Peter Donohoe

MICHAEL DRAKE Norfolk & Norwich Music Club at the John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, nr Norwich


The world renowned pianist made a rare visit to Norwich to the Norfolk & Norwich Music Club and, it is fair to say, took the place by storm.

Beethoven's monumental Waldstein Sonata No 21 Op53 was the perfect vehicle for Donohoe, who gave no musical quarter. In the opening Allegro he showed power and strength but still with remarkable clarity and definition.

The slow movement became virtual thought-transmission via the piano. Neither here nor in the finale was there any let-up.

The start of the programme had been equally emphatic with Brahms' Six Pieces - small fry compared to Beethoven perhaps, but nevertheless still powerfully performed and including a whirling Ballade and joyful Intermezzo surrounding the Romance of great stateliness - quite an autumnal interlude.

Cesar Franck's final composition for piano was “discovered” by Donohoe himself and he delighted in the thematic repetition in each section - stark descending scales in the first eventually overtaken by power, the relative calm in the centre and finally back to busy-ness.

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Debussy's Estampes was given almost jazzy rhythms, and Chopin's C sharp minor Scherzo an icy filigree while Liszt's Venezia e Napoli was a melodic delight.