by Rachel Beaumont

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Toil: Eric Lu plays Schubert at Wigmore Hall

Eric Lu
Wigmore Hall
Stalls E19, £20
10 October 2020
Wigmore page

Schubert, Allegretto in C minor D915 and Piano Sonata in A D959
Encore: Two pieces from Schumann’s Kinderszenen

It is churlish not to enjoy only the second concert after a seventh-month drought but, alas, I did not enjoy this Schubert recital by Eric Lu, a pianist strikingly youthful-looking even for a New Generation Artist. The fault lies partly with me: I know neither Schubert piece well and felt rather at sea within them. By contrast the Kinderszenen pieces quickened a magical character absent from the main programme. The peculiar conditions of this resuscitation also contributed: in the near-empty hall the Steinway sounded wretchedly both hard and muddy, so loud it was almost painful at my close vantage point but with none of the clarity that can make that proximity so thrilling. I think it would be too tall an order to expect Lu, evidently early in his career, to adjust this his first performance since March for the lack of audience – but in combination with his unedifying performance of the Schubert the result was an hour’s hard work.

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