In the darker and more serious Ballade in G minor, Op. 23 Pham impressed with masterly control of its hugely varied moods; giving free rein to the extraordinary emotional outbursts and investing the more lyrical moments with poignant tenderness.
Faure’s Nocturne No. 6 in D-flat major, Op. 63 presented an interesting contrast: an idiosyncratic blend of Gallic refinement and Lisztian indulgence. Holding together these seemingly contradictory qualities, Pham displayed his formidable technique and a sensitive ear to sonority and tone colour, also evident in a nocturne he had recently composed.
Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 provided an imposing conclusion. While giving grandeur to the first-movement opening, the all-important second subject was allowed plenty of freedom. The fleet scherzo led to the third-movement Largo, the emotional epicentre. Of particular note was the depth of feeling and richness of tone given to its central section.
Starting with its driving minor melody, Pham slowly and skilfully brought the finale to an exultant climax, relishing the triumphant change to the major mode.