Dussek: The Classical Piano Concerto, Vol. 1 - Piano Concerto in G Major, Op. 1 No. 3 / Piano Concerto in C Major, Op. 29 / Piano Concerto in E Flat Major, Op. 70
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Following on from Hyperion's hugely popular ‘Romantic Piano Concerto' series, the ‘Classical Piano Concerto' focuses on the lesser-known concertos from the dawn of the genre. Between about 1770 and 1820—the high classical period dominated by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven—musicians including Clementi, Cramer, Dussek, Steibelt, Woelfl and others made their names as composers and performers of piano concertos. This series aims to be the first in-depth recorded survey of this forgotten repertoire.
This first volume features three of Bohemian virtuoso Jan Ladislav Dussek's eighteen piano concertos, taken from different points in his career. As a group, these pieces are a fascinating study, with most of the earlier works largely reflecting the Mozartian model, and the later ones revealing stylistic traits sometimes at odds with the late eighteenth century conception of the form, and anticipating future developments in the genre. There could be no finer guide to the hidden gems of this repertoire than Howard Shelley, whose recordings of Clementi keyboard works, and Mozart and Hummel piano concertos, have received such acclaim. He appears here as pianist / conductor with the Ulster Orchestra.
Splendid and sparkling. --Pianist, Aug'14
Granted,the concertos are not as striking as Dussek's best piano sonatas, they are rewarding works nonetheless,and they sound especially effective in the persuasive hands of Howard Shelley. A sure-fire hit. --IRR, Sept'14
This disc presents three refreshing and delightful pieces to launch a new classical piano concerto series from Hyperion. One must applaud both Hyperion's enterprise and Shelley's dedication to bring this music to our attention. The next volume of this series is eagerly awaited. **** --International Pianist, Jan / Feb'15
Top customer reviews
The 2-movement G Major concerto starts the well-filled CD. The Rondo I found particularly attractive.
The 3-movement C Major concerto follows. The first movement reminded me at times a little of one of the Mendelssohn concertos of 2 pianos. To my mind the first and second movements of this concerto was less memorable than the G Major. The Rondo is again attractive - the 'highlight movement' of the piece for me - again reminding me of Mendelssohn.
The CD concludes with the 3-movement E flat concerto - at just over 30 minutes the longest piece on the CD. The first movement is certainly appealing once the piano enters after a rather long orchestral introduction. In second half of the first movement I felt that in one or two passages the performance would perhaps benefit from a slightly faster tempo. However this was soon contrasted with much faster interludes. In the slow movement, I again felt in places the tempo could perhaps have benefited from being a little faster The Rondo that concludes this concerto is a again very attractive - and certainly my favourite movement of this concerto. The tempi here seem fine to me.
The concertos sound to me somewhat similar to Mozart piano concertos. Performance is on modern instruments, with a small modern orchestra (The Ulster Orchestra) directed from the keyboard by the pianist Howard Shelley. It is difficult to comment on tempi when works are unfamiliar, but they seem, with exceptions noted above, to be well judged to me.
The recording is well up to Hyperion's usual standards, with the piano just slightly forward in the mix so that it is well heard, alongside the orchestra. If you enjoy Mozart piano concertos then I suspect you'll enjoy these Dussek concertos. Well done to Hyperion for giving us a chance to hear them well preformed and recorded. I'm certainly looking forward to further releases in the series.
There are three works here. The first of the featured concertos (in G) is from about 1783 and has two movements that leave you wanting more; the guiding spirit, I thought on hearing it, was Haydn rather than Mozart. The second (in C) is from 1795 but to my ear sounds quite like Hummel rather than Mozart. The third (in E flat), which is later, has the best tunes and demands to be heard again; no one comparator comes to mind except perhaps Ries, whose concertos (on Naxos) are also a good listen.
A splendid start to this new series.
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