CONCERT REVIEW: Cristian Sandrin (Piano), South Holland Concerts, South Holland Centre, Spalding
Romanian-born pianist Cristian Sandrin opened the 35th season of South Holland Concerts in Spalding on Sunday with works by composers, including Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Haydn and Schumann.
However, Sandrin started his recital with a collection of eight short piano pieces by the less well-known Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag.
Acht Klavierstucke, or literally eight piano pieces in German, sounded like a collection of tuning-up exercises for pianists.
But Sandrin turned them into perhaps what Kurtag intended when he wrote them in 1960, or as the philosopher Aristotle wrote "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
The South Holland Centre audience were then treated to the more orthodox classical music of Joseph Haydn and his Variations in F minor, parts of which would be perfectly suited to a black and white silent movie.
Haydn's work, written after his first visit to London at the end of the 18th century, is regarded by some as his greatest ever work and neatly led into Sandrin's interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata in D minor.
Written at the start of the 19th century, Sunday's programmer notes proved a real eye-opener by pointing out that the inspiration for Beethoven's pieces was Shakespeare's The Tempest.
The second half of Sunday's recital opened with two, complementary works by Debussy, Cloches a travers les feuilles (Bells through the leaves) and Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon descends on the temple that was).
Sandrin himself said: "The moonlight sheds some mysterious light over a temple, using quite beautiful imagery to present a vision of the past."
Spalding's guest pianist then moved on to Chopin's Barcarolle, a folk song that Sandrin felt would "grab the attention of the listener by the sincerity of its emotions".
The eight-piece Kreisleriana, which Schumann based on a German novel about a musician and his cat, brought Sunday's recital to a close.
Sandrin called Schumann's work "very long, very beautiful and very complex", as well as "one of the most well-known pieces by Schumann" and a "tribute to Chopin".
As a pianist, Sandrin squeezed out every last drop of Schumann's enigmatic vision of the piece, portraying its mix of outrage, playfulness and humour.
. The next South Holland Concerts recital is with The Marylebone Trio, Jemma Bausor (Oboe), Alexandra Davidson (Bassoon) and Helen James (Clarinet), at South Holland Centre, Spalding, on Sunday, February 10, 2019, at 3pm.
Tickets priced £13.50, £12 concessions and free for children and students, are available from the Box Office on 01775 764777.