Gabriel Pierné is better known as a composer of miniatures and this discovery of a full blooded piano concerto together with three other rare works is indeed a wonderful surprise.
Stephen Coombs provides a barnstorming interpretation of this beautiful work which really deserves much more exposure. The opening Allegro is replete with some wonderful themes culminating in a glorious coda which leads onto the deft and nimble Scherzando. The Finale is also heroic in content and Corp's direction ensures a rip-roaring conclusion. This is true enjoyment for the concerto lover.
The other works are no less impressive in content. The Poeme symphonique contains thirteen minutes of rambling discourse between piano and orchestra whilst the Fantasie Ballet is more attuned to the style which is normally associated with this composer. The disc is concluded with an intriguing Scherzo-caprice that also finds Coombs on top form.
The recording is excellently balanced and my only qualm lies with the short playing time of just over 50 minutes. Surely, another concerto from the period could have not been found? Otherwise a sincere thumbs up to Volume 34 in this fantastic series.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech