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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: 18 minutes 18 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 Concertino in E flat major, Op 68
circa 1824; dedicated à son ami Camillé Pleyel

Allegro moderato  [5'51]
Adagio sostenuto  [5'43]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Concertino in E flat major, Op 68, seems to have been composed in about 1824 and must be counted as one of the most charming works of its kind. Pixis dedicated it ‘à son ami Camillé [sic] Pleyel’, son of Ignaz Pleyel, the composer–pianist, violinist and founder of the famous piano company. Camille (1788–1855) became a partner in the firm in 1821, and was joined three years later—the same time as the probable date of the Concertino—by Friedrich Kalkbrenner (see Hyperion CDA67535 and CDA67843 for his four piano concertos). The Concertino has three movements, each of which follows the other virtually without a break. The orchestral introduction to the work accounts for more than one third of the first movement (Allegro moderato) before the piano enters with a call to arms. Pixis returns to this idea only twice more before the soloist’s scamperings give way to a tutti and a gradual decrescendo that takes us directly into the haunting Adagio sostenuto in B flat major. Initially, the cellos provide a steady pulse (3/4) underneath an exquisite piano theme. Midway through the movement this is transferred to a solo horn with the piano providing conversational counterpoint. A brief cadenza leads to another of Pixis’s jaunty rondo themes for the Concertino’s last movement (Allegretto).

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2012

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