Review: Danny Driver ***

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Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York

The young pianist, Danny Driver, is faced with some very difficult programme decisions, as his recital before an unusually large York audience was to make clear.

In recent times his recordings of works by British 20th-century composers have received rave reviews that open the door to the growing demand for such music, though here he showed that he has an equal affinity with German music from the early part of the 19th century.

His firmly contoured reading that so perfectly characterised the ever-changing moods of Schumann’s Etudes Symphoniques, was suffused with poetic beauty and the brilliance that came from a faultless technique supported by a powerful left hand.

If you ignored his irritating habit of stamping on the pedals, he gave an equally powerful reading of the opening movement of Beethoven’s 32nd and last sonata, changing down to a ideally reflective conclusion with its unexpected quiet ending.

Maybe he should leave the 18th-century to the abundance of period performance specialists, for here he sees the music not in a time-warp, but through modern eyes that add much that was never intended.

Taken at face value his playing of sonatas by Haydn and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach were neat and unfussy, but to my ears not a great deal more.

Following the Christmas break, Danny Driver will be back performing the Grieg Piano Concerto at Huddersfield Town Hall on February 12.