Among the "pre-romantics" that flourished in their day, Ignaz Moscheles certainly ranks as one of the most important composers for the piano that has quite sadly fallen into oblivion under the adamantine divisions of western classical music of today.
Championed by Beethoven, he was both a protégé and to some extent Beethoven's contemporary, but the influence of his development in the piano's lexicon far outstretched his exact contemporary, Schubert. This comes as little surprise, as Moscheles was primarily a virtuoso pianist-composer, who was, not just adept at writing solo piano music but also of the larger concerto form.
That it has not secured a place in the concert repertoire is a mystery and shame; the sublime G minor concerto deserves special mention and the highest recommendation to rank beside those of Beethoven's, Chopin's or Schumman's, for its sheer beauty and masterly cohesion of themes; both pianistically and in terms of orchestration. The first movement introduces a brooding theme by the strings, followed by a Lisztian/Schummanesque introduction in descending, dotted-rhythm octaves. The ensuing theme happens not to be a new theme, but a reiteration of the first theme announced broodingly by the strings. The second lyrical theme of languid beauty, albeit in diaphanous simplicity is repeated several times in the movement as the leitmotiv and lyrical respite, that at times undergoes sublime inversions and harmonic variation.
Except for the developmental section, the entire pianistic writing of the movement is not overtly virtuosic, and in this sense, the approach is very similar to say Schumann. The entire movement has more affinity and foreshadows Schumman and Liszt, more than Chopin.
The second movement astounds for its ethereal beauty, with a piano writing and harmonic language that must have enraptured the young Chopin. Moscheles' confidence shines through, right up to the last movement, quite unarguably the most virtuosic and challenging of the three. That Moscheles held a high opinion of this work is supported by his choice to perform it for his last public performance during the apogee (arguably the saturation point) of Romanticism, at the time when he had no doubt, been eclisped by the ebb and tide of younger vituosi.
The second concerto in E flat major is an attractive work that blazes with ebullience and excursions of a new musical language. Departing from the more conservative first concerto; this work shows prescient Romanticism with no holds barred, following hot on the heels of John Field, perhaps with ever more dazzling virtuosity.
A definitive work in the series to own.