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As for the Polish pair, Pajewski/Raginia, it did us good for a change, on the night that Middlesborough lost in Eindhoven, to find our English, Scottish and Irish players outclassing the nation of Chopin and Lutoslawski, hopefully only temporarily bedevilled by problems of intonation, ragged tone quality (both instruments) and tempo-dragging. Last to appear were Nathaniel Boyd and Simon Lane in the same Op 102 No 2 chosen by the winning team (it spoke well for the variety of approaches that this was the only instance of duplication). Theirs was a spirited if roughshod performance, which made up in enthusiasm and abrasive accents what it perhaps lacked in finesse and differentiation of dynamics at the ff level. The second movement found them in a more settled and communicative dialogue.

On the strength of the evidence provided by this competition, whatever the dashed hopes of British football in the European Cup, we can always switch our enthusiasm, expectations and (in the case of sport, exorbitant) investment to fingers in lieu of feet -- to chamber music in particular which appears to be on a winning streak of its own and whose benefits will have a longer-term and more life-enhancing impact on spectators and players alike.

Copyright © 22 May 2006 Malcolm Troup, London UK

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MALCOLM MILLER REPORTS ON THE 2005 COMPETITION

MANUS CAREY ON THE 2004 COMPETITION

BEETHOVEN PIANO SOCIETY OF EUROPE

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