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Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 61
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Kalkbrenner’s Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor Op 61 was composed in 1823. The first movement (Allegro maestoso) opens with a long orchestral tutti. For its one previous outing on disc (Hans Kann in 1973), this was severely attenuated, a cut suggested by Reinecke in his edition of the work. Similarly, the lengthy opening tutti of Chopin’s E minor Concerto was, at one time, frequently abridged. From the outset of the soloist’s entry, it is clear that this is a display vehicle intent on dazzling the listener with the dexterity of the soloist. As one commentator put it, ‘what he has to say is less important than his manner of saying it’. Kalkbrenner is fairly merciless in his demands on both fingers and stamina—there are few opportunities for Mr Shelley to take his hands from the keyboard once he has begun.

The Adagio di molto movement that follows is ushered in by a chorus of French horns. The simple, stately theme is soon treated to passages in double thirds, the score frequently black with hemidemisemiquavers (sixty-fourth notes) and with much play at the top end of the instrument. It was, after all, good business to exploit the extended range of a piano produced by Kalkbrenner’s company.

The third movement Rondo (Vivace) is another scintillating high-wire act with, as in the opening movement, frequent modulations and abrupt changes of rhythmic scansion. The final few bars bear a marked similarity to the closing measures of Chopin’s (later) E minor Concerto.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2006

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Details for CDA67535 track 2
Adagio di molto
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-06-53502
Duration
7'11
Recording date
27 May 2005
Recording venue
Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Recording producer
Ben Connellan
Recording engineer
Andrew Dixon
Hyperion usage
  1. Kalkbrenner: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 4 (CDA67535)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: September 2006
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