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Concertos

American Cityscape

|
Telarc CD-80620

Jennifer Higdon
(b. 1962)

Concerto for Orchestra (2002)
City Scape (2002)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Robert Spano
Telarc CD-80620 66:17

Some may read the dates of composition and bypass this CD, expecting difficult music. It's not. The concerto is in five movements, as is Béla Bartók's, and there are echoes of that work in Higdon's first movement. The music has great power, is inescapably American and is, for me, an important release. Likewise City Scape, a commission by the Atlanta symphony, which portrays aspects of that city, especially effectively in the long second movement. The fine recording, also available as an SACD, shows the music in the very best light.

Read the full Classical Net Review.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - HBDirect - JPC ]

[ Also available on Multichannel Hybrid SACD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - HBDirect - JPC ]

Bohemian Piano Concertos II

|
Oehms OC588

Leopold Jan Antonín Koželuch
(1747-1818)

Piano Concerto #1 in F Major, Op. 12 (P IV:1)
Piano Concerto #4 in A Major, Op. 16 (P IV:4)
Piano Concerto #5 in E Flat Major, Op. 15 (P IV:5)

Tomas Dratva, piano
Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina/Oliver von Dohnányi
Oehms OC588 79:56

The Bohemian composer Koželuch was Wolfgang Mozart's successor as chamber music composer to the Austrian Emperor, and thus contributed to the flourishing of Viennese Classicism. As evidenced by these three lovely works, his 22 piano concertos are full of elegance and refinement, characteristics that helped make his music popular throughout Europe.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - HBDirect - JPC ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Rare French Works

|
Hyperion CDA67294

Gabriel Fauré
(1845-1924)

Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 14 (1878-9)

Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1921)

Morceau de Concert in G Major, Op. 62 (1880)

Eduard Lalo
(1823-1892)

Fantaisie Norvégienne (1878)
Guitarre, Op. 28 (1882)

Ernest Guiraud
(1837-1892)

Caprice (1884)

Joseph Canteloube
(1879-1957)

Poème (1918)

Philippe Graffin, violin
Ulster Orchestra/Thierry Fischer
Hyperion CDA67294 71:13

This collection of short French pieces is useful in that few have been otherwise recorded. The Fauré concerto is incomplete but still worth hearing. Some may know the orchestral version of the Lalo fantasy. Nothing here to plumb emotional depths, just enjoyable music.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan ]

French Virtuoso

|
Classic Talent DOM291112

Rodolphe Kreutzer
(1766-1831)

Violin Concerto #9 in E minor (1802)
Violin Concerto #13 in D Major (1804)
Peasant Song of the Canigou "Montanyas Regaladas" (1831)
Variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento" from "La Molinara" (1810)

Saskia Lethiec, violin
Orquesta Do Norte, Porto/José Ferreira Lobo
Classic Talent DOM291112 64:19

One of the primary exponents of the French school of violin, Kreutzer was able to ride out the French Revolution and subsequent chaos with barely a glitch to his career. He was famous throughout Europe as one of the great virtuosos of his age. Louis Spohr, no mean violinist himself considered him the most cultivated of the Parisian violinists, and Ludwig van Beethoven was so impressed with his playing that he dedicated his ninth violin sonata to him. Kreutzer considered Beethoven's sonata unplayable, however, and so never performed it.

The early concertos show the influence of his teacher, Anton Stamitz, and of the italian virtuoso Giovanni Battista Viotti who he met in 1782, but of the 20 concertos (all composed 1801-10) the later works show an individual voice emerging. Albrecht Breuninger has also released a set of three late concertos (#15, 18 & 19) with Alun Francis and the Southwest German Radio Orchestra on CPO 777188-2.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Concerto Premieres

|
Caprice CAP21644

Per Gunnar Fredrik de Frumerie
(1908-1987)

Cello Concerto, Op. 81 (1984)
Violin Concerto, Op. 19 (1976)
13 Symphonic Variations, Op. 25 (1941)

Mats Lindström, cello
Tobias Ringborg, violin
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Lü Jia
Caprice CAP21644

