John Lill

MICHAEL DRAKE The Old Granary Studio, Toft Monks


The Old Granary Studio, Toft Monks

It is always a pleasure to visit this venue, particularly on a fine summer's evening and even more so for an artist of the stature of John Lill.

His musical star rose after the Moscow International competition in 1970 and since then his has been a name indelibly associated with musical fidelity generally and Beethoven in particular.

Lill's own introductions added to a relaxed feeling for last evening's recital in which Ludwig van B did indeed feature with the “Waldstein” Sonata no 21.

The opening movement, marked conbrio, truly shone around the oft-repeated thematic material while the slow movement started with statuesque solidity before the whole triumphantly developed with alternate lyrical and intensely passionate work.

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It was, though, an unthematic programme leaving it rich in variety. It started with Haydn's Sonata no 52 - his last - with typical surprises and Schumann's “Carnival of Vienna” which was full of colourful contrasts and not a little romance with an exciting finale.

But for real excitement there followed a Russian connection in Prokofiev's Toccata in D minor, the ultimate in perpetual motion and as amusing as it was demanding. A master had displayed his art in uncompromising, powerful and majestic manner and, to my delight, he refused an encore, wishing us to depart with the classic sonata of Beethoven to remember.

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