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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67465
Recording details: September 2003
Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Produced by David Garrett
Engineered by Andrew Dixon
Release date: June 2004
Total duration: 17 minutes 50 seconds

'There are few more dextrous or musicianly pianists then Shelley … and I am more than grateful for an artist who, like Herz himself, can make you think 'that a bird had escaped from his fingers and went undulating and singing through the air' (The New York Times in 1946)' (Gramophone)

'If you've enjoyed previous volumes in Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto Series, you'll certainly warm to this delightful release' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Howard Shelley, who performs the dual role of piano soloist and orchestral director, delights in the charm and the considerable technical challenge of it all, and with his always fluent and controlled fingerwork, he makes it sound easy' (International Record Review)

'Shelley and the Tasmanians are persuasive advocates for these three piano concertos: this is charming, tuneful music, deftly orchestrated by a man who obviously knew his Chopin, Rossini and, in the nocturne-like slow movements, John Field' (The Sunday Times)

'Shelley makes even the most plainspun of phrases sound like long-lost treasure being discovered anew. First-rate accompaniment and resplendent sonics round out an unexpected delight' (Classic FM Magazine)

'… Shelley et les Tasmaniens jouent avec une verve, une beauté de sonorité, un noble abandon qui attisent les bravos' (Diapason, France)

Piano Concerto No 7 in B minor, Op 207

Allegro moderato  [6'40]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Concerto No 7 in B minor Op 207 (1864) is, by comparison with the First Concerto, of almost Conzertstück length and considerably less difficulty from the soloist’s point of view. It is a highly attractive work of its kind, clearly influenced (and none the worse for it) by Chopin, written in the musical language of thirty years earlier. After the sweet themes of the first movement (Allegro moderato) and its unusually subdued ending (in the relative major) comes the Romance in the key of B flat. The first section, in common time, is marked Larghetto senza tempo. These nine bars serve as an introduction to the movement’s main theme in 6/8 (Andantino cantabile) and its passages of delicately executed Chopinesque filigree. Rondo espagnol is the alluring ascription for the finale, though its first theme is more akin to a Polish mazurka. A brief subsidiary idea in thirds, a repeat of the mazurka theme and a con forza end to the episode precede the orchestral exposition of the Hispanic element (playful woodwinds over a chattering bassoon, with triangle). Chopin and Spain battle it out in the most delightful manner to the end, culminating in the Spanish theme being taken up by the soloist (giojoso in B major) and a coda in unison octaves not far removed from that of Chopin’s E minor Concerto.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2004

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