Review: Peter Rhodes at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant

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Schubert’s big B-flat piano sonata might have worked better at the end of Peter Rhodes’s recital than it did at the beginning.

By the time he returned to the Austrian composer for an encore, he seemed to have come more to terms with an instrument lacking natural subtleties of tone.

In the emotionally dramatic sonata, the need to strive too hard for quasi-orchestral effects was probably the cause of his uncharacteristic mis-hits.

Certainly the performance was big in scale but the harshness of the piano itself and the splashing of notes meant the stormy heights were only fleetingly scaled to satisfactory effect.

The second half of the recital began with miniatures by Chopin, including two nocturnes coloured with particular skill and empathy, before the pianist plunged into Schumann’s Papillons (Butterflies).

Here the former head of performing arts at South Downs College was masterly in embracing both the episodic nature of the structure and the fluency of the concept.