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Then came the romantic outpouring of Schumann's first movement -- 'To be performed fancifully and passionately throughout' -- in which the unabated flow of sound never prejudiced the scrupulous clarity of inner textures or fulness of the fortes. Both it and the alla Marcia were miracles of muscular control, never letting Schumann's 'going for gold' get out of hand, yet never damaging its full expression, even to the fiendish leaps reserved for the end of the movement on which so many more experienced virtuosi meet their Waterloo. This was one pianist worthy to pass in state through Schumann's Arc de triomphe constituting as it does the middle movement and crowning glory of this grandiose triptych. After that -- all passion spent -- came the Langsam getragen, with its Beethovenian flashbacks, as an act of thanksgiving and shelter from the storm through which our invincible helmsman had led us.

Rarely have we heard so finely- and cleanly-sculptured an account of this peak of our Romantic piano literature, where usually it become a tussle between the dishevelled 'grab-and-get-it' or dispassionate 'safety first' schools of pianism. One wonders, too, at Tau's uncanny knack of reconciling an unfalteringly aristocratic mien at the keyboard with the power of projection and athletic resourcefulness he so plentifully commands -- a case of the lion lying down with the lamb in one and the same pianistic presence. The fact that he chose to follow this ambitious lunch-hour's programme with, as encore, one of the more taxing Preludes and Fugues from Bach's '48' only drove home again this young performer's uncompromising resolve to give of his and music's best -- no crowd-pullers for him! And, as if in recognition of such high-mindedness, the audience gave him a prolonged ovation far belying its modest numbers.

Copyright © 14 March 2006 Malcolm Troup, London UK





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