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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good listening.
I had heard this composer's music on Classic FM and wanted to hear more. It is easy to listen to and beautifully played. I would recommend it to anyone who loves music.
Published 16 months ago by Lightning

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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Glitter but no substance
I bought this CD on impulse having heard the first movement of Concerto No.2 on the car radio. Frankly I wish i hadn't bothered. In its early days the Romantic Piano Concerto series was a treasury of inexplicably neglected masterpieces. (The concertos by Medtner, Paderewski and Moszkowski particularly spring to mind). Unfortunately, having reached Volume 56 we're now...
Published on 5 April 2012 by Dr. David Griffiths


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good listening., 11 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
I had heard this composer's music on Classic FM and wanted to hear more. It is easy to listen to and beautifully played. I would recommend it to anyone who loves music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classical Piano., 17 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
This is the first time I've come across the clearly neglected composer Kalkbrenner and found these Concertos a revelation, full of melody and precision playing. In the reviews I have subsequently read the composer has been described as being very conceited. I don't understand how his personality should be considered when reviewing his work. If we applied that principle to all composers there wouldn't be much left to listen to. I for one am certainly going to seek out more of his work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Shelley, Kalkbrenner piano concertos, 2 July 2013
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N. A. Shaw (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
Another of Mr Shelley's scintillating performances of the works of an unjustly neglected but masterly composer. A truly worthwhile CD
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kalkbrenner should be heard more., 7 July 2014
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Valerie Thame (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
Gorgeous music. Kalkbrenner not a household name but his music is equal to the big names, Rachmaninov etc. True romantics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Piano Concerto, 10 May 2014
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
Lovely music first heard a couple of weeks ago on classic fm. Arrived quickly and so easy to buy directly linked from classic fm website
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5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Piano Concerto, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
Heard Mr Kalkbrenners Piano Concertos on the radio and was most impressed so I decided to find out more and then went on line and bought the CD its great most enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The music is wonderful. Howard Shelley's playing is sublime, 26 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
The music is wonderful. Howard Shelley's playing is sublime. His only problem is that he doesn't have an unpronounceable name.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Piano Concerto No. 2 (1826) - rediscovered, 24 April 2013
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
The composer Friedrich Kalkbrenner (probably because of his great contemporary success and arrogant personal attitude) has been ruthlessly attacked and trivialised by music critics. However the lyrical quality of this demanding piece, excellently played by Howard Shelley deserves popularity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 24 Sep 2012
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Miss (Saffron Walden, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
Like other reviewers, I heard part of one of these pieces on the radio, and decided to buy it. I had a look at the reviews first, but am glad I ignored most of them and went ahead with the purchase. I really enjoy this (and the other Kalkbrenner CD). Although it might not be considered deep or challenging, who wants to always be listening to that sort of music, sometimes all you want is something light and beautiful. One person also said they couldn't remember any tune after listening to this - I disagree, the final piece in this disc I have had on repeat in my car, it is a fantastic tune, and seems to have echos of Symphonie Fantastique (which came first?). Thoroughly recommended
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two frothy but entertaining late Classical/early Romantic Concertos., 6 April 2012
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someonewhocares2 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) (Audio CD)
I hope you don't mind if I quote from my review of Hyperion's first disc of Kalkbrenner's piano concertos:

Friedrich Kalkbrenner (1785-1849) was another of those early 19th century pianists who composed concertos as vehicles for their own virtuosity. According to the notes which come with this disc he was born in a post-chaise somewhere between Berlin and Kassel and grew up at the court of Prince Heinrich in Rheinsberg where his father was choirmaster. Later he studied in Paris and also in Vienna where he played duets with Hummel and met Beethoven and Clementi. He also came to England, living in Bath and London where, apparently, he used to charge a guinea for 40 minute piano lessons, the highest rate in the city. He made more money by buying into the "Chiroplast", a mechanical device which was fitted to the piano and restricted vertical movement of the arms and wrists. He eventually returned to France dying near Paris in 1849, a victim of that year's cholera epidemic.

As a man, Kalkbrenner was famous for his vanity and the entertaining notes recount a number of amusing incidents which illustrate this. He told Chopin that "after my death or when I stop playing there will be no representative of the great pianoforte school". Clara Schumann thought that he always looked as though he were saying, "Oh, God, I and all mankind must thank Thee that Thou hast created a mind like mine!"

Yet there is no doubt that, as a pianist, Kalkbrenner had a fabulous technique. The piano writing in the concertos on this disc bear this out. He was not, however, a composer of the first rank and you should not investigate these concertos before you know those of his great contemporaries. Kalkbrenner's music is fairly anonymous in style and, if you know the concertos by Herz, Moscheles or Hummel which Shelley has recorded for Hyperion and Chandos you'll know what to expect. Frankly, it would be difficult to draw any real stylistic distinctions between these composers' concertos.

Kalkbrenner's Second Concerto dates from 1826. It is an ambitious work (and I don't just mean long!) of 33 minutes duration which is well worth getting to know. In fact, it strikes me as being one of the best of the late Classical/early Romantic concertos that Howard Shelley has been disinterring for Hyperion. Whatever Kalkbrenner may say, the first movement is hardly "maestoso" but the opening tutti, though not outstanding melodically, is well sustained and there is plenty to divert the ear. (Kalkbrenner was a clear and colourful orchestrator.) A new theme is reserved for the piano after which the soloist's exposition proceeds regularly. The linking material (what one of my professors used to call the "noodles"), though obviously designed for display and, as a result, far less well integrated into the surrounding music than would be the case in a Mozart or Beethoven concerto, is varied and imaginative. The brief development is built on the final phrase of the exposition (it incorporates the rhythm of the main theme) and the recapitulation eventually begins at 9 mins 19 secs. It is regular, though the tune which had been reserved for the soloist is bypassed.

Whatever Jeremy Nicholas says in the booklet, I don't think the main theme of the slow movement comes "perilously close" to that of the finale of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony though I see what he means. This is a ternary structure with a coda. It is attractive though not really memorable and, of course, slow movements provide far fewer opportunities for pianistic display.

The 12 minute finale is a clear sonata rondo. The development section (beginning at 5 mins 44 secs) is impressively dramatic and is followed by an almost Beethovenian cadenza. Surprisingly, at 11 mins 29 secs, Kalkbrenner makes a fleeting reference to the main theme of the first movement thus nicely bringing the concerto full circle.

The first movement apart, the Third Piano Concerto (1829) is on a smaller scale. It opens with a 14 minute sonata form movement. The second theme is an attractive little march tune. The development section begins with a lyrical Chopinesque passage (Chopin was greatly influenced by Kalkbrenner and considered becoming his pupil) and then a tonally wide-ranging treatment of the main theme. At 9 mins 45 secs there is a brief reference to the march tune before the regular recapitulation begins. Kalkbrenner dodges the slow movement problem by writing a 2 1/2 minute introduction to the 7 minute rondo finale. This is a less impressive movement than the finale of the Second Concerto (there is no Beethovenian diversion) but it does not outstay its welcome. Unusually, the main theme does not return after the final episode.

The 11 minute "Adagio ed Allegro di Bravura" is, of course, more of the same. Again, to counterbalance all the froth, there are some tonal surprises and also a brief contrapuntal passage. Without a first movement, though, this piece does seem a bonbon too far.

The Second Concerto in particular is worth getting to know, then, but you must accept both for what they are...virtuoso late Classical concertos which, although they employ Romantic techniques, only reveal a very occasional flash of Romantic passion. Shelley and his Tasmanian forces are, as always, beyond criticism and the recording is excellent.
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