Di Xiao is a pianist who is rapidly making a name for herself, touring extensively both in this country and abroad, where recently she represented Symphony Hall around prestigious European concert halls.
On Saturday she returned to her Birmingham Conservatoire roots, playing for an appreciative Birmingham Chamber Music Society in the Adrian Boult Hall.
Her technique is brilliant, hands seamlessly co-ordinated, pedalling so effective and unobtrusive, command of tone and dynamics faultless.
But there is a huge “but”. Fulsome body-language (Lang Lang to the fore, as an example) and technical brilliance are cultivated by some pedagogues more than depth of personality (in which case pianists like the great Alfred Cortor would have been left at the starting-gate), and Di Xiao deserves advice to help her arrive at genuine ‘‘interpretation’’.
The fact remains that for all their immaculate delivery, every piece in her generous programme here left me musically unmoved.
There were, however, some moments which hinted at exactly what she is capable of achieving: the adagio in Mozart’s B-flat Sonata K570; the two Faure offerings, with Di Xiao subtly stifling audience applause between them; the more mechanistic passages in Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, and the building darkness in its Minuet – though the nostalgia throughout this work for a vanished France was scarcely apparent.
BCMS again provided a platform for young talent, the Ruisi Piano Trio giving a sturdily Brahmsian performance of John Ireland’s Phantasy Trio.
Rating * * *