A bloke, drawn apparently by curiosity, came up to me in the City Hall on Friday night and said this: "Are you the guy from The Herald? So can you tell me what the hell does The Tempest And The Harp mean?" I explained. He replied: "So why the poncey titles? Why not just tell us what's on?"
It's a point. Glasgow's concert halls have signed up pianist Llyr Williams and the Elias String Quartet to play, over the next three years, all 32 of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and all 16 (or 17, depending on how you count them) of the composer's String Quartets. It's a fantastic series, enhanced at the opening weekend by the great baritone Stephan Loges performing Beethoven's arrangements of Scots songs on Friday and some of his most popular art songs on Saturday.
The concerts have been given fancy titles. Only the initiated get the point. Be careful. Can I say that, initially, I found the programme hellish to navigate. And I was not alone. (Ask the lady organising the press tickets.) Keep it simple, Glasgow.
There were a few amazing performances at the opening weekend. Llyr Williams's challenging account on Saturday of the Waldstein Sonata was gobsmacking (the Welshman doesn't have a second-hand thought in his head.). And the Elias Quartet's account of the second opus 59 String Quartet was absolutely gripping. But, and I will come back to this one day, their version of the immaculate Harp Quartet on Friday was ludicrously fast, harassing all sense and Beethoven's own pristine articulation out of it. The music is not about speed.