Review András Schiff, Beethoven Late Piano Sonatas, BBC Proms 22, Royal Albert Hall by James Ellis

Photo credit; BBC/Chris Christodoulou
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Sir András Schiff relaxed a Sunday morning Proms audience in a intimate affair in the grandeur of the Albert Hall. You see another side to Beethoven in his late piano sonatas. Still filled with innovations, their refections and anguish still pound through and the electricity still lies within them.

Schiff is extremely no thrills, at least the view of his back and part of the keys would prove this where I was sitting. Playing all this from memory proves his chops, his previous Bach whistle stop concerts also proof of his sheer talent. His writing out of the pieces makes it look so easy when it might be a nightmare to play. The dexterity and energy require cant be underestimated, Schiff tackling all these, though his reserved manner might shut fool people.

A debate about having small, more intimate Proms prevails. All I know is the sounds ring out from the piano, though I was in the stalls and may very much be a different story in the high up gallery. This massive audience all came to hear him play and that is enough to justify the recital in the space. Whilst the first two buttery sonatas performed are firsts for the Proms, it was the Sonata No. 32 in C minor which stood out, as if a big beast on the war path. The violence and the weird imagery made it stick out, a fine choice to wrap things up.

You can listen to the event on BBC Sounds here

Photo credit; BBC/Chris Christodoulou

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