Hyperion Records

Piano Concerto No 2 in B minor, Op 42

The Piano Concerto No 2 in B minor belongs to the post-World War II years, 1946–7. Thus nearly fifty years separate the two Concertos on this CD. The composer’s compositional style, however, shows little change. It is amazing to think that Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto was written two years before this one. The first Allegro movement of this Concerto also opens with a quasi-motto theme. There is something Hungarian to it both melodically and rhythmically. Among several striking passages the one which stands out is the ‘Poco meno mosso’ entry of a theme which more or less dominates the second half of the movement.

The second movement, ‘Adagio poco rubato’, again evokes Hungarian, or rather a stylised Hungarian gipsy style in G minor. It ends in G major with a gradually speeded-up repetition of the note G in the orchestra, leading directly without a break to the third movement, Allegro vivace. The ostinato G is spiced by a minor second clash which gives backing to the entry of the energetic main theme. The motto theme of the first movement reappears, albeit en passant, over a long held E in the bass. This gives way to a spirited unfolding of the material and the eventual conclusion of the Concerto.

from notes by Otto Karolyi © 1993

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