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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67636
Recording details: January 2008
Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2009
Total duration: 23 minutes 36 seconds

'The busy piano-writing in these two world premieres is brilliant and passionate, the scoring [Jadassohn] is textbook 1887 and the musical structure inventive … Hyperion's A-team for concertos (Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon) is on top form, while the Berlin orchestra and Michael Sanderling provide crisp support for the sparkling and industrious Markus Becker who leaves the impression not only of having an affection for the three works but also that he has been playing them all his life' (Gramophone)

'Altogether an enjoyable disc for those who would explore the unfrequented byways of Romanticism' (BBC Music Magazine)

'These pieces, which burst with … memorable tunes and lashings of showy arpeggios, are played with admirable swagger by Markus Becker and are a welcome addition to Hyperion's exhaustive study of the Romantic Piano Concerto' (The Observer)

'It's clear Becker really feels this music… and I have a feeling you'll want to go back and play it again!' (American Record Guide)

'There is much to enjoy here: the nobility of the second movement of the Jadassohn First, the bucolic energy of the finale of his Second, the rollocking finale of the Draeseke … Becker's confident playing and tonal richness make as persuasive a case for the music as could reasonably be expected' (International Record Review)

'Sonics are first rate, as usual with Hyperion. Let’s hear it for obscure piano concertos!' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Markus Becker delivers heroic accounts of all three concertos, and Michael Sanderling's Berlin musicians bring buoyant orchestral textures to the mix' (International Piano)

'Markus Becker's confident, technically adroit performances certainly make the best possible case for all three works, and he receives excellent support from Michael Sanderling and the Berlin Radio orchestra. Typically fine sound guarantees collectors of this series complete satisfaction, while novice listeners interested in good Romantic music should consider this strongly as well. Recommended without reservations' (ClassicsToday.com)

'The performances are all that one could expect, the music shown in the best possible light. Markus Becker is both virtuoso and musician' (ClassicalSource.com)

Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor, Op 90
composer
1887

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
A certain imaginative approach to the usual formal structures is evident in Jadassohn’s Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor Op 90, composed—as the opus number would suggest—immediately after the first concerto. Jadassohn seems to have been inspired to write the second piece by the opportunities this offered to vary the formal outlines yet again. Here he composes a fairly standard but imposing Allegro energico first movement, in contrast to the fleetingly despairing recitative of Op 89—its grim, march-like main theme sounding to British ears rather like a minor-key version of ‘Men of Harlech’. The Allegro appassionato last movement, too, is in an extended sonata form, the coda this time turning to the major for the celebratory conclusion that Op 89 so signally failed to provide. It is the slow movement, however, that seems to toy most creatively with listeners’ expectations. After a winsome Andantino quasi allegretto tune in A flat major presented by the piano, a short cadenza from the soloist leads into faster music, culminating in an Allegro deciso in F minor that sounds very much like it ought to be the beginning of the finale. The Andantino tune seems only to have been a modest introduction to the last movement—except that it isn’t. The music slows down again, and the Andantino returns, finally fading out in a lazy haze of A flat arpeggios. Startlingly, the reverie is abruptly broken by a dramatic signal on the trumpets. Now we can really settle into our seats for the last movement—what went before was simply a gentle, and ingenious, deception.

from notes by Kenneth Hamilton © 2009

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