Steve Osborne

CHRISTOPHER SMITH John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park


Uninhibited in its passions and unpredictable in the wild swings of its violent moods, Brahms' Rhapsody in B minor demanded attention at every turn in its tempestuous single movement.

Offset by just enough moments of calm, the outpouring of emotions was impressive. Scottish pianist Steven Osborne did not let slip such opportunities for a bravura performance at this Norfolk and Norwich Music Club recital.

One of Franz Schubert's last works, his Sonata No 21 took us back to a time when music made its points less asser-

tively. The emphasis here was more on melodic lines than crashing successions of chords, and textures were clear. There was time for

elegance and charm. A cert-ain jauntiness was not seen as detracting from stronger feelings.

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The major contrasts were between the movements, not within them, and Osborne reined in his power to convey the sustained sentiments in each of them until the finale. Then, some heavy-handed dramatics were out of proportion.

Because Osborne was preparing for an engagement in London, he departed from the advertised programme, disappointing some of his fans by choosing not to perform Liszt's Harmonies. Instead he played Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

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