Piotr Anderszewski, at Birmingham Town Hall

It's been quite a week for piano-lovers in Birmingham, what with Peter Donohoe enriching Sunday afternoons with his Beethoven sonata-cycle at the Conservatoire, and with Louis Lortie smiling his affectionate way through Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the CBSO.

And on Thursday one of the most modestly unassuming of pianists, Piotr Anderszewski, allowed us to share his communing with Bach and Schumann in a breathstoppingly communicative recital in Birmingham Town Hall.
 
This was largely cerebral stuff (though Bach speaks so much to the heart as well as the intellect), with Schumann in his Six Canonic Etudes displaying his deepest devotion to his great predecessor (a devotion shared by his fellow arch-romantics Mendelssohn and Chopin).
 
Bach was represented by two of his English Suites (nos. 5 and 6), Anderszewski's colouring amazingly both neutral yet grippingly alive, his subtle pedalling magical and totally in keeping in character. Perhaps the gaps between the dance-movements could have been savouringly longer, but Anderszewski's idea was obviously to emphasise the organic unity of these rewarding edifices.
 
Schumann's Etudes combined flowing lyricism with balletic crispness, Anderszewski accenting appropriate phrases where required, and casting beatific repose over proceedings elsewhere. And two of the composer's Novelletten made a delicious sorbet before we returned to the richness of Bach.