Beethoven for Breakfast

With a name like Beethoven for Breakfast, it stands to reason that this show won’t form the finale to a bacchanalian night’s boozing. It’s 9:30 a.m. in the Royal Over-Seas League building on Princes Street. A few patrons do seem a little unsteady on their feet, admittedly, but thankfully they have their sticks for support. Today, in place of toast and marmalade, we will be feasting on a discerning selection of Beethoven’s ouevre. Should this aural smorgasbord fail to satisfy, there’s always Rachmaninov after Lunch and Mozart at Teatime to look forward to.The first half of the performance - the toast and grapefruit juice section, if you will - is provided by pianist Jayson Gilham. Then, the full fry-up comes in the form of Rhodes Trio, imparting the soothing sounds of Piano Trio No 7 in B flat Op 97 via the triumvirate of piano, violin and cello. I may not have been breastfed Beethoven, but I do know that the Australian is an adroit pianist who’s capable of teasing the most delicate sounds out of the grand piano. I also know that much of the sound is unfortunately being absorbed into the low ceiling of the Princes Suite. Talented as Jayson Gilham is, I find my attention wandering. When I was obliged to attend church as a kid, I never could concentrate for any length of time. One thing I did enjoy at that age however was watching Tom & Jerry. It is from this cherished cartoon that most of my knowledge of classical music comes. It’s a beautiful thing, the Fringe. One night you’re witnessing the Marquis de Sade defiling sacred places; the next morning it’s Beethoven for Breakfast with the whole congregation. It’s strange to think that 200 years ago, while the Marquis de Sade was entering exits and redefining the concept of a lost weekend, Beethoven was experimenting with music in equally unorthodox ways. Apart from rumoured cases of syphilis however, the two had little in common.In spite of the redoubtable talents on display, I reach my fill long before the horsehair bows of Rhodes Trio have finished their merry dance across the strings. I join in enthusiastically with the applause however, for these internationally acclaimed musicians fully deserve such plaudits. Beethoven For Breakfast was a little too much for me to stomach, but if you like that kind of thing, it’s the perfect prelude to a square sausage roll with extra ketchup.

The Blurb

Twelfth sell-out series! Beethoven and contemporaries performed by international award-winning musicians including violinist Sadie Fields, Rhodes Piano Trio, Finzi and Lazarus String Quartets. Different artists and programmes each concert. Coffee and pastries included afterwards. www.roslarts.org.uk