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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67915
Recording details: May 2011
Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Produced by Ben Connellan
Engineered by Veronika Vincze
Release date: November 2012
Total duration: 26 minutes 11 seconds

'Howard Shelley gives us fine performances. There's exquisite filigree in the Pixis, while the Thalberg has swagger and panache' (The Guardian)

'The music is played with obvious affection and deep understanding, revealing to us, almost 200 years later, just what it was that attracted audiences of the late Georgian period. Nor … is any of the music entirely formulaic … throughout these three works, Shelley's elegance of phrasing and comprehensively musical technique are truly exceptional: cleverly, his dynamic range is judged to a nicety and the orchestral playing is remarkably fine throughout. The recorded sound is first-class in all respects. Jeremy Nicholas's notes are everything they should be—and more … truly, here is commerce in the service of art' (International Record Review)

Piano Concerto in C major, Op 100
1829; Grand Concerto; dedicated to His Imperial Majesty of Austria

Allegro moderato  [13'19]
Adagio cantabile  [3'57]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Pixis’s [Grand] Piano Concerto in C major, Op 100, was composed in 1829 and dedicated to ‘His Imperial Majesty of Austria’. The work sets out in conventional form (Allegro moderato) with an orchestral exposition of the first movement’s two principal themes, the first of which makes much play with a dotted quaver–semiquaver–crotchet (or semibreve) figure that appears throughout in various guises. The soloist’s first declamatory entry seems to be an independent idea which quickly subsides into the lyrical second subject. The soloist is kept busily occupied, the orchestra offering cushioned support, until at 7'05'', after a tutti, the key modulates unexpectedly from the tonic to E flat major with the soloist introducing an entirely new idea (at 7'42''). Hardly have we settled to this but Pixis changes course again with a lovely nocturne-like theme in F sharp major (con molto espressione) which eventually returns to the home key via D major and to that insistent opening dotted figure. After a re-examination of the earlier material the movement ends in triumphant style.

The brief second movement (Adagio cantabile), in the key of A flat major and with the unusual time signature of 12/8, begins in arresting fashion with tremolo strings. When it enters, the piano is again in nocturnal mood (more Field than Chopin) but becomes ever more elaborate with its decorative figurations until a full-blown cadenza at 3'15''. After a few moments of reflection, the piano leads directly and without reference to the orchestra into the perky 2/4 rondo theme of the finale (Allegretto scherzando). The recapitulation of this leads to the introduction of fresh ideas, briefly in the same key as the slow movement (4'27''). A fermata at 7'30'' and a ‘Waltzing Matilda’ horn fanfare herald the coda and a dash for the finishing line.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2012

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