*** The Romantic Piano Concerto Vol.48
Kein Land ohne Musik
Hyperions erfolgreiche Serie der »Romantischen Klavierkonzerte« schreitet unaufhaltsam voran. Die neueste Folge macht in England Station und präsentiert zwei Klavierkonzerte von Sir Julius Benedict. Der Komponist, heute nahezu unbekannt, widerlegt eindrucksvoll das Vorurteil, England sei im 19. Jahrhundert »ein Land ohne Musik« gewesen. Die Konzerte, geschrieben 1837 und 1850, stehen ganz in der Tradition von Hummel, dessen Schüler Benedict war und kombinieren brillante Virtuosität mit feinen Lyrismen. Die Konzerte liegen in den bewährten Händen von Howard Shelley, der vom Klavier aus das Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra leitet.
With Volume 48 of our groundbreaking Romantic Piano
Concerto series we reach very uncharted territory indeed. Sir Julius Benedict has been all but forgotten today but he is yet another composer who gives the lie to the idea that Britain was ›a land without music‹ in the nineteenth century. Though born in Germany, Benedict settled in London in 1835, having already established a career as composer and pianist on the continent. He arrived in a city which had been the pianistic centre of Europe for the previous thirty years (though that role was shortly thereafter lost to Paris and the new generation of Romantic composers we remember today) and was soon performing his two concertinos in A flat and E flat, the latter work later being expanded into the E flat Concerto recorded here. The C minor Concerto was to follow in 1850. Both works are very much in the tradition of Hummel, of whom Benedict was a pupil, and combine brilliant virtuosity with an easy lyricism.
The even-more-forgotten Walter Macfarren was the brother of better-known George, an early Principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Walter was for many years a piano professor there, his pupils including Matthay and Henry Wood. His music is very much in the style of Mendelssohn and his Concertstück proves to be a very attractive work which could easily pass as one by the greater master.
»Pianophiles and collectors of rarities will gravitate to this beautifully performed disc. It's a tour-de-force of pianism-plus-directing from Howard Shelley« (Classic FM Magazine)
»Howard Shelley, conducting from the keyboard, produces blistering accounts of the solo parts, and his Tasmanians play their hearts out. The recorded sound is fine, too. Recommended with every enthusiasm: 70 minutes of unalloyed pleasure« (International Record Review)
»Both works contain arrestingly characterful and lovely things. Benedict's aim is to dazzle his listeners with dashing brilliance … Shelley is a beguiling player … fresh, fluent, lucid, suave and never tempted to oversell« (The Sunday Times)
»The TSO plays with the punch and style of the 40s movie studio orchestras… And the works are simply delightful… With a classy piano leading the way, this great find is simply magical gold laced with genius. The quickest way to cut through jaded classical ears is with a dose of this gem« (Midwest Record Review, USA)