International Piano Magazine

Michael Church, November / December 2017

At St John’s Smith Square, Joseph Tong offered works by Grieg and Sibelius which are very seldom performed, and for which he made a powerful case. 

The miniatures of Grieg’s Stimmungen came over in suitably kaleidoscopic guise: if these deserve to be part of the regular concert repertoire, so, most certainly, do the Sibelius works he played. Valse triste, which has pre-echoes of Ravel’s La valse, came over hauntingly, and Five Characteristic Impressions came clad in mellifluous languor, thunderous energy, and evanescent delicacy; the Sonata in F honoured the memory of Beethoven, Schumann, and Liszt. 

Tong’s excellent CD of these works is just out on the Quartz label.