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Track(s) taken from CDA68043

Introduction and Allegro, Op 49


Howard Shelley (piano), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Howard Shelley (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: April 2013
Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Produced by Ben Connellan
Engineered by Veronika Vincze
Release date: July 2014
Total duration: 11 minutes 42 seconds


'Godard's music tickles the senses with some attractive, dramatic ideas during the actual process of listening. There is, for example, a delightful, nifty Saint-Saëns-esque Scherzo to the A minor Concerto, and an even better one in the G minor ... the performances by the indefatigable Howard Shelley and the Tasmanian orchestra cannot be faulted' (Gramophone)

'Benjamin Godard is nowadays known solely for the Berceuse from his 1888 opera Jocelyn, regularly performed by classical and popular musicians alike. There was more to him than that, however, as this enterprising disc—Volume 63 of Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto series—admirably proves. Godard distrusted Wagnerism, and his two piano concertos constrain Romantic sensibilities within the classical form in ways that often resemble Brahms, though Godard's thematic and orchestral elegance remain quintessentially French … the disc is a tour de force for Howard Shelley, who, in addition to coping with Godard's often vertiginous piano writing, directs all three performances from the keyboard, which is no mean feat' (The Guardian)» More

'Throughout all three works, Shelley dazzles with his effortless virtuosity and lightness of touch, and the recording is first-rate. In short, this release must rank alongside the finest of rediscoveries in this most pioneering of series, and one that should spur on others to explore further the works of this greatly neglected composer' (International Record Review)» More

'L'interprétation de Shelley, chef et pianiste à la fois … bénéficie de sa maîtrise du grand style international de l'épique romantique et nous convainc pleinement de la valeur de ces œuvres' (Classica, France)» More

'[Die zwei Konzerte] selbst nun wirklich alles haben, was man sich nur wünchen mag: Einfallsreichtum, Geschmack, Esprit, Kraft—um nur diese Eigenschaften zu nennen. Ein weiteres Highlight der großen Reihe!' (Piano News, Germany)» More

The portentous, cadential opening pages of the Introduction and Allegro, Op 49 (1880), lead the listener to expect a heavyweight, rigorously argued Allegro of Beethovenian profundity to follow. But no—in fact we get quite the opposite. The Introduction ends with a long pedal note of fifteen bars over which the piano weaves delicate patterns. Even after these five minutes Godard still holds his fire, writing a spirited preamble to the Allegro which, after a startling two-handed scale from top to bottom of the keyboard, launches with perfect bathos into a jaunty, toe-tapping crowd pleaser. You may not be able to get the theme out of your head for several days. The almost Gottschalkian flavour of the second subject is hardly less ingratiating. The Allegro, at least, is surely destined to be a light classical hit.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2014

Les solennelles pages cadentielles qui ouvrent l’Introduction et Allegro, op.49 (1880), font que l’auditeur s’attend à un Allegro colossal, rigoureusement argumenté, d’une profondeur beethovénienne. Mais non—en fait, c’est même tout le contraire. L’Introduction s’achève sur une longue note pédale de quinze mesures par-dessus quoi le piano tisse de subtils dessins. Même après ces cinq minutes, Godard garde sa flamme: il rédige un enjoué préambule à l’Allegro qui, passée un éblouissante gamme à deux mains de haut en bas du clavier, se lance—et la chute du sublime au ridicule est parfaite—dans un épisode allègre, à faire taper la foule des pieds. Vous mettrez peut-être plusieurs jours à vous sortir ce thème de la tête. La saveur presque gottschalkienne du second sujet est à peine moins pateline. L’Allegro est, à tout le moins, appelé à devenir un succès de la musique classique légère.

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeremy Nicholas © 2014
Français: Hypérion

Der unheilverkündende, kadenzierende Beginn der Introduction et Allegro, op. 49 (1880), lässt den Hörer ein gewichtiges, straff gesetztes Allegro von Beethoven’scher Tiefgründigkeit erwarten. Aber nein—tatsächlich folgt praktisch das Gegenteil. Die Introduction endet mit einem langen Orgelpunkt von fünfzehn Takten, worüber das Klavier feingliedrige Muster webt. Selbst nach diesen fünf Minuten hält Godard sich noch zurück und präsentiert eine geistreiche Präambel zu dem Allegro, welches sich nach einer erstaunlichen Tonleiterpassage in beiden Händen vom oberen bis zum unteren Ende der Klaviatur in einen schwungvollen, eingängigen Publikumsliebling verwandelt. Das Thema kann sich durchaus zu einem Ohrwurm entwickeln. Der fast Gottschalk’sche Touch des zweiten Themas ist ähnlich einnehmend. Zumindest das Allegro ist sicherlich dazu berufen, ein klassischer Hit zu werden.

aus dem Begleittext von Jeremy Nicholas © 2014
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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