PIANIST Lars Vogt launched the third Piano Greats series at Sage Gateshead with a recital of music embracing the full gamut of human emotions.

The evening opened on a joyful note with Mozart's Piano Sonata No 2, written when composer was 19 and believed to have been for his talented sister Nannerl to play.

Vogt projected its carefree spirit with a sparkling opening movement, delicately delivered adagio and frisky presto.

The audience was jolted into the political turmoil of the turn of 19th century, with Janacek’s Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 ‘From the Street’. It was written in blaze of outrage after the composer witnessed the bayoneting of an 18-year-old Czech protester. The work was nearly consigned to oblivion.

Wracked by self-doubt, Janacek ripped out the pages of the slow movement during a rehearsal and burned it. He later took the remaining two movements and threw them into a river. His pupil had thankfully made copies, after having seen part of the score burned before her eyes.

Vogt brought the work to life in deeply expressive account; anger leaping from keyboard and contrasting with moments of pure anguish.

Liszt’s Ballade No 2 in B Minor is a virtuoso character piece. Vogt attacked its enormous chords, thundering octaves and fiendish scale passages fearlessly.

His performance of Schubert’s Piano Sonata no 21 in B flat was magisterial. The first movement, evoking Schubert gently strolling through the countryside with an ominous trill painting an impending thunderstorm, was played with exquisite care.

The slow movement, featuring a whispering melody with a beautiful dotted motif from the left hand, was sublimely intimate. A sparkling Scherzo provided joyful relief from the introspection, before Vogt stormed through a scintillating final movement.

To soothe nerve endings after the turmoil, Vogt's encore came in the shape of the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No 8. It was a perfect ending.