It would almost be worth coming along to an Andras Schiff Beethoven recital just for the sheer quality of the programme-notes.
Accompanying every instalment of his complete cycle of the composer's 32 piano sonatas, now sadly approaching its end, has been a treasurable booklet with commentaries on each piece by Misha Donat and with reflections by Schiff (right) himself on performance aspects. What an invaluable little compendium this collection would make.
The scholarship and illumination of these writings reflect the unimpeachable "rightness" of Schiff's interpretations of these great works. Every accent, every detail of pedalling, every dynamic nuance, even every rest between notes, all are given due consideration, and the result is performances which command the attention with their inevitability.
Sunday's recital brought the end of the middle-period sonatas, works which look both backwards and forwards. So the F major Op.54 breathed both archaic courtliness and assertive dynamism, followed by the intense romanticism of the famous F minor Appassionata, Op.57.
Here Schiff exploited the growly but never unclear bass registers of his piano (it was interesting to trace how these works exploit the gradually increasing range of the keyboard), and allowed resonances on pauses to die into infinity.
Sonorous lyricism in the jewel-like F-sharp Sonata Op.78 brought startling pre-echoes of Schubert's posthumous Sonata in B-flat, before, rising yet another semitone, the allegedly "easy" G major Sonata Op.79 was given with affectionate wit and tenderness.
Finally came the E-flat Sonata Op.81a (81b is a little-known sextet), Les Adieux, loveable in its sentiments, but one of the weakest of the canon. Its excursions into remote keys were characterfully coloured by Schiff, who sent us a home with a palate-cleansing Bach encore.