Auf seiner neuesten Einspielung widmet Steven Osborne sich Werken für Klavier und Orchester von Benjamin Britten. Der Aufnahme vorangegangen war eine Reihe von Konzerten mit Brittens Klavierkonzert op. 13, in denen Osborne mit atemberaubender Virtuosität und pianistischer Eleganz das Publikum begeistern konnte.
The three compositions which comprise Britten’s music for solo piano and orchestra constitute a unique, yet still little explored, part of his output. Here they are brought together in a stunning disc that pays tribute to the great artistry of all involved.
Steven Osborne’s performance of Britten’s Piano Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov at the 2007 BBC Proms redefined this often undervalued work in the ears of his listeners, imbuing it with hitherto unsuspected emotional and musical weight; playing the bravura passages with glittering assurance and joie de vivre. The same musicians have put down a benchmark recording here and, as a bonus, also recorded the original third movement which Britten discarded in his 1945 revision.
Diversions for left-hand piano and orchestra is a gem of a piece, which has rarely been recorded. It is highly virtuosic and incredibly well laid out for the left hand, at times almost in the form of études for piano and orchestra. Britten reaches unexpected levels of emotional intensity, most notably in the Chant and the powerful Allegro.
Seventy years or so after these works were first performed, their freshness and vitality speaks with the same musical truth that Imogen Holst divined in Britten’s work, when, writing to him after attending an early performance of Peter Grimes, she said: ‘You have given it to us at the very moment when it was most needed.’ In revisiting these unjustly neglected early works, and, through performances of matchless brilliance, discovering qualities that were missed or overlooked when they first appeared, we have good cause to echo her sentiments.
'Scottish pianist Steven Osborne is mercurial but never flashy, and eloquent in the moments of repose. The Diversons … are played with equal brilliance' (Classic FM Magazine)
'Osborne's technique puts him ahead of the game: this is no average British pianist' (Fanfare, USA)
'Britten's three works for solo piano are relatively neglected and Steven Osborne's brilliant performances, backed by the conductor Ilan Volkov, make one wonder why' (Sunday Telegraph)
'It is hard to imagine more persuasive advocates for the music. Osborne is dazzling in the showier passages (of which there are many) in all three works, and all challenges are met head-on in exemplary performances' (Scotland on Sunday)
FonoForum 01/09: "Die Nachwelt scheint
Britten verübelt zu haben, dass er so geistvoll war. Wie
könnte man sonst erklären, dass ein so glänzendes
Virtuosenstück wie das Klavierkonzert kaum gespielt wird.
Steven Osborne mildert allzu zentrifugales Schillern,
findet Zwischentöne bittersüßen Spiel-Ernstes. Die
Vehemenz des Toccata-Kopfsatzes spielt er aber
schlichtweg umwerfend aus."
Disk 1 von 1
Toccata. Allegro molto e con brio
Impromptu. Andante lento -
March. Allegro moderato - Sempre alla marcia
Original version of the third movement of the Piano Concerto (Recitative and Aria. Lento)
Variation 1: Recitative. L'istesso tempo (Maestoso)
Variation 2: Romance. Allegretto mosso
Variation 3: March. Allegro con brio
Variation 4: Arabesque. Allegretto
Variation 5: Chant. Andante solennemente
Variation 6: Nocturne. Andante piacevole
Variation 7: Badinerie. Grave - Vivacissimo
Variation 8: Burlesque. Molto moderato
Variation 9a: Toccata 1. Allegro
Variation 9b: Toccata 2 - Cadenza. L'istesso tempo