Danny Driver at Wigmore Hall

Kreisleriana, Op.16
Piano Sonata No.5 in F minor, Op.72
Gaspard de la nuit

Danny Driver (piano)

Reviewed by: Robert Matthew-Walker

Reviewed: 12 October, 2008
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Danny DriverThis recital was distinguished by a particularly interesting programme and by pianism that at times reached the highest level. This latter characteristic was most properly encountered in Kreisleriana, which, after rather too intense a beginning, soon settled down to reveal playing of much refinement and stylistic cohesion, so that, by the time the latter parts of the work were reached, we encountered Schumann playing of the greatest quality.

York Bowen’s Fifth Sonata, with its occasional close reminiscence of Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata (in its original version) has not always met with universal acclaim, but there is no denying that Danny Driver’s account could not have been improved upon – not even, surely, by the composer himself. Thankfully, Driver has recorded the complete piano sonatas of this scandalously neglected English composer for Hyperion – to be released next year, when we shall have the perfect opportunity to explore this music at our own pace. This performance certainly whetted the appetite for this experience.

Finally, Gaspard de la nuit proved a thrillingly virtuosic end to an uncommonly absorbing recital.

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