Off early this morning to Heathrow for a concert this evening with the trio in Berlin’s Konzerthaus. We used never to travel somewhere far away on the day of a concert, in case of delays. We’d had one or two nasty experiences which made us conclude that we must always go out on the day before our concert. However, as we’ve all become busier and our family lives more complicated, we’ve found it less easy to be so idealistic. And if we’re paying our hotel bills out of our concert fees, as we usually are, travelling out on the day before the concert means two nights of expense instead of one.
We’ve played three times this season in the Konzerthaus. These have been highlights of the year. During the time of Germany’s division into East and West, the Konzerthaus was beyond the Berlin Wall and inaccessible to Western musicians like us. Now it has been renovated and looks wonderful. The artists’ dark-panelled canteen backstage still seems ‘ancien régime’ but I rather liked that, and I liked the motherly server who advised me that the ‘dish of the day’ would be better value than the one I’d just asked for. I found it very touching to perform in this historic hall, and even more touching to encounter today’s young and extremely-switched-on Berlin audience who were cheering even before we’d reached the interval. I felt like scooping them up and taking them all in my suitcase back to London.