Leszek Możdżer cuts a rather eccentric character on stage as he jokes drily, half mumbling through the curtain of long blonde hair that obscures half his face, about the “mathematical” aspect of his performances, as well as his inability to open the can of water that has been given to him by the venue.
The renowned Polish pianist played a solo recital on Saturday evening (7 October) as part of the London Piano Festival held at King’s Place. The personality aside, Możdżer playing was sophisticated and complex, while remaining no less enjoyable to listen to as a result of this complexity. Returning to the point on mathematics, he explained (perhaps with varying degrees of success) the rhythmic workings of some of the pieces, a number of which he plays alongside a metronome placed on a small wooden table behind him.
Also among Możdżer’s props were a number of towels and necklaces, with which he stuffed the piano in order to achieve soft muted tones or harsher metallic reverberations. It’s this level of experimentation which made particularly compelling the several covers performed throughout the recital. He drew from a broad repertoire, and it was a joy to hear Możdżer’s approach to Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 16, Astor Piazolla’s Libertango and even Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene.
I’ve often argued that the best concerts are over before you want them to be. He was to return again later that night for a second performance, but his first recital lasted just over an hour. This didn’t stop the audience bringing him back for two encores – one of which was an affecting rendition of Sleep Safe And Warm, Krzysztof Komeda’s main title theme to Rosemary’s Baby: a nice homage to another Polish jazz legend.
Leszek Możdżer at Kings Place, London, 7 October, 2023 as part of the London Piano Festival