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Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 54: Somervell: Piano Concerto; Cowen: Concertstuck Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, September 13, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hyperion presents another entertaining addition to the renowned Romantic Piano Concerto series catalogue, this time with three world première recordings featuring the complete works for piano and orchestra by Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen and Sir Arthur Somervell. In his day, Cowen was a hugely successful contemporary of Stanford and Parry. His Concertstück was written in 1897 for Paderewski, who gave the premiere to much acclaim. Somervell is best known for his songs and he wrote comparatively little orchestral music. His symphonic variations, entitled Normandy, were premiered in 1913 by the great scholar and pianist Donald Francis Tovey who did much to champion them. The Highland concerto is a late work written for, and premiered by, the Scottish pianist Jessie Munro. It is an uncomplicated and enjoyable romp based on Scottish-sounding themes, which are nevertheless original Somervell. As usual, Martin Roscoe and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are on scintillating form throughout.

Review

Roscoe is a pianist who both thinks and offers full-blooded playing of breadth and depth. --The Daily Telegraph

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Concertstuck (Cowen)
  2. Normandy- symphonic variations (Somervell)
  3. Allegro moderato (Piano Concerto in A minor 'Highland'- Somervell)
  4. Adagio
  5. Allegro


Product Details

  • Performer: Martin Roscoe
  • Orchestra: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Composer: Arthur Somervell, Frederic Hymen Cowen
  • Audio CD (September 13, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: HYPERION
  • ASIN: B00570JX24
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,703 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Hyperion series "The Romantic Piano Concerto" reaches Volume 54 with these first recordings of several neglected English concertante works for piano and orchestra, the "Concertstuck" by Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen, and of Sir Arthur Somervell's "Normandy" and Piano Concerto in a ("Highland"). Cowen wrote his "Concertstuck" in 1897 for Ignaz Jan Paderewski, and consulted with him on the piano part, which definitely keeps the soloist busy. Perhaps one theme comes closest to a "big tune" that one wants in a 19th century-style piano concerto, starting just a bit over 7 minutes 30 seconds into the work, but it's a tad perfunctory and doesn't quite resonate in the memory, IMHO.

Likewise, Somervell's "Normandy", a single-movement work of "symphonic variations" on a brief tune from the village of Varengeville-sur-Mer in France, also occupies the soloist fairly fully for about 21 minutes, but doesn't quite deliver on any strongly memorable themes. Somervell's concerto follows conventional concerto form in 3 movements, and starts with what is on the brink of turning into an abridged, Scotch-snap variation on "When Johnny Comes Marching Home". Both the slow movement and finale also features folk-like main subjects, again with a stereotypical "Scottish feel" in the harmony and texture. The opening of the finale is particularly four-square in nature, but again overall, not much in the way of big melodies to hum at the end, again IMHO.

Overall, this album makes for pleasant and fairly undemanding listening. Martin Roscoe does a fine job as the soloist, and the BBC Scottish Symphony with Martyn Brabbins provide solid support, in keeping with past issues to which they've contributed in this Hyperion series. Probably none of these works will make it back into the standard repertoire in any hurry, but they're curiosities worth a listen.
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Hyperion deserves high praise for this series of discs. I own almost the entire collection from Vol. 1 to Vol. 58. I have not been disappointed with any of the recordings and am grateful for the opportunity to listen to music not available before Hyperion undertook this venture.
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nice
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