Oswald’s Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 10, dates from about 1886, the year he met Liszt, and is dedicated to his teacher Buonamici. Although influences of Fauré can be detected in the second theme, the overall character of the first movement owes more to the late Romantic German style. The orchestration is rich and full, but the Tchaikovskian athleticism and virtuosity of the piano-writing keep the soloist to the fore. The lush and sensual second movement offers an oasis of calm. Its Hollywood-esque sentimentality is given substance by a striking harmonic inventiveness. The jovial third movement continues attacca; this is a tarantella that gives free rein to Oswald’s Italian roots in a spirited homage to Rossini. Oswald cannot contain his penchant for lyricism, the soloist introducing gentle chordal progressions over the orchestra’s ostinato rhythmic figures in the middle section. The concerto ends with a traditional display of bravura. Oswald made a version of the concerto for piano quintet in 1890, and the two-piano score is dated 1892.
from notes by Nancy Lee Harper © 2014