Review by Martin Widden
Some years ago, with help from the Friends of the Lancaster Concerts, the University bought a new Steinway concert grand piano for the Great Hall. Our old Steinway had reached the stage where good pianists were complaining about the state of it, and seemed quite likely to start refusing to come to Lancaster. Having this new piano has enabled the University to bring excellent pianists to Lancaster to perform in the concert series. Last week’s concert was one such, with a recital by Eric Lu, winner of the first prize in the 2018 Leeds international piano competition.
His programme opened with the A minor Rondo by Mozart. This late piece by Mozart, dating from 1787, is full of emotion, and Lu captured this excellently in a sensitive performance. He followed this with the six Klavierstücke by Brahms. These are serious pieces, demanding the deepest insight from the performer, and again Eric Lu was able to tap into this very well despite his relatively tender years (he is 21).
After the interval, we had Handel’s Chaconne in G major, a series of variations on a theme. Handel’s skill in developing this short and simple theme into complex and mesmerising variations is remarkable.
The recital ended with the second sonata by Chopin – the one that includes as its third movement the well-known funeral march. This is a virtuoso piece, which was played with complete confidence by the pianist.
The performance of this varied and well-balanced programme by Eric Lu was highly satisfying. He evidently studies the music so that he becomes fully aware of the composer’s intentions, and his technique is so assured that he is able to communicate these to the listener very clearly.
This was an excellent recital in every way – possibly the best piano performance of recent years in the Lancaster series of concerts, and a fine end to the 2018-19 concert season.