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Piano Concerto No 1 in F minor, Op 5
1829/31; Paris; dedicated to Ignaz Moscheles; first performed at the Paris Conservatoire on 4 December 1831

'Hiller: Piano Concertos' (CDA67655)
Hiller: Piano Concertos
Movement 1: Allegro moderato
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Allegro moderato e con grazia

Piano Concerto No 1 in F minor, Op 5
The Piano Concerto No 1 in F minor Op 5 was composed during Hiller’s Paris period between 1829 and 1831, and it is dedicated to the piano virtuoso Ignaz Moscheles. Although the concerto, with its exceptionally brilliant solo part, was designed to give Hiller the opportunity to display his virtuosity, the ambitious composer also took great care to write a highly musical piece. The work was first performed at the Paris Conservatoire on 4 December 1831 at a concert in which his Symphony No 2 in A minor and a Faust Overture were also performed.

In the Allegro moderato, the orchestra announces the strikingly rhythmic first subject. After a lyrical second subject the piano enters with a dramatic fortissimo. The first subject leads to another pianistically conceived theme, which, with its ornamentations, resembles Chopin. Hiller’s first attempt at writing a concerto, his first essay in composing for a large orchestra, introduces us to his characteristic use of a twofold exposition, whereby he displays his ability to handle appropriately the two different sound worlds of the piano and orchestra. Before the piano introduces the second subject, there is an extended virtuosic passage in which the pianist can display his technical abilities. With the return of the first subject comes a transitional section, played mostly by the orchestra, which dispenses for the most part with any thematic development. The piano eventually introduces the reprise, which takes up the second subject. As in the coda, the piano part is dominated by ornamentation.

In the Adagio the orchestra introduces the piano, which enters ad libitum and almost fantasy-like. A dialogue between piano and orchestra leads to a more lyrical, dance-like section, before a poco agitato rhythmical accompaniment provides contrast. Material from the first two sections closes the movement.

The rondo finale, Allegro moderato e con grazia, with its loose structure, resembles an extended sonata rondo. The piano enters alone with the brilliant opening theme (dolce); the lyrical second subject is also introduced by the piano in writing that is markedly pianistic in style. This is followed by a sort of transitional section, and also a repeat of the second subject in the tonic. There is opportunity for the pianist to display his virtuosity in no fewer than five sections.

from notes by Eva Hanke © 2008
English: Roland Smithers

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Details for CDA67655 track 1
Allegro moderato
Recording date
17 May 2007
Recording venue
Government House, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Recording producer
Ben Connellan
Recording engineer
Ben Connellan
Hyperion usage
  1. Hiller: Piano Concertos (CDA67655)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: April 2008
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