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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Allegro barbaro scotiae
If you're looking for local colour, Eric Chisholm's piano concertos are a boon. Just released by Hyperion Records with the adaptable Danny Driver, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Rory Macdonald, the man known as a 'MacBartók' is given a dazzling showcase. While the works can't quite match the existential enquiry of Chisholm's Hungarian counterpart, there is...
Published on 6 April 2012 by Entartete Musik

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Colourful performances
Seriously good playing from Danny Driver doesn't really make the concertos true concertos to my mind. They are colourful in their musical language, but just as you're getting hold of where the composer is going I kept feeling short changed.
I don't know why Chisholm is known as MacBartok....it doesn't seem fair to Bartok to me either in the orchestration or the...
Published on 14 Nov. 2012 by Music Lover


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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Allegro barbaro scotiae, 6 April 2012
This review is from: Chisholm: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 (Hyperion: CDA67880) (Audio CD)
If you're looking for local colour, Eric Chisholm's piano concertos are a boon. Just released by Hyperion Records with the adaptable Danny Driver, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Rory Macdonald, the man known as a 'MacBartók' is given a dazzling showcase. While the works can't quite match the existential enquiry of Chisholm's Hungarian counterpart, there is much to relish here.

The first piano concerto - a work from 1932 (and revised later than decade) - evokes the bagpipes. Members of the BBC Scottish woodwind section given their twisting melodies real bite and swagger, which Danny Driver answers brilliantly in kind. Clipped lombardic rhythms and astringent harmonies evoke the Highlands without ever teetering on mawkish scene painting. This is national music with real guts and Driver living up to his name by providing a percussive snap.

The slow movement has an eerie detachment. Remaining wonderfully aloof here, never capitulating to the balm of the strings, Driver's placement and phrasing is ravishing. Having wanted for a bit more air and space in the first two movements, Macdonald tempers his forces here. It prefaces the Walton-esque finale well and gives its nascent barbarity even more swagger. Driver relishes the syncopations, hurtles through streams of colourful virtuosity and ends with a dazzling display of heft and hubris.

Chisholm is less dogmatically wedded to inspiration in the second concerto. Named 'Hindustani', it eschews easy evocations, instead using a series of r'ga as its impetus. More reflexive than the 'Pìobaireachd' concerto, pianist and orchestra maintain a louche approach. Quasi-improvisatory, communication between the keyboard and the instrumentalist is impressive. But, as in the first concerto, more bestial things are at hand and the finale - marked 'Allegro barbaro' - brings this rediscovery to an invigorating close.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Colourful performances, 14 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Chisholm: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 (Hyperion: CDA67880) (Audio CD)
Seriously good playing from Danny Driver doesn't really make the concertos true concertos to my mind. They are colourful in their musical language, but just as you're getting hold of where the composer is going I kept feeling short changed.
I don't know why Chisholm is known as MacBartok....it doesn't seem fair to Bartok to me either in the orchestration or the rhythmic vitality.
The orchestration is colourful, but this is the third time I have tried Chisholm. The first was a symphony (released on Dutton) that didn't do it for me and the second time was also on Dutton (Pictures of Dante) and that I found to be more convincing of the composer's ability. Maybe I'm a grump, but I prefer my piano concertos to be more gladiatorial than the ones served up here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful discovery, 28 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Chisholm: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 (Hyperion: CDA67880) (Audio CD)
Erik Chisholm is Scotland's forgotten composer .WHY ? These piano concertos show exactly how advanced and original he was and why he should be better known . Unfortunately he has in recent years joined the great panthalon of ignored British composers who are rarely heard because concert programmers ignore them .
There should be a BBC Prom or two entirely devoted to these people .
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3.0 out of 5 stars Scottish forgotten composer Chisholm's idiom reminds us of Bartok, a Hungarian genius, they say., 26 April 2014
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SHIGERU TAKAMORI (Shizuoka, Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chisholm: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 (Hyperion: CDA67880) (Audio CD)
However, his style is not so barbaric like some of Bartok's works, and much more elaborate than them. I think that it is wrong to call him MacBartok. At least, he absorbed various modern techniques from his contemporaries, Arnold Bax, Florent Schmidt and so on. I like Piano Concerto No.1 "Piobaireachd" but the second concerto "Hindustani" is too complicating for me to comprehend its intent.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing!, 26 April 2012
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John Roots - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chisholm: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 (Hyperion: CDA67880) (Audio CD)
Bought this on the strength of a "rave" review in a Sunday newspaper. As a "Scot" and keen on music, I was surprised to hear of a "new composer" that I hadn't come across before. The actual concerti are a bit of a let down. They lack excitement in both composition and delivery by the Orchestra/Conductor. The first concerto is "listenable to" bu the second one "Peebroch" - excuse anglicised spelling of the Gaelic, is simply put, boring and dull. The quality of the actual sounds on the CD is OK, but nothing special in terms of dynamics (and I have a good Hi-Fi) so as a "full price" CD - even after the Amazon discount, I was left kind of wishing I had saved my cash!! Look out for my listing on EBay!
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