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Andrew Wilde, Celebrity Piano Recital

RNCM Concert Hall, 18 September 2016

Andrew Wilde, Celebrity Piano Recital

In one sense the programme of Andrew Wilde’s recital was quite simple: Beethoven in the first half, Chopin in the second.

We heard three sonatas by Beethoven, the last of them being the ‘Pathetique’, and they were followed by a selection of works by Chopin, including nocturnes, mazurkas, waltzes and the Scherzo in B minor. After hearing Chopin’s nocturnes, the Moonlight Sonata made for a perfect encore and alongside this came the realisation – for in truth, the penny took a long time to drop – that the programme, rather than being simple and straightforward, had an underlying thesis.

Wilde’s scintillating performances of these works – each one deeply and complexly pleasurable in and of itself – brought out the affinities between these two great composers in a rare, demonstrable way. How many others, I wonder, among those who gave Wilde such a rapturous welcome on his return to his old college – and, at the end, a warm fare-thee-well – how many when they now listen to Chopin will hear echoes, small fragments, of Beethoven too, like pebbles embedded in glass? It was brave as well for this artist to choose for recital such familiar works.

This fine concert was heard on a warm September afternoon and early evening in Manchester.