It is not every pianoforte recital that includes the first performance of a new work in the presence of its British composer. This was achieved by the Radlett Music Club on this occasion. Modus operandi, a short piece by Michael Summers, only completed in January 2010, therefore deserved our special attention. The piece begins by expanding a single note into a simple theme, to which, after much elaboration and interplay with other themes, it eventually returns. As we listened to its subtle and complex rhythms and its impressionist language, we could not fail to think of Debussy (a specimen of whose work was to be played next) and Bartok, whose idiom has become the lingua franca of modern pianism. It was a privilege to be at the premiere of this exciting, if brief, work, played with enthusiasm by Marcus Andrews.

The recital had begun with the Partita No. 1 in B flat, by JS Bach. This was a well controlled perfomance, avoiding many of the pitfalls that may beset works of this period when they are played on the piano - which was not what Bach had in mind. It was followed by Haydn's Sonata in C minor, Hoboken number XVI :20. Whether this too, being written in 1778, was intended for the piano rather than the harpsichord is debatable. Haydn's earlier sonatas, though pleasant to listen to, do not have the power of the last dozen or so; but this sonata was written at a turning point, and Andrews brought out the more forceful character that came with Haydn's increasing maturity as a composer.

Debussy's style is the essence of impressionism on the piano. Of other works in a long programme, four Preludes from his second set of Preludes were the most challeging. Such pieces as these no longer have a clear harmonic structure, nor themes in the usual sense; musical pictures are conjured up by series of chords or pianistic fireworks. This wonderful music was played by Andrews with mastery.

Graham Mordue