Hyperion Records

Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, J98 Op 11
Weber’s two piano concertos date from 1810 and 1812, the Konzertstück from 1821. Weber himself gave the first performances of all three: the C major in Mannheim, 19 November 1810; the E flat in Gotha, 17 December 1812; and the Konzertstück, in Berlin, 25 June 1821.

The First has been called ‘a bridge between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a stylistic foot in each’ (Neil Butterworth, 1994). Architecturally, the Mozartean antecedents of its first movement are not difficult to spot. Nor can a Beethoven debt be missed—notably, the triplet octave descent leading into the reprise, an idea clearly borrowed from the downward-rushing glissando octaves at the corresponding point of Beethoven’s own Concerto in C. But there is plenty of refreshing surprise, even so—the absence of a cadenza, for example. The extraordinary, rarefied chamber scoring of the A flat Adagio (for just two horns, viola, two cello soli and bass). And the brilliantly dancing, cross-rhythm style of the finale (‘full of boisterous and tempestuous zest’, Weber says), climaxing in a searing double-octave glissando, the exhilaration of which positively consumes the keyboard. How Weber so relished these mechanically brilliant effects.

from notes by Ates Orga © 1995

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