The piano repertoire is so large that selecting the programme of a recital such as this cannot be easy. Tom Poster's choice displayed how a very versatile pianist uses the instrument to express the development of music from the apotheosis of the classical idiom to a high point of romanticism - and to what has followed.

Mozart wrote the Fantasy in C minor (K.475) in 1785, only a few years before the ourtbreak of the French Revolution. On a modern grand piano, even a small one like the Fazioli at the Radlett Centre, one could hardly play it better than Tom, though the romantic phrasing and extensive use of the pedal would hardly have happened in Mozart's time. This Fantasy was an interesting contrast to Gyorgy Kurtag's Jatekok (the only piece that Tom did not play by heart). It comprised three short pieces from the late twentieth century. Their textures are simple and the melodic material is restrained, yet held the audience spellbound - a recovery from the aesthetic and political upheavals that separate us from Mozart. As if to emphasise this, Tom played straight on from Kurtag to Schubert without allowing time for applause.

Less than thirty years separate Schubert's Piano Sonata in A major (D 664) from the Mozart Fantasy, but twenty of them were the years of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, during which European music underwent its own revolutionary changes. Romantic lyricism and contrasts in volume and speed characterise the first movement, Allegro moderato. Throughout, Tom's use of the left hand emphasised its contribution to the music in a way that some pianists neglect, and his pedalling was notable. The second movement, Andante, was more subtle. In the last movement, Allegro, there was the same expressive interplay of the hands, though sometimes it did not quite come off.

All this had risen, step by step, to the summit of early solo romantic pianism: Chopin's four Ballades, in G minor (opus 23), in F major (opus 38), in A flat major (opus 47) and in F minor (opus 52), spread through most of his virtuoso career. Is it significant that the last of these, and then his death in 1849, followed the so-called Year of Revolutions (1848)? For the famous theme of Ballade No. 1, Tom began modestly, as the written music requires, but soon the fast and furious writing required him to demonstrate all his remarkable technical and expressive skill. In his hands we were swept along by Chopin's exploration of themes that soon became well known. In Ballade No. 4 the main theme grows with striking variations, and Tom forcefully expressed the musical ideas. To call him a virtuoso pianist (whether solo or in combination) hardly does justice to this concert.