Hyperion’s celebrated Romantic Piano Concerto series reaches volume 44. This disc includes two prize-winning concertos written in the 1890s by the Polish composer-pianist Henryk Melcer.
The first is written in the style of Liszt and Chopin, and is notable particularly for its thrilling finale which is marked by its strong Polish character: starting as a mazurka, the accelerando through the movement increases the excitement of the piece, giving it the frenzy of a kujawiak or oberek.
The second concerto was also appreciated by contemporary critics for its imaginative use of Polish themes: one reviewer writes of ‘themes full of expression in Polish character that are developed so splendidly and broadly that they leave us enraptured … an unforgettable impression remains after hearing the Concerto’. This work demands particular technical virtuosity, versatility and stamina on the part of the pianist, who is playing almost continuously.