A good evenings entertainment awaited anyone who braved the rain to listen to Japanese pianist Masahiko Shinohara at the Russian Cultural Centre.
To begin with, an interesting programme: Mozart Sonata No.12, K332; Beethoven Sonata op. 111, two Rachmaninov Preludes (6&7 from op.23) and Chopin's rarely heard mature sonata, No.3 op.58.
The playing was more than competent throughout with the pianist showing much sympathy with the music being performed although he seemed a little less comfortable with the Chopin. Tempi tended to be brisk, slightly fast perhaps, but this worked well with all pieces save the Chopin.
The tragedy of the whole affair was the poor attendance, the (fairly small) hall being only about a quarter filled. The organisers who had no budget for publicity were partly to blame although the weather did not help. Given the cost of bringing the poor man down, they could have made a better effort to publicise details, which, if properly done, could have been achieved at no cost. The pianist seemed rather disappointed and opted to shed his jacket and tie to play the second half in his shirtsleeves.
He seemed well pleased by the applause at the end for he returned for no less than four encores, which I confess I could not identify. Two were, I am told Debussy images. I had to leave during his fourth encore and am not sure if he played any more after that.