S&H Concert Review
Chopin, Mendelssohn, Weber etc Florian Uhlig
(piano) Wigmore Hall 8 11 00
This was a showcase recital for the launch of this young German pianist's Black Box CD Venezia (BBM1042) Florian Uhlig has already been honoured in these columns by Theo Wohlfahrt.
In the first half he played Mendelssohn's Variations Sérieuses & Weber's Sonata No. 3, which I fear will never become a favourite of mine. Highly proficient, no doubt of that, I would have wished that his big-boned playing on the Steinway might have been informed by at least an awareness of how the music would have sounded on pianos of the period.
After the interval he seemed less tense, and began with a thoughtful account of the ever-popular Chopin Barcarolle, continuing with Chopin's Variations (Souvenir de Paganini), a gentle, lyrical piece, infrequently encountered, which has much in common in its figurations with the lovely Berceuse. He concluded his programme with several groups of pieces upon the Barcarolle theme, their groupings making for interesting juxtapositions and gaining from being played without pause for applause. Particularly notable in context were Wagner's Venezia and Uhlig's own Ravi Shankar - Venezia stemming from his own playing with the great sitarist. This was an uncommonly evocative recreation of tanpura and raga - Eastern classical music can so easily sound trite transcribed upon the piano.
Despite a first half which disappointed me (not so for the enthusiastic audience as a whole) this was an unusual and finally rewarding recital of mainly light weight (though pianistically demanding) pieces from the byways of the piano literature.
Peter Grahame Woolf
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