Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 42

Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 42

by Piers Lane
     
 

For the 42nd entry in its The Romantic Piano Concerto series (is it already really that many?!), Hyperion travels to the chilly land of Norway. The one and only piano concerto from this region of the world -- and it is a very famous one -- that automatically comes to mind is Edvard Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16," a youthful, formally sprawling work that… See more details below

Overview

For the 42nd entry in its The Romantic Piano Concerto series (is it already really that many?!), Hyperion travels to the chilly land of Norway. The one and only piano concerto from this region of the world -- and it is a very famous one -- that automatically comes to mind is Edvard Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16," a youthful, formally sprawling work that stands as a landmark among romantic piano concertos. The concerti by Norwegians Eyvind Alnaes and Christian Sinding postdate the Grieg by at least two decades and are both more concise and assured by comparison, not to mention lush and strongly melodic with big tunes and showy virtuosic stuff for the soloist. For Alnaes, his D major concerto from 1914 is the exception rather than the rule; he was an organist and the most prominent Norwegian art song composer of his day. Alnaes' "Piano Concerto in D major" is the last large-scale work among only a few that he completed. While it superficially evokes the manner of Rachmaninoff, it is pleasant without being particularly engaging. One does not regret Alnaes' investment in song; this concerto confirms that he put the best of himself into his shorter vocal works, though it has its moments and is worth listening to at least one time. Christian Sinding was once viewed as being direct heir to Grieg, although this is wrong -- he was German trained, lived in Germany for nearly four decades, and it shows in his music; if anything he was a lesser heir to Robert Schumann. Sinding's concerto is full of the flashy sprays of virtuosic filigree encountered in his once popular salon piece "Rustle of Spring," and yet that will take far less of one's time than this concerto, dating to 1889 but revised in 1901. It belongs to its era and is an inferior effort in comparison even to the Alnaes in that it's rather dull. Pianist Piers Lane makes the best case imaginable for both concerti; his playing is both sensitive and keen, bringing out the lyric side of the writing while making more ostentatious sections impressive sounding by the mere effortlessness of his handling of them. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, under Andrew Litton, makes a somewhat less than precise impression and is a little loose in spots. These are not essential romantic piano concerti; they both sound nice, but fail to stick with the listener, not a quality one can attribute to the piano concerto of Grieg, despite its flaws in formal construction.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/08/2007
Label:
Hyperion Uk
UPC:
0034571175553
catalogNumber:
67555
Rank:
85524

Tracks

  1. Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 27  - Eyvind Alnaes  -  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra  - Piers Lane  - Andrew Litton  - Simon Perry  - Michael Spring
  2. Concerto for piano & orchestra in C sharp, Op 6  - Christian Sinding  -  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra  - Piers Lane  - Andrew Litton  - Simon Perry  - Michael Spring

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Piers Lane   Primary Artist

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