I can't remember now where I heard a bit of the Piano Concerto in D Major, which comprises the first three tracks of this CD, but regardless, I quickly wrote down the composer's name, and purchased the CD. What a discovery. Have you ever heard of Rontgen? We should have. If you love romantic piano concertos, this is a gem. I wish I was more adept with using words to describe music, but for me, it's all about the feeling. The word that comes to mind when I listen to this CD is joyous. The concerto in D is a big and powerful piece, but it's just so sweet at the same time. The man could compose - and from the little information that I've found about him on the internet, he composed A LOT - something like 800 pieces, of which only a few have been published, and fewer still are available on CD. Of the 20-odd piano concertos, only the two (or three, see below) on this CD appear to be available.
The fourth through seventh tracks on the CD are, per the notes, two concertos that sort of form a single piece. (The labeling of the tracks in the notes isn't very clear, apparently because the score was never published during Rontgen's lifetime.) But like the COncerto in D major, the music is also joyous - it's clear that Rontgen was in love with the creation and the performance of this music.
Some might claim that this music is derivative, and coming at the end of the romantic era, it surely reflects Rontgen's influences - he was friends with Grieg and Brahms, after all. But so what? It deserves to be considered on its merits, and from that perspective, it's simply beautiful music. The sad thing, for me, is contemplating the fact that a man who was clearly so talented, and so productive, could have faded into near oblivion. What a shame. As a fan of the romantic piano concerto, I am thankful that Hyperion has taken on the task of resurrecting forgotten, or seldom heard concerti with its series. Rontgen deserves to be among them.
I just love this music - it brings a joyful tear to my eye. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.