Last week I drove west across Scotland to visit friends in Argyllshire. My route from St Andrews was A915 – A911 – A91 – A811– A814 – A83 – A819 – A85. The return route from Oban was primarily along the A85.
After stopping for a light breakfast picnic at approximately 9.30 a.m. on the shore of Loch Long just south of Arrochar I felt an inclination for some music. The choice was Keith Jarrett’s ‘Koln Concert’. Released on St Andrew’s Day, 30th November 1975, quite a momentous month. It was 1980 before I heard the performance for the first time. In 1982 I received a vinyl copy as a 21st birthday gift.
The first of four photographs while the music played. This is looking back down Glen Croe from a point that you can see on the map named ‘rest and be thankful‘. In the photograph you can see 2 editions of the A83. The current version which I had just used, can be seen quite clearly on the hillside, the original single track is on the valley floor.
A few miles further at the foot of ‘Beinn Ime‘ the highest peak in the Arrochar Alps. Didn’t quite catch the most dramatic moment. As you can imagine the cloud patterns were changing rapidly.
Looking south from the north end of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch or fjord, which runs in a mostly southerly direction for 40 miles to the Sound of Bute.
Same position as the previous photo but now looking east attempting to catch that brief glimpse of blue sky before it disappeared again.
That same evening I decided to do a little research into Keith Jarrett. If you opened the link earlier in the article you’ll have noticed that he suffered a stroke in 2018 that has left him partially paralysed, unable to play the piano. Such a sad discovery.
The next interesting information was the, what you might call, fiasco, on the day leading up to the concert. Fortunately for himself and us all Keith marvellously retrieved the situation and the ‘Koln Concert‘ is now one of the great musical performances.
It was originally my intention to post a link where it would be possible to listen to the Koln Concert free. This seems to be impossible unless you are prepared to accept one of several, in my opinion, substandard cover versions, by no doubt well-intentioned aspiring pianists. I suspect any discerning ear will detect immediately that these aspirants do not possess the ability of Keith Jarrett.
Of course you can listen to the original by subscribing to any of the major music channels. If you haven’t experienced this virtuoso performance, I recommend you do so.
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