IN THE Cathedral Concert Society’s last concert it was a pleasure to hear a fine Steinway piano (made available through Making Music) which was also used in this splendid recital by the Australian pianist Olivia Sham, making a return visit here.

Currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music, she has made a particular study of Liszt performance practice and this partly informed her choice of programme which she called The Romantic Wanderer.

Schumann’s early Papillons portrayed a series of short, quickly changing dances, concluding with a very effective fade.

Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s lied Der Wanderer began with some dark rumbling, becoming lighter and more positive as it developed, moving straight into Schubert’s own Fantasie in C on the same piece.

This was full of contrasts, triumphant at first, then sombre and resigned, stirring again followed by some extremely delicate playing, all evidence of Miss Sham’s enviable technique.

The second set consisted entirely of Liszt, starting with a contemplative and intense Il penseroso.

The Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 naturally impressed with its virtuosic side but it was interesting to hear Miss Sham bring out an underlying melancholy before the final gallop.

I particularly enjoyed La notte, one of three funeral odes which was intensely contemplative and wistful which was followed the Mephisto Waltz No. 1 which ended with dancing and merrymaking.

Peter Bevan