The Piano Concerto No 1 in F major, Op 10, was Brüll’s first work to include the orchestra. It was written in 1860/1 and given its first performance in 1861 in Vienna by his teacher Julius Epstein, to whom it is dedicated. Brüll naturally included it in his own repertoire and played it, for example, in 1869 in a Philharmonic Concert in Vienna, in 1871 in Berlin, and in 1881 in Liverpool, Manchester (both under the baton of Charles Hallé) and London. Richard Hoffmann made it popular in America in the 1880s. Given his youth. Brüll already showed remarkable skill in this concerto, both in handling the orchestra and in working out the form. The first movement (Allegro moderato in F major) is typical of Brüll’s way of dealing with the form of the principal movement of a sonata. The dominating first subject, which shifts between F major and D minor, is rhythmic rather than melodic in character. The transition on the other hand contains two episodes of thematic quality which gain in significance as the movement progresses. The second subject (piano dolce), pitched in the dominant of C major, is introduced by the piano and taken up by the oboe and flute. In the exposition the main theme dominates, but an appassionato variation of the second subject in A major provides a charming contrast. The repeat is along orthodox lines, and the movement is rounded off with a virtuoso cadenza and a presto stretta.
The second movement (Andante: Molto espressivo in D minor) is the heart of the concerto. The soloist opens with a deeply felt cantabile melody with slightly oriental colouring. In the more turbulent middle section the orchestra joins in. A short cadenza leads to the repeat of the first subject, which is now played in octaves by the soloist.
The Finale (Presto in F major) is a rondo, with a dance-like subject in 6/8 contrasted with two rhythmically interesting interludes in 2/4 time. An extended coda (Presto assai) leads the movement to the final climax. What an astonishing exhibition of talent for a fifteen-year-old!
from notes by Hartmut Wecker © 1998
English: Robert Flower