First night of this year Mitsuko Uchida visit to the Royal Festival Hall for her Schubert voyage. Three sonatas on the programme (D.958, D.664 and D.894) and mixed results.

Her Schubert is clear, perfectly exposed, with interesting nuances on the repeats but lacks of that deep intensity and darkness that other pianist do on it. That’s why the results sonata D.958 were not that interesting. Much better was the sonata D.664 which can be enjoyed much more with this mozartian approach.

The big problem of the night came in the very very slow performance she did of the opening movement of the sonata D.894 (more than 45 in total!). That approach didn’t work on such a big space as the Royal Festival Hall. While acoustics are still ok, the space just lacks of the intimacy needed for such silences. It was quite clear that the audience was not following well her idea and people were noisy and coughing like hell. So yeah, a pity, but sometimes great musicians are very good on the studio delivering their single view from their pedestals but are unable to deliver it properly live under the changing conditions inherent of the live performance.