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Total concentration from pianist

PUBLISHED: 10:26 05 February 2001 | UPDATED: 15:03 22 October 2010

Piers Lane @ the Assembly House, Norwich. By Christopher Smith.

Piers Lane @ the Assembly House, Norwich

By Christopher Smith

To commemorate the work of Paul Cross, its late chairman, the Norfolk & Norwich Novi Sad Association and the Laza Kostic Fund mounted this piano recital to raise money for a school for the disabled in the Serbian city with which Norwich has been formally twinned since 1989.

Piers Lane, whose formative years were spent in Australia, is a tall, strongly built man, combining relaxed geniality in his introductions with total concentration in playing.

After Percy Grainger's arrangement of Bach's D minor Toccata had provided the right opening flourish, Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata offered deeper satisfactions. Surges of energy and insistent repeated figures created the sense of an agonised search, and the pianist developed the argument with deft changes in tonal colour.

After an appetising glimpse of contemporary Serbian music in Seven Studies, by Vasilije Mokranjac, Lane rippled through Liszt's delicious emotions. Then, after a perpetual motion of Saint-Saens' Opus 111 Toccata left us gasping, the programme concluded with Polish virtuoso Schulz-Evler's brilliant transcription of the Blue Danube.

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