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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67843
Recording details: June 2010
Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Produced by Ben Connellan
Engineered by Veronika Vincze
Release date: March 2012
Total duration: 24 minutes 11 seconds

'Shelley is a formidable presence both as soloist and conductor. Yes, he has the technique and dexterity to play this music; but he also understands how to make the most of the orchestral writing (which … is frequently more interesting than Chopin's) … there's a considerable grace to his playing too—his immersion in repertoire of this period has given him an innate understanding of what makes it tick' (Gramophone)

'Howard Shelley attacks it all with gleeful extravagance. He is also directing the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra 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' (The Guardian)

'Howard Shelley's virtuosity is seemingly effortless, even in the face of pianistic pyrotechnics which are prodigious in the extreme and seemingly endless too … a wonderful beauty and variety of tone, and carefully judged rubato and rhythmic nuances which give an air of improvisation to the constant embellishments of the slow movements … the support of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra is no less distinguished, both in sonority and ardour, carrying the listenere through the extended orchestral expositions with real narrative sweep and ardour … Jeremy Nicholas' notes are excellent and the recording captures every detail and refinement of Shelley's stunning performances' (International Record Review)

'Shelley reminds us of why he is so suited to this repertoire: the sparkling passagework is impeccably and suavely delivered. Interaction between piano and orchestra is beautiful: the flute additions to the piano's ornamnentation are delightful … [The Adagio ed Allegro is] a magnificently chosen filler, a bonne bouche that perfectly showcases Shelley's considerable talents without making any real demands on the listener. Kalkbrenner remains an interesting figure, and these works deserve attention' (International Piano)

Piano Concerto No 3 in A minor, Op 107
1829; dedicated à son Excellence le Prince Talleyrand

Allegro moderato  [14'28]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Piano Concerto No 3 in A minor Op 107 (1829) is dedicated ‘à son Excellence le Prince Talleyrand’, no less (Kalkbrenner was an incorrigible name-dropper). It has the same conventional line-up as No 2, retaining the trombone but adding a piccolo and parting with the timpani. As in Op 85, Kalkbrenner sets out his stall not with themes that lodge in the memory but with motifs that act as springboards for a dizzying succession of constantly varying étude-like passages: rapid repeated notes, lightning arpeggios in thirds and sixths, athletic octaves, and filigree flights to the top of the keyboard and back. The martial nature subsides at 6'52'' into a quieter legato e cantabile solo in 9/8, reminiscent of a Field nocturne. Thus far, the more than eleven minutes of music have been in A minor/C major. After a quasi-cadenza and 360 bars, Kalkbrenner modulates to A major and stays there for the remainder of the movement which ends in a riot of octaves and extended trills, reminiscent of Hummel. A brief recitative section (Maestoso sostenuto) entitled ‘Introduzione del Rondo’ replaces a slow movement. The Rondo itself (Allegro vivace) is as graceful and charming as anything Kalkbrenner penned. It demands a delicate leggiero touch and refined technique to bring it off with the requisite debonair twinkle.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2012

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