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58
4.7 out of 5 stars
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2008
Well, the music critics won't like this one, but if you already know Nigel Hess's music (Ladies in Lavender, Food of Love and all his extensive television work) then you'll know what to expect - great tunes, beautifully orchestrated - and, in this instance, superbly played by global piano virtuoso Lang Lang. This is heart-on-sleeve stuff, and none the worse for that. The slow movement is derivative (Rachmaninov meets the Warsaw Concerto) but this is writing that is immediately accessible, and will appeal to a huge audience. A real treat.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Nigel Hess's piano concerto was commissioned in memory of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: hence the somewhat portentous titles for each of the movements. It is a shame that it occupies a CD all on its own (at under 23 minutes) and it would make an excellent coupling with Howard Blake's, the latter piece having been dedicated to Princess Diana.

Hess is primarily a film music composer, and clearly needed the `hook' of a extra-musical concept in order to get his creative juices flowing, however he wouldn't be alone amongst composers in this. Certainly the concerto itself shows no signs of being any kind of detailed narrative.

If you're expecting a deep and intellectual work, then this isn't for you, but if you value melodic interest and an effective ear for orchestration (i.e. good tunes and a full orchestra) then this concerto is very much for you. Yes, it's derivative in places, but at the same time it holds the attention and isn't afraid of direct communication.

Lang Lang isn't exactly a shrinking violet, and he plays with conviction. The London Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christopher Warren-Green similarly play with passion.

On a less positive note, this is very poorly packaged: It takes more than the soloist to play a concerto- a pity the orchestra and conductor were hidden amongst the small print!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This CD is a delight. If you enjoy romantic piano concertos, like those of Grieg, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Saint-Saens, for example, you will love this music. Lang Lang is a sensitive and accomplished pianist and you cannot fail to love this work and the performance. Nigel Hess is better known for providing incidental music to TV series but he acquits himself admirably here. The slow second movement of the concerto is entrancing. The only reason I have knocked off the fifth star is that the concerto is the only work on the disc and with a total running time of only 24 min, it's just as well that this CD is sold at a budget price.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2011
I first heard this piece late one evening on the radio and was captivated by the gentle recurring theme which was played throughout.The three movements , The Smile , The Love and The Duty are brilliantly played by Lang Lang and the compositions by Nigel Hess outstanding.The music is an absolute delight to listen too at any time though I found it was just the perfect music to unwind too as a nightcap .I enjoyed it for its restful and soothing sound,most wonderful and endearing and with an air of calmness and serenity .I would highly recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2011
Very romantic, tuneful.
Especially the second movement is sublime.
Yes it would have been nice to have something else on the cd as it is short. However still music is brilliant.
Well done Nigel.(and Lang)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2010
As an ardent Lang Lang fan I gave this,to me,unknown concerto a hearing.It was composed by Nigel Hess,Grandson of Dame Myra Hess,on Prince Charles request, to commemorate the life of His Grandmother ,the Queen Mum. Listen to it a couple of times and you start to follow the story the composer is trying to convey.A very interesting composition and,because of the price, well worth gamble to listen to a new "favourite".Hess wrote at times like 1st movement-Chopin,2nd Rachmaninov`and finally Holst. Buy it .You`ll enjoy it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2011
I'm not a classical buff at all, so look upon this review as a layman's comment.
I heard track 2 "The Love" on Classic FM as I was flicking through the channels and enjoyed it so much I went straight online and bought it. I learnt that the music was composed to celebrate the Queen Mum's life.
Tracks 1 and 3 are starting to grow on me but they don't have the melodic impact of track 2.
The piano part at the beginning of Track 1 "The Smile" seems to me to be to be overblown, almost as though Lang Lang was saying "Hey look at me! See how fast I can play the piano!" (I'm sure he wasn't, however). I can see the composer's attempt to catch the twinkling in the Queen Mum's eyes, but it leaves me cold. As the track progresses this element is pushed back in the mix and redemption is acheived.
Track 3; "The Duty", also seems to me to be trying to be too clever, with an unusual bass syncopation, although again as the track progresses the odd bass line recedes and a rather nice martial tune is revealed.
All in all a great listen, but track 2 always steals the show.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2010
This was the first time I ever bought music via a download route. I was very impressed and am pleased with it.

MANY THANKS!

Helen Bawden
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2011
very pleased with the recording i must have saved 50% on what i would have payed at hmv. i knew i wasn't getting anywhere in the shop as the assistant replied after i asked about this particular recording by lang lang , who's lang lang?
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on 28 May 2015
I tend to have a bit of a problem with "star" performers in classical music particularly when they are given more prominence than the music they are performing and interpose their personality between me and the composer. For that reason I have managed to remain immune to the cult of Lang Lang and I still think he is over-rated. From a superficial look at the CD liner you'd be forgiven for thinking he had performed this concerto without the assistance of an orchestra and conductor which just about says it all. Having said that I swallowed my aversion to Mr Lang and bought the CD as a present for my wife who fell in love with the concerto when we heard it on the car radio. It is a beautiful piece, the best description I can think of is Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto meets Chopin's First Piano Concerto with a bit of help from Bernard Herrmann. The melodies are gorgeous and to give Lang Lang his due he plays magnificently with the very able support of the near-anonymous London Chamber Orchestra under Christopher Warren-Green. Lang Lang's many fans will probably already have this recording but even if you feel the same way about him as me the music itself is good enough and attractive enough to buy the CD anyway. Just be careful how much you pay for only 24 minutes of music.
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