Samson Tsoy (piano)
27th April, 2019. Review by June and John Ingleton.
Piano recitals are always eagerly awaited by Haywards Heath Music Society audiences and seldom more so than when Samson Tsoy is the soloist. He returned to St Wilfrid's Church for the third time on Saturday 27 April and confirmed his abundant talent and maturity with a long and demanding programme comprising two giant works of the piano repertoire, an attractive but little-known sonata and a group of popular short pieces.
Samson Tsoy bravely opened his recital with Beethoven's last piano sonata, the two movement Op 111 in C minor. He surmounted the technical challenges of this emotionally charged work with ease but his interpretation of the dramatic and stormy Allegro con brio ed appassionato section of the first movement occasionally lacked conviction. He successfully captured the poetic simplicity of the second movement, Arietta, and its transition through its cat purring section to its culmination in a halo of trills.
The remainder of the first half was devoted to five miscellaneous short pieces, each of which was picked from a well-known long work. The first was the Prelude and Fugue in G major from Book 1 of J S Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. This had little in common with the romantic works which followed. The only hint of a thread in them was the positioning of Tchaikovsky's depiction of a hunt from The Seasons immediately ahead of Liszt's Wild Hunt from his Transcendental Studies. Tranquility was restored in Rachmaninov's Etude Tableaux in C minor Op 39 No 1, leading to a barn-storming performance of Chopin's Etude in C minor, Op 25 No 12. All these pieces were sensitively interpreted.
The second half of the concert was dominated by a scintillating performance of Kreisleriana, a substantial set of eight contrasting and melodic pieces describing the impulsive and dreamy sides of the literary character Johannes Kreisler. Schumann regarded it as one of his best piano works, and rightly so as Samson Tsoy's interpretation emphasised.
For some in the large audience, the evening's highlight was still to come. Scriabin's little-known post –romantic Sonata No 4 in F sharp minor, Op 30, written at the beginning of the 20th century, is in two short movements, Andante and Prestissimo Volando. Within just eight minutes we were treated, in Samson Tsoy's expressive hands, to a variety of textures, some delicate and sensual, others exuberant and passionate. It was an excellent introduction to the virtuosity of Scriabin's writing for piano, and this was reinforced by the simple encore by the same composer which rounded off another memorable recital and a highly successful 77th season of professional live music making in Haywards Heath.