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Romantic Piano Concertos, Vol.15 CD

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Stephen Coombs
  • Orchestra: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jean Yves Ossonce
  • Composer: Reynaldo Hahn, Jules Massenet
  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000002ZYF
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,652 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Andante Moderato - Allegro Non Troppo
2. Largo
3. Airs Slovaques: Allegro
4. Improvisation: Modere tres librement
5. Danse: Vif
6. Reverie, Toccata et Finale: Lent - Gai, fortement rythme (pas trop vite) - Allegro

Product Description

Product Description

Jules Massenet : Concerto pour piano en mi bémol majeur (1903) - Reynaldo Hahn : Concerto pour piano en mi majeur (1931) / Stephen Coombs, piano - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, dir. Jean-Yves Ossonce


'These really are very good performances of two mystifyingly neglected gems of the repertoire' --BBC Record Review

'Heavenly Hahn in this latest addition to this treasure of a series' --Classic CD

'If you'd sooner have fraises des bois and crème Chantilly rather than foie gras and trumpets, this is for you' --Gramophone

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Oct. 2001
Format: Audio CD
Once discovered you will wish that Reynaldo Hahn had composed as much instrumental and orchestral music as he did for song, theatre and operetta.
Whilst I am not a trained musician, this masterpiece seems to allow little respite for the pianist from whom is demanded some extraordinary pianistic ability. Clearly not for the faint-hearted!
Said to be generally in a major key (E major), to my ear this is very unclear. From start to finish the thematic material entertains us with intervals, accidentals and key changes that surprise and delight. The orchestra often seeming beautifully dissonant with the piano.
In the first movement, what begins as the most simplest of motifs is developed and exchanged between the piano and orchestra and woven delicately, even against the occasional orchestral staccato type secondary theme. After a recapitulation the music enters a distinctive last section with further repeats of the original theme that develops into truly exciting finale to the first movement. One is left amazed!
The short second movement trips along in just as delightful and spirited fashion giving way to the last movement's sad, reflective and poignant theme drawn from the first movement. This material is also developed in the orchestra which juxtaposes with the original first movement theme on the piano. To me there seem many key changes that are delightfully un-subtle to coin a phase.
Eventually the final section determines that we are definitely back to the major. At last we think; but are we sure? More surprise and delight befalls us as the piano moves up and down scales - but what scales are these? However, major definitely arrives when restating the original themes and the music concludes with brilliant short crescendo. Truly a breathtaking musical experience.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very highly recommended. Read previous reviewers opinions on this series of discs and am presently working my way through the best recommendations by review. Never heard these before and give me a great deal of pleasure each time they are played.
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By John D. Coldwell on 18 Sept. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Massenet takes all 23 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Each CD of Hyperion's "Romantic Piano Concerto" series usually pairs a very satisfying, well structured concerto with one that is more overtly showy yet more loosely structured musically. In this case it is the Hahn concerto which is the more loosely structured one. It is certainly interesting harmonically (some progressions sound like early Debussy, though much less subtle), and the solo part is certainly quite flashy, but structurally it is quite shoddy. Too often does the work wonder around aimlessly, living from moment to moment while sacrificing overall coherence and narrative drive. If you have a taste for such virtuoso-centered concerti perhaps you will find the Hahn more eventful than I did.
The Massenet concerto, on the other hand, is quite a find. Anyone who knows and loves his operas (I have a weakness for "Werther" myself) will find this work irresistible. Unsurprisingly, the work is full of lovely themes -- the main theme of the second movement is particularly memorable. But Massenet is also careful to develop his motives in a logical manner, ensuring a healthy sense of narrative. The work is mainly lyrical (almost sugary, but it *just* escapes being sentimental), though there are also more vigorous sections too, such as the middle section of the second movement and most of the lively "Slavic" finale. The performances are for the most part excellent, with only a few faults here and there (such as the final high violin note in the second movement of the Massenet). Sound is splendid (as usual for Hyperion). For me, the Massenet concerto is certainly worth the price.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Two Beautiful Piano Concertos 11 Jan. 2000
By David A. Wend - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The two concertos on this disc deserve much more attention than they have been given. They are beautiful works with wonderfully conceived melodies. Massenet and Hahn did not write what could be termed 'profound' concertos like Beethoven or Brahms but they are charming and unforgetable. Both concertos are expertly played and Mr. Combs has the right interpretation. These concertos have become favorites of mine.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Airs Slovaques: You'll be hooked 16 Nov. 2008
By Gerhard Griesel - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I can highly recommend this CD. Although the two concertos, especially the Hahn concerto, are not memorable, I can guarantee that you will not tire of this CD in your collection. As with all recordings in this Hyperion collection of 'The Romantic Piano Concerto' the sound quality is of the very highest caliber and the performance is faultless. As with the other recordings in the series, the volume level of the piano is JUST right.

The third movement of the Massenet concerto (Airs Slovaques), although only seven minutes long, is one of the most beautiful sections of piano concerto music I have ever heard. Like me, you'll be hooked.

As a whole, I would have liked the volume level of the tympani to be higher, but that does not deter from a technically brilliant recording.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A must for those who love the piano. 14 Jun. 2013
By Maria M. Foreman - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this CD for my husband, whose favorite musical instrument is the piano. I wanted to increase his piano music collection with a piece by a composer, Hahn, with whose music not many are familiar. We were very pleasantly surprised and wondered why his music is not played more often in concert halls.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
pleasant listening 8 Aug. 2012
By Stanley Crowe - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Four stars for Steven Coombs's performances of music that is pleasant, well-wrought, but finally not memorable. It might sound cruel to say, but I found Coombs's program notes in the booklet almost more interesting than the concertos themselves. I didn't know that Hahn was a pupil of Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire. Nonetheless, Hyperion is to be commended for this series, "The Romantic Piano Concertos." They are well-produced, well-played, and well recorded, and they provide a valuable context against which to hear works of more distinction -- the Saint Saens concertos, the Tchaikovsky concertos, the Grieg and Schumann, for example. On this recording I enjoyed the second and third movements of the Massenet and the improvisitory opening movement of the Hahn. But I miss the lack of interesting development of solo and orchestral material that one gets in Brahms and Schumann, for example.
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