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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67069
Recording details: May 1998
Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by John Timperley
Release date: February 1999
Total duration: 29 minutes 29 seconds

'The most enjoyable and successful pair of revivals since Stephen Hough's award-winning resurrection of Sauer's No 1 and Scharwenka's 4th. Life-enhancing minor masterpieces in superb sound and dashing, committed performances' (Classic CD)

'All of the music on this disc is absolutely delightful' (Fanfare, USA)

'This is a welcome discovery or recovery for lovers of Romantic music' (Contemporary Review)

Piano Concerto No 2 in C major, Op 24

Allegro moderato  [13'39]
Allegro  [7'20]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Brüll completed the Piano Concerto No 2 during the summer of 1868 in Baden near Vienna. The first performance, with the composer at the keyboard, took place on 20 October 1868 in Altenburg (Thüringen). Although the work was well received by the public, Brüll entirely reworked the second movement. It was first heard in this final version on 7 January 1869 in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. To the composer’s disappointment the main movement aroused little enthusiasm. The conductor Carl Reinecke attributed this to its being four bars too short so that the sudden ending took the public by surprise. But the other two movements went down better, and the concerto soon enjoyed great popularity. Brüll himself played it in 1874 in Vienna, Breslau and Berlin, in 1877 in Frankfurt and Munich, on 5 February 1878 in Liverpool (under Sir Julius Benedict) and on 23 February 1878 in the Crystal Palace in London. In 1883 it again featured in a programme of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and in 1884 it formed part of a Philharmonic Concert in Vienna (with Hans Richter on the podium). The publishing house Bote & Bock of Berlin acquired the rights (which they already had in the First Concerto) in 1875 and published it as Opus 24. after which many other pianists took it into their repertoire.

The Second Piano Concerto shows Brüll’s strongest side as an inspired writer of melody. The structure of the first movement (Allegro moderato in C major) is reminiscent of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. The soloist introduces the theme (in the unusual time of 12/8) before the orchestra takes it up and develops it. Here too the transition contains episodes of thematic quality from which the second subject, in the subdominant key of F major, grows organically. The exposition is longer and more masterly than that of the First Concerto. The repeat exactly mirrors the course of the exposition, and is followed by a brilliant coda which emphatically reinforces the main theme.

The second movement (Andante ma non troppo in F major) has the characteristics of an abbreviated main movement of a sonata without an exposition. The first subject, introduced by lower strings and bassoons, is pushed aside by a more lively (Poco animato) and rhythmically accentuated theme in C major. After a slightly different recapitulation of this, a solo cadenza leads directly into the finale (Allegro in C major) for which the composer again chose rondo form. The main theme, whose pointed rhythm evokes memories of Meyerbeer, is contrasted with a Scherzando in G major and a march-like episode in A minor. A coda, built up with skilful dramatic effect, ends the concerto with a triumphant gesture.

from notes by Hartmut Wecker © 1998
English: Robert Flower

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