Andante in F, WoO57 (Andante favori) Brahms
Piano Sonata No.3 in F minor, Op.5 Chopin
24 Preludes, Op.28
Piers Lane (piano)
Piers Lane at Wigmore Hall
Sunday, April 26, 2009 Wigmore Hall, London
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
Beginning with a shapely and unaffected account of Beethoven’s Andante favori (originally written as the slow movement of the ‘Waldstein’ Sonata), Piers Lane continued with a magnificent traversal of Brahms’s large-scale F minor Sonata, commanding in the opening bars, restless thereafter, combative and consolatory by turns. Lane brought out the music’s emotional turmoil with playing of fire and poetry. The slow movement was deeply expressive, as was the trio of the succeeding scherzo, which was brought off with panache. Lane allowed little pause between movements, creating a five-in-one design; thus the fourth-movement ‘Rückblick’ did indeed ‘look back’, now in fatalistic terms, and the finale blossomed to pealing optimism. One might have welcomed greater expanse at the very end (also at the close of the first movement), but this was also a remarkably cohesive and compelling account.
Some of the persistent coughing that had blighted the Brahms continued into Lane’s melded account of Chopin’s 24 Preludes, which began with ardour and closed in unrelieved tragedy. In between, Lane brought out the distinctive character of each of these miniatures (exploring each of the major and minor keys) – their majesty, pizzazz, darkness and inwardness – and built and integrated cycle
This particularly searching and dynamic account – ranging from defiant vigour to tranquil repose – was followed by more Chopin, the Nocturne in C sharp minor (published posthumously and not it seems termed Nocturne by Chopin). For his second encore, Lane tapped into the humour that he had found in the opening Andante favori. We returned to Beethoven as imagined by Dudley Moore … “Colonel Bogey” (by Kenneth J. Alford) in the style of Ludwig van, a fun and clever piece that Moore himself played (and which was captured on film) that brilliantly mimics Beethoven and brings the house down with an extended coda of many false endings. Piers Lane proved himself a master of comic timing.