The second concert of the season promised a virtuosic performance by a prize-winning pianist by the name of Luca Okras.
With the prospect of a forthcoming recital at the Wigmore Hall he offered us that very programme – a feast of piano works from the topmost composers – Schumann and Chopin . Luka made a last minute change of programme, choosing to start with the Childhood Scenes by Schumann ; these served as an ideal warm up. His genius was essentially in the way in which he could switch from one mood of the composer to another.
From the tenderness of the dreamy Traumerie to the violent strident Knight of the Hobby Horse, our soloist retained the rapt attention of the audience.
After these bite sized but technically challenging pieces we moved to the Chopin Sonata number 2. in B-flat minor. At last a chance for Luca to show his mastery of larger forms. His ability to bring out themes tucked inside the fabric of the score was remarkable. As expected the funeral march was deeply moving and the subtle but virtuosic transition to the last moment was quite amazingly executed.
As if to move into a higher sphere , Luca chose to give us Opus 17 fantasy by Schumann. It is alleged that even the mighty Franz Liszt found this extremely challenging. It was composed to raise funds for a statue of Beethoven and the proportions of this work were very much in the scale of Beethoven. What was interesting and superbly played was the tender last movement – somewhat of an anti-climax musically but delivered by Luka with remarkable restraint
It was good that he chose the Hungarian rhapsody number two by Liszt as an encore for playing with bravado. He prefaced the performance of this with a nod to the youngest member of the audience – suggesting to her that this was Tom and Jerry music. My advice to the audience was to watch this man’s continued stratospheric ascent to world fame.