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Williamson: Complete Piano Concertos [Piers Lane, Howard Shelley] [Hyperion: CDA68011/2] Double CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Double CD, 3 Mar 2014
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Product details

  • Conductor: Howard Shelley
  • Composer: Malcolm Williamson
  • Audio CD (3 Mar. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00HPZZOCW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,734 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No 1 in A major | Poco lento Allegro Poco lento [6'53]
  2. Piano Concerto No 1 in A major | Andantino [6'06]
  3. Piano Concerto No 1 in A major | Poco presto [5'10]
  4. Concerto for two pianos and string orchestra in A minor with HOWARD SHELLEY piano | Allegro ma non troppo [7'07]
  5. Concerto for two pianos and string orchestra in A minor with HOWARD SHELLEY piano | Lento [7'46]
  6. Concerto for two pianos and string orchestra in A minor with HOWARD SHELLEY piano | Allegro vivo [4'57]
  7. Piano Concerto No 2 in F sharp minor | Allegro con brio [4'23]
  8. Piano Concerto No 2 in F sharp minor | Andante lento [7'09]
  9. Piano Concerto No 2 in F sharp minor | Allegro con spirito [4'15]

Disc: 2

  1. Piano Concerto No 3 in E flat major | Toccata | Allegro [7'02]
  2. Piano Concerto No 3 in E flat major | Allegro (Allegretto) [5'40]
  3. Piano Concerto No 3 in E flat major | Molto largo e cantando [12'32]
  4. Piano Concerto No 3 in E flat major | Ben allegro [4'51]
  5. Sinfonia concertante in F sharp major | Crotchet = 76 [5'29]
  6. Sinfonia concertante in F sharp major | Andante lento [5'33]
  7. Sinfonia concertante in F sharp major | Presto [6'45]
  8. Piano Concerto No 4 in D major | Allegro [5'39]
  9. Piano Concerto No 4 in D major | Andante piacevole [5'44]
  10. Piano Concerto No 4 in D major | Allegro vivo con fuoco [3'29]

Product description

Product Description

A real rarity from Hyperion's Anglo-Australian artistic collaboration: music by an Australian composer who was once at the heart of the English establishment.

Malcolm Williamson was one of many Australian creative artists who relocated to Britain in the mid-twentieth century. Within a decade of settling in London he had established a reputation as one of the most gifted and prolific composers of his generation. His stature as a leading figure within the British music scene was publicly acknowledged in 1975 when he was appointed to the esteemed post of Master of the Queen's Music in succession to Sir Arthur Bliss. But today he is almost forgotten and his music virtually never performed.

This double-album set of the complete Piano Concertos is therefore an important document as well as a compendium of deeply appealing music. Williamson wrote with a generosity of emotion and melodic flair rare in the mid-twentieth century, in a forward-looking idiom. The third concerto is perhaps the masterpiece, a huge and complex work. The fourth was written in 1993/4 and appears here as its world premiere performance and recording. Piers Lane, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Howard Shelley are the ideal performers of these unjustly neglected works.

Review

Williamson, a London-based Australian, had the worst attack of composer's block in modern times. Appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 1975, he failed to deliver new pieces in time for royal occasions, or much else of performable quality, until his death in 2003. He had been, before that, moderately successful. He took his language from middle-period Stravinsky with occasional nods to Boulez as if to show he knew what was going on around him. His music was tuneful, well-made and warmhearted. Williamson wrote six concertos for his instrument, the piano, two with string ensemble, four with full orchestra. The chance to hear them performed as a series is intriguing, the more so by a pianist of Piers Lane's sensitivity. The most engaging work is a two-piano concerto in A minor from 1971, where four hands add a dash of tension and the central Lento movement is genuinely arresting. The strings of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra could do with extra polish and the recording balance with better focus. Williamson deserves to be heard more, in better works and playing conditions. *** RECORD OF THE WEEK --Sinfini Music, 14/3/14

Piers lane is the tireless soloist, crisply percussive or touchingly lyrical as required, and Howard Shelley conducts with efficiency and conviction. Performance **** Recording *** --BBC Music Magazine, May'14

Performances are very good indeed and Piers Lane and Howard Shelley are persuasive advocates for this music. --IRR,April'14

What is memorable is Lane's playing. Whether dazzling or reflective, he shows a total empathy for Williamson. He is superbly partnered by Shelley and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. --Gramophone, May'14

Performances are very good indeed and Piers Lane and Howard Shelley are persuasive advocates for this music. --IRR,April'14


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on 23 March 2014
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