Half the pleasure of the City of London Festival lies in the venues one discovers – six little-frequented Wren churches are on the roster this year. St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe played host to the French pianist Cédric Tiberghien for a performance of Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, which made the hairs stand up on the back of one's neck.
Laying down the gauntlet with a very big sound in the opening William Tell section, he dragged us into Liszt's lurid world – in which sylvan idylls alternate with horror-movie episodes – and led us through it with a dazzling display of virtuosity. The storm raged ferociously, the bells of Geneva were winsome, "Homesickness" sounded like Arvo Part. The church's three-second echo played havoc at times: when Radio 3 broadcasts this excellent recital next February, the engineered sound should be a lot better.
The City of London Festival runs to 10 July, www.colf.orgReuse content