United Kingdom Mozart. Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano), Wigmore Hall, London. 13.4.2015 (LB)
Piano Sonata in F K332 (1781-3)
Adagio in F K.Anh.206 (A65) (?1772)
Piano Sonata in D K.284 ‘Dürnitz’ (1775)
It is rare for the fortepiano to take centre stage nowadays, but it did so at the Wigmore Hall this afternoon, with South African born Kristian Bezuidenhout at the keyboard, in a lunchtime concert devoted to two popular sonatas by Mozart, separated by an Adagio.
The sound of the fortepiano remains startling to the contemporary ear, especially in the context of the modern concert hall, perhaps because less has been done to promote period performance on the keyboard than with other instrumental music.
Since winning the Bruge Fortepiano Competition at the relatively tender age of 21 Kristian Bezuidenhout has been devoting his energies to promoting the cause of the instrument. His career, now pursued from London, has gathered considerable momentum and excited critical interest.
The Wigmore Hall’s Mozart Odyssey, launched in November 2014, includes a survey of Mozart’s solo keyboard works performed on the fortepiano by Bezuidenhout, and today’s instalment began audaciously with the Sonata K332.
Bezuidenhout’s diffident demeanour on stage belies a confident musicianship that judiciously exploits a sophisticated intellectual foundation, fluent and highly nuanced instrumental technique, and a fertile imagination, which always serves the music well. His performance was muscular and poetic in equal measure, with a dynamic range, clarity of articulation and sense of timing that invariably brought out the very best in the programme he presented.
Commanding the attention of an audience for the duration of a recital on this rather more intimate and colourful sounding instrument requires superlative control and imagination, and Bezuidenhout succeeded magnificently. He is an especially persuasive advocate for the keyboard music of the classical era, and the instrument for which it was conceived.
His recital and encore, Allemande from the Suite K.339, will hopefully have sent the audience on its way with a heightened sense of enquiry.
The concert, which was broadcast live, and is repeated on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday at 1pm, is also still available to listen to online, for those with access to the BBC iPlayer.