Dinara Klinton performed with the highest technical mastery you could ever encounter, but, what truly struck me, was the absolutely divine sensitivity of her playing. For instance Nocturne by Tchaikovsky was one astonishing piece of music full of such gentleness and sensitivity. It looked as if she was barely touching the keyboard, just brushing it with a feather, however the ever-so-subtle sounds were well defined and traveled straight to the core of our hearts. It was a nostalgic moment and brought such intimacy. Quoting one attendee: "It placed us somewhere completely different". 

The first half of Dinara’s programme consisted of two contrasting Sonatas by Scarlatti, Beethoven’s early Sonata No. 24, and Tchaikovsky’s Deux Morceaux Op. 10. This was followed by selection of Liszt’s Transcendental Studies

Scarlatti’s Sonata No 87 Andante was an incessant flow of flawlessly glorious phrases. The left hand accompaniment maintained an exquisite pianissimo throughout which highlighted the pure melody. Dinara’s keyboard touch was sublime. Sonata No 96 was performed with a clarity and witty articulation. She kept a pleasant tempo, allowing subtle breaks to breathe.

Beethoven’s Sonata No. 24 was a joyful two-movement sonata. There was plenty of singing dialogue throughout. Dinara knew when and how to make simple passages alive and spark; no phrase was repeated in the same manner. 

Tchaikovsky’s Deux Morceaux Op. 10 has two pieces; Nocturne in F major and Humoresque in E minor. I described how I loved the earlier Nocturne above; Dinara described these pieces “delicious”, but unfortunately they are not performed often therefore we do not hear them enough!

A half hour Liszt extravaganza changed the atmosphere. The moment Dinara began playing Preludio, the audience sat up and gazed at her finger movements intensely, not to miss anything. Liszt’s Studies are well known for their fiendish technical challenges, but Dinara made sure they were not mere finger exercises to show off her ability, but that they were indeed musically appetising. In each study, Dinara had a convincing message to convey, melodies to deliver, emotional waves to show, and varieties of sounds and volumes to be heard. The volumes were high, but never overpowering. Her fortissimo sounds were beautifully rounded, not angular; warm and deep but not steely; and flexible not stiff. 

Among the dynamic studies, No. 3 Paysage and No. 11 Harmonies du soir were breath-taking beauties with tonal sweetness and calmness. The last study, No. 12 Snow Drift literally expressed the steady fall of snow – the gliding, quietly whirling chromatic scales were nothing other than captivating.

To complete this wonderfully executed programme, and to release our intensely focused attention from the Liszt Etudes, we heard the sweetly refreshing, dazzlingly poetic Chopin’s Etude No. 1 Op. 25

Many people commented on our Yamaha grand, complimenting the beautiful sounds it produced, from warm and deep lower registered notes to well-defined and tasteful higher registers. Yes I admit it is a wonderful instrument, but I also admit that it was mostly due to Dinara, who knew exactly how to bring out the best of it. Another audience member remarked: “I enjoyed the first note till the last”. Well, that pretty much summarises her performance.

For this inaugural recital to kick off Breinton’s Matinée Series, I had no one else in my mind than Dinara. I thought she gave a little treasurable break in everyone’s busy daily life, and that was exactly what I wanted to achieve all along.