This country is blessed with a generation of pianists who have moved seamlessly from young lionhood to wise experience, and right at the top of that list is Leon McCawley.
Returning to Bromsgrovc Concerts with a brilliantly-constructed recital, he began with the all-important "Bernstein moment" (catching the only instant when a performance can be launched) before he embarked upon an eloquent, crisp and totally engaging account of Bach's Italian Concerto, gleefully relishing its finger-twisting part-writing, and rapt in the darkly emotional andante.
Brahms' Op. 39 16 Waltzes were delivered with character, charm, warm pedalling, telling bass lines emerging from well-sculpted textures. and a sensitive shaping of dynamics.
Then came the heroism of Chopin's Scherzo no.3, McCawley's controlled intensity enhanced by rippling figurations. This was a reading which focussed our attention entirely upon this wonderful piece.
Three bell-inspired compositions followed, Liszt and Debussy, ending with Rachmaninov, whose C minor Etude-Tableau cast such a sinister, quasi-liturgical atmosphere. And again, McCawley's precise articulation and tactful pedalling provided such a persuasive presence.
All of these were riches enough, but the concluding offering would in itself have made the evening worthwhile. Beethoven's Eroica Variations (such an important work in the composer's own psyche) found a fabulous advocate in McCawley, witty, affectionate, well-coloured, and, where necessary, played with an unflashy panache which never distracted from the music. If McCawley hasn't already recorded this piece, then some company must sign him up so to do.