THERE can surely be no better way to relax after a stressing day, or week, at work, than to listen to sublime piano playing, and we had a real treat on Friday night.

The last time Lauretta Bloomer presented a programme for the Classical Music Society, she was accompanied by cellist Robert Putowski.

I much preferred this recital, as we could really appreciate what a wonderful touch she has on the keyboard and I think she should perform solo more often.

We heard two of Joseph Haydn's last sonatas, often referred to as the English Sonatas. Number 60 gave a light start to the programme, from the opening allegro, to the gentle adagio, to the exciting allegro molto. In number 62, I especially enjoyed the allegro second movement, Lauretta giving a very expressive performance.

As Lauretta said, the music of Clara Schumann is not played often enough, so she treated us to Quatre Pices Fugitives which were each composed at separate times. These were all short, but distinctive, and I especially enjoyed the jolly scherzo, which was written as a Christmas present for Robert Schumann.

We then heard a brilliant performance of the latter's Drei Romanzen when Lauretta captured the differing moods perfectly.

The first of these develops into such emotion, while the second is so tender. The third Romanzen is a total contrast, very energetic, and to me not at all romantic.

Always popular in any piano recital, the music of Frdric Chopin, in Lauretta's capable hands, was sheer joy.

This music really suited Lauretta's gentle touch, especially in the familiar strains of the Trois Nocturnes.

As far as I am concerned, Lauretta Bloomer would be welcome back any time. VJS