*** The Romantic Piano Concertos Vol.41
Heine bewunderte ihn »wegen seiner untadeligen Manieren, seiner Glätte und Liebenswürdigkeit und wegen seines allgemeinen Erscheinungsbildes, das Ähnlichkeit mit einem Produkt aus einer Konditorei hatte«. Clara Schumann war der Meinung, dass er immer so aussah, als wolle er sagen: »O Gott, ich und die ganze Menschheit müssen Dir danken, dass Du ein Genie wie mich geschaffen hast«. Howard Shelley hat auf der neuesten Folge der »Romantischen Klavierkonzerte« zwei virtuose Werke des durchaus umstrittenen Komponisten aufgenommen. Eine interessante Werkschau eines Menschen, der sich seiner Qualitäten sehr bewusst war.
More superlative performances of early 19th-century concerto repertoire from Howard Shelley and his Tasmanian Orchestra. Following on the heels of Moscheles and Herz, this time it’s Kalkbrenner, another of those virtuosi hugely acclaimed in their time and now forgotten. Kalkbrenner’s music bridges the gap between the classical and romantic styles and such was his fame that his presence in Paris resulted in that city becoming the pianistic centre of the romantic movement in the 1830s with Chopin, Liszt and Thalberg all basing themselves there; indeed Chopin originally planned to study with the older composer, only declining when Kalkbrenner told him he must not play in public for three years while under his tutelage. Both concertos are very much of their time, bursting with scales, arpeggios, thirds and octaves in their outer movements and lavishly decorated operatic ‘bel canto’ melodies in their slow movements. The fourth concerto is a first recording.
'In Howard Shelley [Kalkbrenner] has found a pianist who not only relishes everything the composer throws at him, including ambuscades of double notes, but who plays with truly dazzling wit and style.... Shelley's effortless bravura would surely have awed and piqued the composer himself' (Gramophone)
'Kalkbrenner's First Concerto offers a truly beautiful and atmospheric slow movement...it would be a boring world if we couldn't find an hour to listen to these musical layer cakes from a bygone age' (Pianist: Recommended)
'Shelley draws committed and expressive playing from this fine ensemble [The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra], besides dispatching the demanding solo parts with unfailing élan' (International Piano)
'Shelley's fearless and seemingly impeccable technique seems to match Kalkbrenner's ideal of good piano-playing perfectly. The sound is always beautiful, those endless runs at the upper end of the keyboard register delivered as if they came easily rather than being the formidable obstacle course that they really are' (International Record Review)