Alfred Brendel

MICHAEL DRAKE King's Lynn Corn Exchange

MICHAEL DRAKE

King's Lynn Corn Exchange

The celebrated pianist does not often venture outside the capital these days, but the region has been fortunate to hear him twice within a month - first at the Aldborough Festival and on Thursday evening in the Ruth Fermoy Memorial Concert

The fact that the programmes were similar, I feared would be a drawback, but the rather more intimate Corn Hall stage made the concert “the same but different”.

Brendel does not have a dramatic persona, but the stage's red flame background added to the hushed atmosphere as he displayed that

indefinable quality which makes a listener fully concentrate almost unwittingly, and often it was those small gaps in the music when he lifted his hands gently from the keyboard which were as telling as the music itself.

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The programme was framed by the Haydn Sonatas in D and C major, the first delightfully delicate and the latter containing so much dynamic contrast and the usual Haydnesque surprises - not least the ending. Schubert's Sonata in G was given a majestic opening and a magical touch to the end of the second movement, with an aura of tranquillity in the second subject of the finale.

Thus to Mozart and a sensitive performance of his C minor Fantasie followed by a beautiful pianistic meander in the Rondo in A minor in which Brendel (not to mention Mozart) gave it purpose and interest throughout.

And to recognise the warm and prolonged applause, the stateliness of the second movement of the Sonata in A by Mozart K370 as an encore. Brendel makes one listen to his music having been briefed that it will be masterful.

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