Cédric Tiberghien’s impressive repertoire exceeds sixty concertos. He appears with the world’s finest orchestras and frequents the most prestigious concert halls. You can find his name in Wigmore Hall’s brochure every season. What is the secret of his success? Everyone must have been keen to find out.

Cédric’s programme consisted of only two composers, Chopin and Schumann; the composers who were born in the same year (1810) and admired each other so much. I can safely say that his performance brought tremendous pleasure to the audience at Breinton.

Cédric opened the recital in a relaxed manner with a brief talk about the programme. From the start of the first Prelude in C major, a key Cédric described as “happy and healthy”, an intensely focused atmosphere prevailed and musical drama followed. Shortly after it began, I was struck by the beauty of the pianissimo ending of the first Prelude. The running semiquaver of the third Prelude, Vivace, was uniform and created a somewhat bee-like sensation, and the following Largo in E minor made a heart-wrenching contrast. I loved the simplicity of the opening statement of Prelude No. 15 (so-called 'the Raindrop'). Cédric had an admirable skill in holding the varied elements together and displaying them. He also seemed to appreciate when to be dramatic and accentuated, and when to be simple. But what struck me most was his clarity. In every Prelude, whether subtle or dynamic, simple or complex, one could clearly hear his voicing and melody flowing.

Schumann’s Arabesque is one of the most played pieces over the nine years at Breinton. It is astonishing that this very short piece of merely 7 minutes, which has the loveliest and most easily recognisable melody, can still sound so refreshing. It was a fountain of beautifully crafted sounds, creating a surging sensation of love and a vivid image of wistful longing.

Clara Schumann must have been one amazing woman. Schumann wrote many pieces to show his love towards her, and Fantasie was just one of them. The passion of young love and outbursts of feeling were expressed limitlessly and dynamically in the first movement. The Adagio coda was conveyed by Cédric tenderly and sweetly, in a whispering manner. The march-like second movement was upbeat and triumphant, placing the audience in a powerful sound pocket. The third movement offered an utter joy and indulgence. This was a full-bodied, full-blown drama unfolding in front of us.

For his encore, Cédric played a sweet short piece called Romance by Clara Schumann. He has freshly learned it this afternoon, after having decided spontaneously that it would be a very suitable encore piece for the programme!