For the last week, the Hungarian Cultural Centre has been promoting a series of varied concerts at Kings Place to celebrate Liszt's Bicentenary. The closing concert was on Saturday night: a piano recital by Dénes Várjon, with an all-Liszt programme culminating in the B minor Sonata. We may not see much of Várjon in the UK, but he's a regular on the European festival circuit, and highly respected in Hungary. He is a professor at the Ferenc Liszt University in Budapest, and cuts a rather professorial figure in glasses and tail coat. The people at the Cultural Centre were very excited about the prospect of hearing him.

Before talking about the music, there's an important thing to say: in my opinion, Kings Place is a truly wonderful place to hear piano music. The combination of piano and acoustics last night were exceptional: top notes of the piano were clear and bell-like, low notes robust and resonant, and every note clearly audible despite Liszt's sometimes thick and complex textures. (It also makes the hall an unforgiving place: any mild imperfection in the playing was precisely audible, as was the slightest crinkle of a snack wrapper or rustling of a programme.) We were fortunate enough to sit in row C, but I overheard someone sitting further back who speculated that the subtlety of the performance would not have been possible if the pianist had needed to force his sound to fill a larger hall.

Várjon certainly did the hall proud. I suspect that much of the credit for the clarity of the textures goes to his pedal-work: at times, his feet seemed to be moving as frantically fast as his fingers. And while his timing was occasionally a shade off perfect on the slower passages, he was marvellous on the faster ones, achieving clarity and drive.

The first half of the programme was a varied collection of shorter pieces from Liszt's travels around Europe, which Várjon played in a single sitting, without pauses for applause. First up was the delicate tracery of Sposalizio, inspired by a Rafael painting of the wedding of the Virgin Mary. We had the poet's conflicting emotions in Sonetto di Petrarca no. 104, the joie-de-vivre of the first Valse Oubliée, the picturesque fountains of the Villa d'Este in Rome, and the spiritual uplifting of the Sursum Corda ("lift up our hearts") from the Catholic liturgy. Every piece shows Liszt displaying a different set of textures and dynamics to achieve an emotional or pictorial result. With the exception of Schlaflos! ("Insomnia"), which for some reason failed to grab, I was thoroughly convinced by every one.

But the audience knew that all this was just a first course. The B minor Sonata, played after the interval, is a monumental piece: a single half-hour movement of artistic integrity and complex structure.

Musicologists have written much about the work's structure and compositional techniques. I'm not qualified to go into the details of key changes and the use (or not) of sonata form, but here is what seems to me to be the essence. The work has half a dozen recurring themes (scholars argue between 5 and 7). Each theme recurs in different places, but the mood is not always the same: the same theme can be violent, stressed, delicate or elegiac. It's like a musical journey with a group of erratic friends: you recognise the same, familiar faces coming back, but you never know what frame of mind they're going to be in until you see them. The effect is profoundly satisfying: from the threatening single notes at the beginning through the various passages of high-powered fireworks to the calm, reflective ending, Liszt drags your emotions with him, and there's never a dull moment in the trip.

Várjon was compelling from start to finish. After the threatening, slow first notes, he took the first of the fast passages at a terrifyingly break-neck pace, without a moment's rhythmic waver. His dynamics were completely under control, from the gentle to the percussively attacking, and I felt I could hear every shade in the music. I particularly loved the fugato section, around two thirds of the way through, in which different copies of the second and third themes are woven together in a playful mood quite different from their early menace.

Liszt's B minor Sonata is a candidate for the label of "greatest piano work ever written", especially if you disqualify Bach's Goldberg Variations on the technicality of having been written before the piano was invented. Last night's performance made a strong case for it. And if your considering going to a piano concert, be sure to check what's on at Kings Place.