Sunday, September 3, 2023
Perth Concert Hall, Scotland
BBC Proms on the road, this early-afternoon recital opened with a Haydn String Quartet – E-flat, Opus 9/2 – light and galant, confidently composed, with synonymous surprises along the way, given a relaxed and pointed outing by the Heath Quartet. Then Steven Osborne played Michael Tippett’s Second Piano Sonata, a craggy, vividly communicative, lyrically beguiling, eventful, concentrated masterpiece recognising the dramatic change of the composer’s style that began with the opera King Priam, given a dedicated and experienced reading by Steven Osborne who has recorded all of Tippett’s piano music for Hyperion. He and the Heath members then combined for Shostakovich’s five-movement Piano Quintet, music of varying emotions and angular rhythms expressed through formal designs – outgoing, private, and reaching a (seemingly) calm conclusion – given a performance that illuminated the music and spoke of a strong bond between the musicians.