There were early fireworks outside St Christopher’s Church in Haslemere on November 4, but they were nothing compared to the fireworks inside!

In her HHH debut Mengyan Pan gave a virtuoso performance, fittingly including Debussy’s sparkling prelude, Feux d’Artifices, picturing a real fireworks display. Its partner, Des Pas sur la Neige, told of tentative footsteps in an icy landscape.

Mengyan Pan’s hands swept across the keyboard and notes cascaded out. The introductory piece was Suite Bergamasque, with its lovely Clair de Lune, followed by Prelude to a New Moon by Kye Ryung Park. The pianist leant inside the piano and stroked long arpeggios directly on the strings, then created distant thunder by dropping her forearm on the lower keys.

After the interval came Chopin’s variations on La ci darem la mano. One had endless great sweeps across the keyboard, the next precisely rhythmic patterns at diabolic speed.

Friedrich Kalkbrenner wrote the closing piece Variations Brillantes on a Mazurka of Chopin. They required the extraordinary skills our pianist displayed.

Finally, as an even more challenging encore, Mengyan Pan dazzled with Liszt’s Paraphrase of Verdi’s Rigoletto to end a fascinating concert.