Yamaha International Piano Series: Paul Lewis - Malvern Theatres

PAUL Lewis, a pianist of distinction, opened his recital of Schubert’s music with an engaging group of varying German dances.

Lewis has an innate ability, musical intellect and original thought for getting right inside the music. His range and choice of the way he uses dynamics and very slight rubatos often casts a new light on that which is familiar.

As Sonata No.14 in A minor, of 1823 opened a mood of searching and emptiness pervaded, which Lewis raised to fever pitch and suddenly withdrew to be very quiet. The slow movement’s lovely melody entwined itself in high registered decoration and the sonata’s final bars surged to forte.

Allegretto in C minor was much more cheerful and Sonata No 16 in A minor of about 1827 is more positive also, reflecting Schubert’s improvement in outlook.

Lewis’s meticulous attention to detail through the decorated opening and fastidious placing of the left hand repetitive rhythmic accompaniment was a revelation as was the intimacy created through the beautiful, subtly decorated, melodic slow movement.

High-pitched ornamentation was bell-like, and the finale was soulful and immensely powerful.