
Also interesting: Lewis on Beethoven:
Like all deep passions, Lewis’s love of Beethoven has its ambiguous side. “Beethoven’s so bloody-minded, sometimes the music feels horrible under the hands. It’s as if he’s saying, 'I want to express this idea, and I don’t care about how awkward it is.’ ”
I ask him for an example. “Practically every bar of the Fourth Concerto, the one everybody thinks is so lyrical and gentle,” he says with a laugh. Does that include the very opening bars, where the pianist just plays a simple G major chord? “Yes, and it’s tempting to agonise over that chord, to make it seem hugely significant. The danger is you end up playing it too gently, as if you’re walking on eggshells. I think it has to be quite robust, to set you up for the unexpected harmony in the orchestra.”