Renowned Portuguese pianist Mario Joao Pires realized the Mozart concerto she’d prepared was completely different from the one the Amsterdam Concertgebouw was playing. But her recovery after the initial shock is astonishing.
She was forced to face the music.
A Portuguese pianist was challenged to make music from memories after an orchestra in Amsterdam started playing the wrong Mozart concerto.
Maria João Pires looked dumbfounded and more than a little annoyed when a Royal Concertgebouw orchestra started playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466.
She facepalms then tells conductor Riccardo Chailly that this wasn’t the piece she prepared. She’d left the other sheet music at home.
But the pianist would get no love from this conductor.
“You played it last season,” Chailly says calmly, while he keeps his orchestra going.
Pires had no choice but to reach back into her memory and give it a try. The audience members start whispering to each other while the pianist calculates her next move.
“I’ll do what I can do if I can remember,” Chailly remembers the pianist saying.
When the orchestra pauses, Peres gingerly tries out the first few notes. Her fingers did the rest.
The YouTube video of Peres’ performance might be a few years old, but it’s still evidence of the pianist’s talents.
According to the Telegraph’s Stephen Hough, the video appears to be a taped dress rehearsal. And Peres was reportedly well acquainted with the piece.
Peres started publicly playing Mozart’s pieces when she was just seven years old, according to Deutschegrammophon. She’s brought her expertise to many of the world’s most famous orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the Paris Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic.
She’s certainly earned the respect of her conductor at the Royal Concertgebouw.
“The miracle is that she has such a memory that she could within switch to a new concerto without making a mistake,” Chailly said.