Although only thirty, Yevgeny Sudbin has already produced highly acclaimed recordings and been mentioned in the same breath as Horowitz and Michelangeli.
Unfortunately on this occasion he deserved a better piano than the pint sized Blüthner with which he was presented. Any trace of frustration with his recalcitrant instrument was totally hidden from the audience, and although his programme was a pianophile’s delight the overriding impression was that of a masterly performer for whom musical and structural virtues came first, and the phenomenal technical demands were secondary.
Chopin’s Fantasia in F minor commanded our instant attention, rich and subtle with outstanding finger work, followed by a gently poetic Third Ballade and a Fourth Ballade full of fantasy and sweep, marred only by some over pedalling at the close, turning the coda into a harmonic jumble.
Liszt’s Harmonies du Soir was nocturnal and intimate rising to a grandiose but perfectly controlled climax of tremendous power before subsiding. This same control was exhibited to even greater effect in Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit. Each of its multitude of notes was treated as important, with Ondine beautifully liquid, Le Gibet desolate, and Scarbo spine-tingling in its variety and coherence.
Sudbin is already an artist who has joined the elite.