Piano Concerto No.1 in E, Op.18
Piano Concerto No.2 in A, Op.189
Piano Concerto in D minor, Op.73
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Howard Shelley (piano)
Recorded 21-24 April 2009 in Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: September 2010
CD No: HYPERION CDA67765
Duration: 72 minutes
Hyperion’s “The Romantic Piano Concerto” series here reaches Number 51 and does so with a hat-trick of first recordings. All three works here are compact, three-movement affairs.
The two by Wilhelm Taubert (1811-91), a German conductor and pianist, are pleasurable in their grace and joviality, likeable showcases for the pianist, fully seized by Howard Shelley with customary dexterity, sensitivity and stylishness. Flashings of Felix Mendelssohn feature in Taubert’s very approachable expression – and none the worse for that – music that is pleasingly tuneful as well as vigorous and elfin-like. The Second Piano Concerto (1874, the First is from 1833) begins in autumnal fashion, a rather beautiful lyrical introduction that seems somewhat nostalgic and not a little Chopinesque, but there’s plenty of daylight in the infectious dance-rhythms that is the first-movement proper. The slow movement is a tender interlude and the finale, beginning dramatically, is enjoyably skittish and song-like, the work’s opening material returning.
Jacob Rosenhain (1813-1894) was born in Frankfurt. He gravitated to London from where a 30-year sojourn in Paris beckoned. His D minor Piano Concerto (probably composed in the 1840s and published later) is a sterner work than either of those by Taubert, but it’s one that burgeons some delightful Romantic material (secluded woods and the like) without breaking any new ground; that said, the sepulchral and solemn slow movement offers much beauty and the finale skitters along merrily and not without some confidential asides.
With a typically exhaustive booklet note, splendid performances and good sound, Hyperion’s dedicated survey of the byways of piano concertos continues unabated and with appeal.