Over the years, my recordings have often featured on BBC Radio 3’s Saturday morning programme, Record Review. They have a long-running feature called ‘Building a Library’, where each week a reviewer sifts through the available recordings of a classic piece and recommends their favourites. This is always interesting because it gives listeners the chance to hear snippets of lots of different performances. Often I don’t agree with the reviewer about ‘the winner’, but I often find a new favourite of my own amongst the snippets.
If one of my recordings is on the programme, I might happen to hear about it from someone who was listening in, but there have been many occasions when I didn’t even know a CD of mine had been discussed. One isn’t notified by the BBC of an upcoming programme, so it’s complete chance whether I get to know about it or not.
Which is why I was very surprised on 2 January to get back from a walk and find a batch of excited messages from people who had heard my name in Natasha Loges’s round-up of recordings of the Brahms Horn Trio, a delightful work in several movements for French horn, violin and piano. Steve Stirling, Anthony Marwood and I recorded it for Hyperion in 1998 as part of the Florestan Trio’s Brahms Trios set of discs. That was over twenty years ago, obviously; it’s a long time since anyone had mentioned this particular recording to me, so I was delighted to find that it had popped up again and been found to be pleasing.
Ours wasn’t Natasha Loges’s final choice for the no. 1 spot, but her kind remarks about my playing had caught the ear of surprisingly many people who felt the urge to write to me and tell me about them. Which I guess just shows that we are all stuck at home in lockdown, with time to listen to the radio on a Saturday morning. Even better, it seems that people have time (and the wish) to bother to get in touch with the musicians. How nice! A cheering way to start the year.
There are still eleven days left to listen to the broadcast if you’re interested.