He’s so immersed in his musicianship that I always want to stop and immerse myself too
When I was around 25, I heard a recording of Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor and Mozart’s Andante and Variations K501, performed by pianists Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. I thought it the most amazing music I’d heard. Several years later, after I’d joined the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, we had a concert with Radu and I asked him which of them played the upper and lower parts, as I couldn’t tell. He said they’d switched — he’d played the upper part on the Schubert and the lower for the Mozart. But they were so in tune with each other that it was impossible to distinguish them — both are musicians of the deepest integrity and neither plays a note for the sake of flamboyance.
Radu is a very generous, inclusive player. When we were practising for a Beethoven cycle he’d sit in on our symphony rehearsals, playing the piano alongside us — he was there as the soloist for a concerto but he had the whole symphony in his head too. Listening to him I have the sense that every note he plays is in the right place, with the right depth, and that he’s so immersed in his musicianship that I always want to stop and immerse myself too.
Susan Dorey is principal cellist of the City of London Sinfonia, which gives the world premiere of Valgeir Sigurðsson’s No Nights Dark Enough on 17 June as part of the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, UK