Vice-Chancellor's Recital, Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire by Christopher Morley
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's opening year in its magnificent new premises has been peppered with joyous events, the latest of which was this inaugural Vice-Chancellor's Recital, a BBC Radio 3 Piano Showcase (genially compered by Tom Redmond), and celebrating the naming of the RBC's acoustically perfect concert-hall for the generous donating philanthropist Dr Keith Bradshaw.
Four top Conservatoire pianists, all studying with Pascal Nemirovski, presented a dazzling programme, beginning with Domonkos Csabay teasing a vast range of attack and colour out of the Steinway's keyboard for Beethoven's Eroica Variations.
Roman Kosyakov gave an alert and loving account of Schubert's Four Impromptus Op.90, combining both rigour and lyricism. His rippling right-hand in the E-flat Impromptu was magical.
Skryabin's "Black Mass" Sonata was over all too soon, so gripping was Pascal Pascalev's reading, concentrated tension lying beneath the fingers. A hard act to follow, but Daniel Lebhardt's concluding contribution was magnificent.
His Liszt Dante Sonata was sumptuously coloured and shaded, his brilliant technique always at the service of the music, and that technique brought steely-fingered energy and pounding accents to the Bartok Sonata. Driving motor-rhythms and washes of lyricism were irresistibly conveyed in this gem of a virtual encore.