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Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843) CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 56 (Piano Concerto No 2/ 3) (Hyperion: CDA67843)
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  • The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 41  Kalkbrenner 1 & 4
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  • Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 58 (Concerto In C Major/ F Minor) (Howard Shelley; Tazmanian Symphony Orchestra; Howard Shelley) (Hyperion: CDA67915)
Total price: £40.68
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Product details

  • Conductor: Howard Shelley
  • Composer: Friedrich Kalkbrenner
  • Audio CD (27 Feb. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B006RN4PTG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,981 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No 2 in E minor Op 85 [32'58] - Howard Shelley/Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
  2. Piano Concerto No 3 in A minor Op 107 [24'11] - Howard Shelley/Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
  3. Adagio ed Allegro di bravura Op 102 [11'03] - Howard Shelley/Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Product Description

CD Description

If the name Friedrich Kalkbrenner is familiar at all, its probably for his famous suggestion that Chopin would benefit from three years of study with him (a bold offer the Pole wisely turned down). But, as Hyperions ever-expanding Romantic Piano Concerto series has repeatedly shown, received historical opinion and musical quality dont always go hand in hand. With Volume 56 we reach the second and final instalment of Kalkbrenners concertos, dazzlingly played by Howard Shelley, directing the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from the keyboard. For all that Kalkbrenner wasnt afraid to write big, bold orchestral introductions, its when the pianist makes his entry that you realize what a jawdropping player he must have been, with writing of such glittering, glistening panache that it must have had those polite salon ladies reaching for their smelling salts.

Review

Shelley reminds us of why he is suited to this repertoire:the sparkling passagework is impeccably and suavely delivered...Kalkbrenner remains an interesting figure, and these works deserve attention. --International Piano,Mar/Apr 2012

The performances are undoubtedly of the highest calibre...and the recording captures every detail and refinement of Shelley's stunning performances. Kalkbrenner is lucky to have such distinguished exponents. --IRR, Mar'12

Friedrich Kalkbrenner (1785-1849) was a Franco-German composer-pianist whose reputation was eclipsed in his lifetime by Chopin and Liszt, among others. Though his music is variable in inspiration, Chopin liked him, so we can't quite ignore him. The best piece here is the Third Piano Concerto (1829), which delivers several structural surprises: there's no slow movement, though Kalkbrenner slots a self-contained nocturne into the opening allegro. The Second Concerto (1826) is grander and more conservative, while the Adagio and Allegro di Bravura (1830) was a model for Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise four years later. Howard Shelley attacks it all with gleeful extravagance. He is also directing the Tasmanian Symphony from the piano as he plays music of often atrocious difficulty, which is something of a tour de force in itself. It's great fun. *** --Guardian, 08/03/12

Shelley is a formidable presence both as soloist and conductor --Gramophone,May'12

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Miss on 24 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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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.
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Purchased as a gift for someone with more musical knowledge than me. First heard an extract on Classic FM otherwise the composer is new to me. Very interesting almost contemporary with Mozart. Still to hear some of the disc.
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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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I bought the CD on the basis of having enjoyed the Kalkbrenner 1st and 4th Piano Concertos in the same generally excellent Hyperion series of Romantic Piano Concertos. If you liked the 1st and 4th, then you will know what to expect and will no doubt find the 2nd and 3rd to your taste. Personally, I don't think the 2nd and 3rd are quite so memorable, but they still make for very pleasant listening. I wonder if Hyperion might be tempted to issue a CD of Piano solo works by Kalkbrenner?
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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 firmly into territory where the reasons for the works' neglect are all too obvious. Having played this CD once I have no great desire ever to do so again. The best I can say is that first movement of Concerto No.2 is quite attractive in a vacuous, instantly forgettable sort of way. The rest of the music is simply instantly forgettable. None of this is intended as criticism of Howard Shelley or his Tasmanian orchestra whose playing is beyond criticism. It's just a pity the music isn't more worthy of their enormous skill and I'm still wondering why they bothered. The amusing sleeve notes are the best part of the package.
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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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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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