The Queen's Hall Series: Steven Osborne

Edinburgh Festival review
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Steven Osborne (piano)
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Today's recital at the Queen's Hall had to be changed at the last minute due to the original performer, Ivan Moravec, being ill. However, Steven Osborne, the accomplished Scottish pianist was able to step in at short notice.

The selection of piano pieces was different to that chosen by Moravec, but the choice was one Osborne obviously feels comfortable with.

A varied programme, he started with six pieces by the French composer Claude Debussy. Entitled Children's Corner, Osborne - with the lightness of touch - brought out the enchantingly playful aspects of these compositions, which concluded with the upbeat ragtime rhythm of the Golliwog's Cake Walk.

Next he played Beethoven's Sonata No 21 Op.53. In this familiar sonata, Osborne's somewhat rigid posture quite belied the exquisite, tender sounds he elicited from the keyboard, particularly in the pianissimo passages. The final composition was five excerpts from Messiaen's Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jesus. Osborne has been playing Messiaen for several years and is a renowned exponent of this technically challenging music. Not necessarily easy listening - much of the music is comprised of discordant notes - nevertheless, his dynamic interpretation of this complex music will surely have persuaded many people in the audience to start listening to this interesting, radical composer.