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Martin Roscoe at Bishopsgate Institute

14 February 2013

The well known British pianist Martin Roscoe gave a fine recital (Concert No. 433 !) to inaugurate the venerable City Music Society's transfer of their evening series to the splendid refurbished hall opposite Liverpool Street Station as their new home [see review of Grace Francis below].

It came in a difficult time for Roscoe, who found himself in media prominence this week as a whistleblower in the breaking scandals at some British music academies. So much so that he was left no practising time and therefore played this recital (unusually) from the music.

After a Haydn starter (I find these hard to enjoy on modern grand pianos since Tom Beghin's recording on period instruments for the 2009 Haydn bicentenary) he gave a heart warming account of the Schumann Kinderscenen, notable for his marvellous pianissimo in the more tender pieces.

Then, major sonatas from the standard repertoire; Beethoven's Waldstein given with panache and fullest drama, followed (after drinks in the interval for everyone) by a deeply moving and involving account of the 'heavenly lengths' of Schubert's Bb sonata, which gained enormously from being heard live instead of on one of the numerous CDs or on radio.

It is late Schubert, in two halves. The sizeable audience was held in rapt silence for the dark first two movements, then we were all relieved by the sparkling scherzo and finale, its lightened mood followed in the encore, a little Scherzo in Bb - if you don't remember it, enjoy it from gifted children on YouTube!

Peter Grahame Woolf

See Martin Roscoe interviewed at the Guildhall SMD