Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Jesus Christ Superstar

My daughter loves Jesus Christ Superstar but not as much as I do. I've been listening to it since the original LP came out and know it backwards. I've also been very impressed with Tim Minchin as a musician so when I saw there was a touring version coming to Cardiff I bought my daughter some tickets for her birthday. It was stupendous. How the Guardian reviewer could give it only one star out of five I'll never know. It was spectacular visually, thoughtful about the nature of power and the singing was top notch, notably from Tim Minchin, Mel C of the Spice Girls and the newcomer Ben Forster. Tim was notably intense as Judas and Mel C gave a moving account of I Don't Know How to Love Him although the second half song Could We Start Again Please didn't seem to me to lie very comfortably for her voice - a great Andrew Lloyd-Webber melody, that one. I was moved from the very beginning, though because when the musicians began the Overture, it was clear the band was phenomenally tight. Every time I hear really good musicians I'm reminded of the thousands of hours of practice that go into a seemingly effortless performance. On the way to Cardiff we were listening to Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldberg Variations with its astounding keyboard fireworks. On the way back, it was Dinu Lipatti playing some Bach chorale preludes including Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. There are no Roman candles in that playing but there are some breathtaking moments of controlled playing as Lipatti brings out several voices at the same time at different dynamics. It's the same story. Whether you are in the band for Superstar or putting your gifts at the service of Bach (does Glenn Gould really do that?) it takes years of dedication to get where you need to be. Don't forget that FREE TRIAL LESSON. I can't guarantee you a place in the Jesus Christ Superstar band but, hey, we can set out in that direction!

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