Frédéric Chopin. Arch romantic? Dazzling virtuoso? Tortured genius? Take your pick, for he was all these things. Beautifully crafted, his music is by turn effervescent and sombre, tender and terrifying, complex and simple. It is technically and emotionally demanding and he wrote so much of it that anyone courageous enough to take on the task of performing all his works for solo piano needs the stamina of a marathon runner, the dramatic sense of a great actor and the athletic prowess of an Olympic gymnast. Seemingly undaunted by the prospect of playing so many notes, Cyprus-born pianist Martino Tirimo rose bravely to the challenge, offering Hereford a series of eight three-hour-long recitals in Holy Trinity Church that began six months ago and ended last weekend. Like all marathons, this tour-de-force exposed both strengths and weaknesses. Chopin’s acclaimed masterpieces are triumphs of the pianistic art and for the most part were given performances to match, Tirimo’s virtuosity and musicality rising to the occasion with impressive conviction and a fair measure of sheer brilliance. The trouble with playing complete works, however, is that one cannot sift out the dross and leave just the nuggets, and some of the lesser works seemed awkward, convincing the audience no more, one suspects, than they did the pianist. Nonetheless, Martino Tirimo’s achievement overall was massive, and both he and the dedicated organisers are to be heartily congratulated for granting Hereford the rare opportunity of sharing in what was a remarkable musical feat. John Rushby-Smith