This was our first ‘official’ lunch time concert at Breinton. Unlike a typical lunch-time programme with a duration of less than one hour, Colin Stone and Mayumi Iida gave a full-length performance with an interval. It was a treat for us the audience.

The programme began with Schubert and ended with Schubert. Colin and his duet partner (his wife in fact!) performed the fatefully dramatic Schubert Fantasy in D minor for Four Hands. It was my wish that one day someone will play this glorious piece at Breinton, so my dream was materialised. It was beautifully presented – I felt Colin’s left side part was often suppressed effectively and subtly so the painfully lyrical theme was best heard. I really loved the passage towards the end of the Finale, when it built up to a climax then came a sudden halt of silence before the heart-wrenching theme returned. Really emotional and moving.

The powerful mighty Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 6 followed. I think many pianists battle and fight the piano when performing Prokofiev’s War Sonatas, but Colin’s playing was none of that. He pursued quality of sounds, and showed much affection and love towards the composer.

Whenever I see Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata in a concert programme, I moan, ‘Not again!’  This Sonata is over played, and often very badly! So how happy was I to hear a refreshing performance by Colin that cleansed my ears. I thought there was some utterly beautiful sound making with a perfect pace in the first movement, then the second movement was delightful – played with delicateness without losing playfulness. 

To conclude was Schubert’s Wanderers Fantasy. Like the Fantasy in D minor previously played, it has four connected movements. I am a big fan of this piece – it is powerful, has ups and downs, and mood changes, just like how you go through everyday life! According to Wikipedia, it is considered Schubert’s most technically demanding composition for the piano, and I believe that. Despite so many demanding chords and passages, I felt I could hear every note and the voicing throughout the piece was fantastic. 

Colin’s informative talk about each piece was an invaluable part of the concert. It was brief yet presented in a friendly and interesting way, which certainly increased our enjoyment of this lunch time experience at Breinton.