Cédric Tiberghien’s Bartok Piano Recital

An all-Bartok piano recital? In Harrogate? On a Monday lunchtime? You might not have expected much . But wait a moment! This is the Wesley Centre (previously known as Chapel) with its famous and wonderful Yamaha piano, and this is the series masterminded by Andrew Hitchen who has the ability to attract international artists to perform interesting works  in an attractive setting for only £6 per ticket. And many of those artists are so pleased with the piano and the acoustics of the chapel that they are happy to return. So it was with the eminent young French pianist Cédric Tiberghien who a year or so ago had offered an all-Szymanowski recital. Now it was the turn to explore Bartok, in preparation for a CD recording.

On paper Bartok might not seem to be a great draw, and indeed one lady left before the end, murmuring “too painful”.  But this was a ridiculous comment on a truly exceptional performance which took us through the early to middle career of the Hungarian composer and which had us on the edge of our seats with the bold harmonies, the exciting rythyms, and – by way of complete contrast – the exquisite softness and lightness of the Nightmusic.  M.Tiberghien showed himself to be a master of the idiom, playing with virtuosic dexterity but also considerable delicacy. Will the CDs be as good?