11 March - Vassily Primakov (piano) Moscow

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The audience gave this accomplished young Russian pianist a standing ovation.

It was an all-Romantic programme and Primakov took full advantage of "Romantic licence" to give the respective work's his distinctive personal interpretations.

He was fully equipped technically to master the difficult virtuoso passages, and his impeccable tone and carefully balanced textures revealed, with great clarity, the compositional details in the music.

Despite the limitations of the piano, his dynamic range, often beautifully subtle, at other times full and powerful but always unforced and "cantabile" in tone, revealed his essentially expressive and lyrical approach to music characterisation.

Although his use of rubato was at times some what excessive, it was done with conviction and always with the melodic shaping and direction sensitive to the musical expectations in the score.

It was an absorbing and musical experience for the listeners.

The Prelude Performer, talented saxophonist, Jonathan Judge with veteran jazz pianist, Melvyn Peters, accompanying, entertained with two fine improvisational jazz numbers.

Finally, Mussorgsky`s Pictures at an Exhibition, a lengthy and rather diffuse work, was given a performance of sustained excitement and enjoyment. The huge resonance of the final "picture", The Great Gate of Kiev, brought this splendid recital to a stirring conclusion.   

Barbara Trofimczyk