8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not to be overlooked,
This review is from: Ferdinand Ries: Piano Concerto; Swedish National Airs with Variations; etc. (Audio CD)
We probably tend to give much attention to Hyperion's The Romantic Piano Concerto series but I can thoroughly advise music lovers to have a look at Naxos' Ries series too. I hope you all will consider these piano concertos.
Naxos has released 4 volumes till now and having a look at Ries' body of work I think one more will follow. What to expect from this master who was very close to Beethoven? His music looks forward to Mendelssohn and looks back to Haydn and Mozart. In his symphonies you'll find much more of Beethoven's influence than in the piano concertos but, although I'd never advise to listen to all of them in one session, they're full of brimming melodies, sometimes fantastic orchestral sonorities and beautiful writing for the wind instrument. Ries can be as explosive as Beethoven but he never seriously develops his melodic and harmonic material like Beethoven does. (Probably in those times B was the only one who could do so, next to Schubert.) Just think of him as a more muscled Hummel or Field. Ries' orchestration technique is much more interesting than say Chopin's and the way he uses the orchestra as an opponent of the piano is not a fight - as in Beethoven - but a pleasant affair, like in many volumes of Hyperion's series (Moscheles for instance). Christopher Hinterhuber and Uwe Grodd are solely responsible for Ries' revival in this genre, all laurels to them. But don't forget Allan Badley who edited much of these works and wrote all the booklet information. Applause to him too. The only inconsistency is the use of 4 different orchestras in 4 different recording venues throughout this series but that doesn't bother me; it only means slightly different recordings and slightly different acoustics. You get used to it.