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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: 25 minutes 36 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 F minor, Op 5
composer
circa 1830; published in 1831

Allegro maestoso  [12'12]
Adagio  [3'21]
Rondo: Allegro  [10'03]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Thalberg’s Piano Concerto in F minor, Op 5, his single essay in the genre, was composed in about 1830 (published in 1831) when he was still in his teens and much influenced by Weber and Hummel. If it is not as distinguished a work as the F minor concertos of his contemporaries Chopin and Henselt, in the right hands it remains a brilliantly effective showpiece that requires a virtuoso technique and not a little stamina.

After the orchestral statement of the two principal themes, there are just twenty-two bars of the first movement (Allegro maestoso) in which the pianist’s hands are not engaged with the keyboard. Rapid passages in octaves and thirds are grist to the mill, though after a particularly arduous section with fast repeated chords (shades of Schubert’s Erlkönig) some respite is offered as the music modulates into the tonic major (with a brief deflection into F sharp major) before a bravura cadenza.

The slow movement (Adagio), the least impressive of the three, offers scant breathing space before the sprightly rondo (Allegro). This has two themes, one in the minor, the other a major-key variant. Like a juggler, Thalberg keeps them both in the air, putting them through any number of transformations until the dashing coda when, just before the final tutti, he presents one final cruel hurdle: four bars of fast independent octaves in each hand (to be played molto staccato) followed by a rush of triplets. The orchestra eagerly takes over rounding off this youthful work in a suitably rousing manner.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2012

Other albums featuring this work
'Hyperion monthly sampler – November 2012' (HYP201211)
Hyperion monthly sampler – November 2012
HYP201211  Download-only monthly sampler   No longer available
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