This is what we call an Interview Concert. Have you ever done anything like this anywhere before?
“Not exactly. I did an interview and played some music for half an hour on BBC Radio and I was asked some questions I wasn’t prepared for! That was a bit tough. But it will be fine this time!”
You played here in the 2015 Sussex International Piano Competition, two rounds then the Concertos Final when you played the big Tchaikovsky No 1. Then last autumn again with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra in a concert with Liszt’s Totentanz and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody. You sound well prepared to come to Worthing again!
“Yes, I love it there. In Sussex I’ve also played at the Hastings competition and been down to Chichester University several years ago. With Worthing I very much like the sea – no matter how cold it is!”
You chose the Beethoven ‘Moonlight’ Sonata for this concert. Why?
“Having played it in February at St Martin’s-In-The-Fields on St Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a very good choice. It balances the Medtner piece I’m playing, Sonata Romantica. I’ve played this Medtner many times and nobody has ever told me they regretted I included it. Audiences here don’t usually know Medtner or the Sonata Romantica, but they find it unexpectedly nice music.”
Now, you’re opening with JS Bach. For a pianist, it can’t be easy to do that . . .
“No, it’s very difficult to play Bach first. You have to be in tremendous control. But sometimes Bach is chosen to start off an historical journey of music through the concert. This isn’t a usual Bach Prelude and Fugue that I’m playing because it’s an organ piece by him transferred to the piano by Busoni about 180 years later. So you hear Bach’s language but with some of Busoni’s notes from a later age, which suggests to you something else.”
Your Liszt CD received exciting reviews last year. How are things developing on your recording front?
The CD recording is appearing on the radio and also in France, which means it’s becoming increasingly famous abroad now. I have recorded for release later this month Chopin’s second Sonata and some other small pieces of his.
That sounds like something we might persuade you to play as an encore on Sunday. See you then – Tickets are still available