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Grace Yeo: Classical review

Wigmore Hall, London

The young Korean pianist Grace Yeo is not yet a household name, but the Wigmore was full. This was thanks to two things: first that it was put on by the excellent Kirckman Society, whose protégés have included a glittering roster of stars at the start of their careers.

The second was that all the other concert venues are given over to tinsel frivolities at the top of the year. Yet this supposedly ‘dead’ time is precisely when classical-music fans are free to indulge their passion: when will the promoters realise this?

Yeo’s programme displayed her talents across a wide variety of styles, and although the hall’s big Steinway was ill-suited to rendering the dry precision of Haydn’s Sonata in E flat major H XVI:52 with which she began, she brought out its qualities with sparkling authority. In her hands, Beethoven’s Appassionata emerged as something both thrilling and intimate, with the first movement nicely sprung, the Andante exquisitely measured, and the finale full of martial excitement.

Bartok’s little Suite Opus 14 made a neat opener for the second half’s piece de resistance, an opulently thunderous rendering of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, slightly blurred at times by her tendency to hurry.