Schubert came very vividly to life under the hands of visiting pianist Fou Ts’ong, who gave the first of two recitals at Bulawayo City Hall.
A highly pitched nervous intensity illuminated all the strange and sudden contrast of the A major sonata written in Schubert’s last year. In the first movement the dramatic opening material yielded affectingly to the withdrawn poetry of the second subject, and the fearful intimation of death which overtakes the Andantino, was given urgent emphasis, as was the Scherzo’s disturbing restlessness.
Probably no Viennese would approve the hard tone of the descending arpeggios of the opening allegro, nor the speed of the allegretto finale, but these were integral aspects of this tautly beautiful performance, which brilliantly evoked the imperative creativity of Schubert’s short life.
The six Scarlatti sonatas, and two more as encores, were poised yet alert, crisp but sensuous, miniature though never inconsequential. Only in the E major and the dissonances of F major did the pedal occasionally blur their sharp clarity.
With the general standard so high, it is difficult to find highlights, but one remembers especially the limpid tone of the second C minor sonata and the pulsating Spanish rhythms of the F major.
The Liszt variations on a theme of Bach were played unabashedly for every effect. This was big playing, but always under tonal and rhythmic control. Unfortunately the pianist’s singing accompaniment was clearly audible in the front rows.
Saturday’s programme consists of works by Schumann and Chopin.