With the sun shining through the glorious windows the atmosphere was magical. The well-planned programme did not disappoint.
The pianist, Elisabeth Brauss, can, at the age of just 26, call on 22 years of experience. In addition to winning many prestigious competitions, Elisabeth is also in demand as soloist with many of the great orchestras of Europe.
The opening work was a piano sonata by Mozart KV 310. After a slightly nervous, rushed start, the pianist soon settled into a controlled impressive performance which brought out the beauty of Mozart’s writing, melancholy in the first movement yet operatic in the Andante Cantabile second movement. And here the pianist really made her instrument sing.
Before the interval we heard works by Ravel and Prokofiev; both offered moments of virtuosic fireworks, puckish humour and lyrical passages which were delivered with crisp, tightly controlled pianism.
The second half brought together compositions by Brahms and Schumann – two men whose lives were often intertwined.
Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was the Brahms Four Pieces for Piano, Op 119. Written towards the end of his life, these are exquisite pieces exemplifying the many moods which we find in the great symphonic works of this creative genius.
Brahms himself said each note should sound as if one wanted to suck melancholy out of each and every one. Elisabeth Brauss did exactly that, making every carefully articulated note linger as though reluctant to leave us.
It was a mature performance fully attuned to the personal, emotional heart of the music. The concluding “Carnival Jest from Vienna” by Schumann brought this fine recital to a triumphal ending, leaving us in no doubt that this exciting young musician has a dazzling career ahead of her.
The standing ovation was rewarded with a sparkling encore of a Chopin waltz.
Review by Andrew Petch