Often compared to Lars-Erik Larsson or Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, the Swede Gunnar de Frumerie took up the Romantic baton from countrymen Hugo Alfvén and Ture Rangström. The works on this disc are at times modern sounding, but with gentle orchestrations that are never congested. The symphonic variations, especially, display Frumerie's command of orchestral colors. The concertos are virtuosic, without being aggressive.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan ]

Schubert Redux

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CPO 999424

Felix Weingartner
(1863-1942)

Violin Concerto in G Major, Op. 52 (1911) 1

Franz Schubert
(1797-1828)

Symphony in E Major, D. 729 (1821),
arranged by Weingartner

1 Laurent Albrecht Breuninger, violin
SWR Radio Orchestra, Kaiserslautern/Alun Francis
CPO 999424-2 67:55

Although written in the same year that Mahler died, Weingartner's concerto is very much of the previous century and is a Romantic work which allows the soloist plenty of scope for technical and emotional display. The symphony, sometimes known as #7, where it fits appropriately, is another that Schubert discarded, having orchestrated only a part of the first movement. Various attempts at scoring it have been made, Weingartner's being the best-known. The arrangement for the most part is appropriately Schubertian and provides a work that deserves more frequent outings. Recordings of it have been few, but this one offers it in the best light.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by Weingartner: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Yet Another Franck

|
Audite 20.034

Eduard Franck
(1817-1893)

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 57 (1860)
Symphony in B Flat Major, Op. 52 (1856)

Christiane Edinger, violin
Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hans-Peter Frank
Audite 20.034 60:04

Eduard Franck was a German composer who was unrelated to the Belgian César Franck. The concerto has many similarities to Beethoven's, and the symphony has more than a trace of Mendelssohn and Schumann. Both works make an enjoyable change from some perhaps too familiar works of the period. The same artists perform the Violin Concerto, Op. 30, and the Symphony in A Major, Op. 47, on a Fermate CD (FER20025) which appears to have been deleted but which some web searching might find.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]

Stanford Concertos

|
Lyrita SRCD321

Charles Villiers Stanford
(1852-1924)

Cello Concerto in D minor (1879-80)
Piano Concerto #3 in E Flat Major, Op. 171 (1919)

Alexander Baillie, cello
Malcolm Binns, piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite
Lyrita SRCD321 65:23

The Irish composer Stanford had considerable influence on the course of music in England. These concertos are among his least-known works. The cello concerto is quite lush and rhapsodic while the piano concerto sounds more French, inviting comparison with the Saint-Saëns concertos. The first two piano concertos are available from Hyperion (CDA66820) and Chandos (CHAN8736).

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Rich Harmonies and Languorous Melodies

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Chandos CHAN10452

Cyril Scott
(1879-1970)

Cello Concerto (1937)
Symphony #1 (1899)

Paul Watkins, cello
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Chandos CHAN10452 58:04

Some will have encountered Scott's piano music but only in recent years has much of his orchestral output been recorded. The lyrical and attractive cello concerto contrasts well with the effervescent first symphony, which sounds much like Stanford. Chandos has recorded the other three symphonies – the second in its reworking as Three Dances – his two concertos for piano, the violin concerto and some short orchestral works.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Ecstatic Lyricism

|
CPO 777287-2

Gian Francesco Malipiero
(1882-1973)

Variazioni senza tema (1923)
Piano Concerto #1 (1934)
Piano Concerto #2 (1937)
Piano Concerto #3 (1948)
Piano Concerto #4 (1950)
Piano Concerto #5 (1958)
Piano Concerto #6 (1964)

Sandro Ivo Bartoli, piano
Saarbr├╝cken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michele Carulli
CPO 777287-2 2SACDs

Malipiero was an extremely prolific composer amd perhaps the most individual Italian voice of his generation. His music is at times similar to that of his contemporaries such as Casella and Pizzetti, but a certain ecstatic lyricism gives his music an unmistakable appeal. The piano concertos, relatively conservative in style and all but unknown, attain at times a shimmering, virtuosic quality.

[ Available on Multichannel Hybrid SACD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]
Trumpet