Saturday, 4 June 2016

Then he did double octaves (Paul Lewis/LIMF)

Schubert, Brahms, Liszt (Paul Lewis, Summer Piano Recital)

The week began with huge forces: Oedipe, then slightly smaller for Don Giovanni, and slightly smaller for Gluck. It seems fitting that it ended with one chap and a piano. However the chap in question was Paul Lewis, and he seemed to hit enough notes for a small orchestra. A treat to hear Lewis by himself, rather than accompanying a singer (eg Padmore) which tends to distract attention.
Firstly, Schubert Sonata no 9 was crisp, technically-perfect and had a soaring lyrical quality. Brahms Ballades which followed were more lyrical still, but at times perfectly terrifying. After the interval yet more Brahms: this time the three intermezzi, which were poignant, sorrowful, laments. All was obliterated in the mind by the scorching, blazing intensity of Liszt's Dante Sonata, which saw Lewis playing like a daemon; double octaves completed with no allowance in the timing. Yet Lewis did it masterfully. He might be Loge such was the ease with which he summoned up these musical flames.

Quite astonishingly, an encore followed. 'Something easier' Lewis quipped. Probably almost anything would qualify. A quiet, gentle, short piece. So small it didn't have a name. But it calmed things down beautifully. 

Overall: piano-playing of the first order.

Schubert: Sonata for Piano no.9 in B major D575 (1817)
Brahms: Four Ballades op.10
Brahms: Three Intermezzi op. 117
Liszt: Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata
Encore: Liszt late piano piece without name

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