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Beethoven Mendelssohn Ravel Albéniz Czerny

Beethoven Sonata in A major op. 101
Mendelssohn Variations sÚrieuse; Rondo Capriccioso

Ravel Gaspard de la nuit
Albeniz El Albaicin (Iberia)
Czerny Variations on La Ricordanza

Li-Chun Su pianist and fortepianist

St Olave's Church Hart Street London EC3 16th July 2008

A great recital, given by memory; one we will never forget. This Berlin-based pianist despatched her formidable programme with aplomb and charm, scarcely pausing between items, and preferring to spend the interval chatting with the audience rather than retiring to the artists room.

She played the St Olave's Bösendorfer as if it were her own instrument, judging perfectly the acoustics, and with her judicious pedalling a model for those pianists hearing her there. Her demeanour at the piano radiates quiet confidence; straight back, relaxed posture and no gestures to emphasise the easy virtuosity which she clearly enjoys.

The Beethoven sonata set out her credentials; as finely judged a performance as any of recent years, those including Barenboim's at his Festival Hall marathon series. The Mendelssohn selection likewise emphasised its musical quality, whether serious or capricious.

Gaspard de la Nuit likewise was all music and no display to impress; we enjoyed it more than many performances of this recital war horse.

St Olave's (Samuel Pepys' church in the City) has a reputation for its music, and this was the last of the year's summer evening recitals for 2008, made possible by a bequest of Major-General Lascelles, the organiser of the lunchtime concerts at St Olave's for some 15 years prior to his death. His successor Tom Butler must be congratulated for his astuteness in bringing Li-Chun Su for her City of London debut.

She has been studying modern and early piano in Germany with Mitzi Meyerson for several years and will be giving two fortepiano recitals at Tudeley Festival in Kent this coming weekend.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Beethoven Czerny Mendelssohn
Tudeley Festival, 20 July 2008 - Brodmann Fortepiano

Carl Czerny : La Ricordanza, Op. 33; Nine Waltzes from "Les Etrennes"
Beethoven : Six Variations in D major, Op. 76; Sonata in D major, Op. 101
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Praeludium & Fuga in e minor, Op. 35, No: 1 ; Songs without words, Op. 30, No: 3, Op. 102, No: 3 & Op. 67, No: 2; Variations serieuses, Op. 54; Rondo capriccioso, Op.14

During the rest of last week, Li-Chun Su has been following up her City of London appearance with recitals on Broadwood, Rosenberger and Brodmann pianos, with overlapping repertoire. The programmes at Tudeley in Kent - the church with the famous Chagall windows [glimpsed behind the beautiful Brodmann copy piano illustrated] were both recorded live, and the earlier one (Haydn, Clementi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven & Bach) is available from Postern Park Digital 01732 773322.

Li-Chun Su is adept on older pianos, adapting easily to their indiviual idiosyncracies. A music writer friend, who had long resisted my enthusiasm for the Historically Informed Performance (H.I.P.) revolution, has - under Li-Chun's hands - belatedly got the message about early pianos.

We caught the last of her two Tudely recitals, which had substantial selections of two composers in which she is particularly specialising, Mendelssohn and Czerny.

We hope to review her fortepiano CDs in due course. It won't be long before famed players of period music on modern grands will have to watch out; some of their standard recordings on Steinways are at risk of becoming obsolete...

PGW

See also review on Classical Source

A promo-CD of Li-Chun Su playing Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven & Albeniz is available from her website

Up date: Li-Chun Su has won the international piano competition at Porto, October 2008 [Editor]