Florian Mitrea – 12 October 2018

Comments from the audience:  here

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Review by Clive Davies

 The audience was listing slightly to port for the inaugural recital of the 69th season of the Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire Concert Society. Many had gravitated to the left-hand side of the auditorium at Outwood Academy, Foxhills, for a closer and privileged view of Florian Mitrea, the young British-Romanian virtuoso who has garnered prizes and plaudits wherever he has played.

All present were rewarded by sight and sound of three giant Peaks of Pianism in a performance of discernment and unfaltering virtuosity.

He began his ambitious (and audacious) programme with Beethoven’s Sonata No 21 in C Op 53 (Waldstein), a work more usually offered as a main course rather than as a starter. Nonetheless, this was a feast as toothsome as it was nourishing.

Florian confided to his audience in his genial and intriguing introductory remarks that he had chosen his playlist not simply to display his virtuosity but because these three masterworks happened to be his favourite piano sonatas.

He continued with Prokofiev’s Sonata No 6 in A Op 85, a work that seems to shudder with alarms and premonitions. This might have been because the composer sensed that the war in Europe was about to crash through the border into Russia: equally, it might have been because he recognised what torments the Soviet authorities had in mind for the country’s free-thinking writers and composers. Florian’s reading captured perfectly the uneasy drama of the work, the startling swings in mood and tempo, and conveyed a general tone of foreboding.

There was still one more lofty summit to scale, for he concluded his programme with Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, an exacting work whose lyricism is never entirely eclipsed by avalanches of jagged octaves and a blur of intricate fingerwork.

Listeners marked the end of the recital with a standing ovation and successive waves of applause, mingled with gasps of admiration… or perhaps that was disbelief.

Florian returned to his piano and, by way of a digestif, served up a brilliant and note-perfect encore of a Chopin Etude. Port or starboard, listeners had been treated to an exciting and memorable excursion.

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