Hyperion’s record of the month for April is the much-anticipated second instalment of Howard Shelley’s premiere recordings of Henri Herz’s piano concertos.
Herz never tried to be a ‘great’ artist, though he was often judged against such criteria; he was an entertainer. Of course the concerto lends itself perfectly to this role and his eight concertos are full of charm, almost operatic melody and scintillating virtuosity. Needless to say Howard Shelley, who has made such exceptional recordings of the concertos of Hummel and Moscheles, is just the man for the job. If we can accept that music need not be profound to be enjoyed we should join the international music press in welcoming this revival of these works, the pop music of their time.