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Bach, Fauré, Debussy, Chopin

Charles Owen (piano)

Wigmore Hall 18 Apr 09

A greatly rewarding recital by one of UK's most distinguished pianists, who attracted a full house of enthusiasts.

He has a reassuring friendly, confident manner, caught in the image; looks as if he enjoys playing the piano, goes straight to the instrument and starts without any fussy preparation by adjusting the piano stool and composing himself. The whole programme by memory and no lapses seemed likely.

Bach was forthright and gripping; as good an account of the 5th Partita as I've heard in years (if you're going to play him on a modern piano).

Three of Fauré's Barcarolles were, on the whole, more extrovert than the Nocturnes, of which Owen has made a famous CD.

Debussy's Images, Series 2, were outstanding for the inner resonances of the Wigmore Hall's fine Steinway, possibilities in which Owen revelled.

Chopin's 3rd Sonata was given an unidiosyncratic performance which carried us straight through, with no gaps between the movements. And to end a single encore, the E minor posthumous Nocturne. A satisfying evening.

Peter Grahame Woolf