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Beethoven, Chopin, Novak & Martinů

Beethoven – Sonata in D op 10 no 3
Chopin – Nocturnes Op 27 nos 1 and 2
Novak – Memories Op 6 Janáček – In the Mists
Martinů – Three Czech Dances (Obkročák, Dupák & Polka)

Martin Kasík piano
Blackheath Halls 12 May 2013

This recital set off to an unusual start: Kasík asked the audience whether they would prefer to hear Beethoven or Liszt. They voted for Beethoven; the Largo e mesto was especially captivating, with a reflective, sombre sound and evocative pedalling. The sunny Menuetto and playful Rondo came as a welcome relief after such solemnity.

The Chopin was an interesting contrast. Kasík gave a solid performance of the first Nocturne, but it was the magical second that was particularly convincing. Kasík took a heartfelt approach to the Czech part of the programme. The Novak had swathes of melodrama and passion. The cheeky Martinů dances were a delight - a mixture of ragtime virtuosity and Czech folk. Kasík's translucent and tender sound quality came across especially in the Janáček, for me the most profound part of the programme; he conveyed deep understanding and a compelling dynamic range.

Clare Simmonds