The young (born Helsinki 1979) pianist Antti Siirala came to the Large Room with Waterford Music, supported by Music Network, with a glorious reputation. For a young musician, he has an old-fashioned manner, dressed in a business suit, shirt and matching tie and he never said a word, just sat at the piano and mostly without sheet music played in an expressive fast-paced style.
Opening with a Bach, partita, a set of dances as a scene setter, a warmer-upper, he set the pace and his cross handed style for the Gigue was impressive.
A Brahams Rhapsody in B minor opened with a thundering clatter of keywork and then deepened into a fine romantic interlude. It alternated with crashing high risk notes, muted flourishes and dramatic passages before melting to a halt. He moved into another Brahams Variations with similar effects and some people didn’t realise the change.
After the interval he used sheet music for Irish composer, Deirdre McKay’s Tim Shining. A fragment of a piece with isolated notes, isolated images in a cold unsympathetic style.
He closed on a typical Chopin Sonata with sentimental swirling sumptuous notes and a rippling busy Scherzo. This was such a change for the almost honky tonk of the brisk Brahams. The Largo was beautiful and meditative as it slipped into a funereal march and then it clattered into an enthusiastic finale.