A glimpse of the divine for the awe-inspiring musicianship of Llyr Williams

Western Mail

Perhaps it was my imagination, but I fancy I heard a faint collective sigh of awed appreciation from the audience in this lovely hall as we glimpsed something of the divine during the opening concert of the second year of Llyr Williams' Beethoven piano sonatas cycle.

Such metaphysical moments are rare indeed in any concert hall. This one came as Williams, whose playing reaches new heights with each of these enthralling concerts, addressed the Sonata in B flat, Opus 22.

After offering a dazzling account of the first movement (marked Allegro con brio) Williams paused in contemplation before beginning the Adagio con molto expressione second movement.

What followed was playing of ethereal sweetness which matched anything Williams has achieved in previous concerts, which in themselves have been special occasions.

Described as a "long-breathed florid aria with a dramatic central section," Williams expressed the moments of invention and fleeting, tender beauty with playing of maturity, musical intelligence and vision.

After a considered interpretation of the Andante favori, Williams turned his attention to the mighty Waldstein.
It was a bold and intense rendering of a complex and demanding work which commanded the audience's complete attention throughout its 27 wonderful minutes.

The progression from thunderous, restlessness energy, through a period of calm repose to the ecstatic optimism of the final pages was portrayed by Williams with consummate skill and awe-inspiring musicianship.

There was no sighing at the end, just loud, prolonged and thoroughly deserved applause.
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