Delius, Frederick/Ireland, John: Romantic Piano Concertos (Hyperion Audio CD)

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Catalogue No: CDA67296
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Romantic Piano Concertos (Hyperion Audio CD)

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Department: CDs - Save up to 15% - Classical CDs: Orchestral

Publisher: Select Music

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Piers Lane - piano
Ulster Orchestra
David Lloyd-Jones, conductor

Hyperion’s record of the month for January 2006 presents, for the first time, the original version of Delius’s Piano Concerto. Two years after completing this work in 1904, Delius recast it, rejecting the third movement and reorganizing other material. Perhaps thinking that the solo part wasn’t sufficiently pianistic, Delius also consulted a friend, the Busoni pupil Theodor Szántó, who rewrote the piano part in virtuoso style (with Delius’s ultimate approval). It is the Szántó version that has, until now, always been performed. With Delius’s original, characteristically refined orchestration also restored (from the orchestral parts that survive from the first performance in 1904), we can now hear this work as the composer envisaged before the involvement of another hand. The result is closer to what we think of as quintessential Delius. Piers Lane and David Lloyd-Jones form an ideal partnership, and the result is a revelation.

John Ireland’s Piano Concerto, written in 1930, was seen at the time as a British response to Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, and it has additional resonances of Ravel and Gershwin. The work was an immediate success and became the pre-eminent British piano concerto, performed by Clifford Curzon, Moura Lympany, Eileen Joyce, Gina Bachauer and Artur Rubinstein. Encouraged by its success Ireland planned to write a second concerto, but he only completed one movement, the Legend, in 1933. Once more Piers Lane and the Ulster musicians bring an engaging energy and flair to this exciting music.

Despite reeling from the crippling costs of a lawsuit, Britain’s favourite independent classical company begins the year with the continuation of one of its bigger-scale projects: The Romantic Piano Concerto, now, astonishingly, into its 39th volume. Not content with resurrecting forgotten and neglected works of the genre, Hyperion presents the first recording of the 1904 version of Delius’s much-altered C minor Piano Concerto, hitherto known only in the edition by Thomas Beecham, based on a revised solo part by the pianist Theodor Szanto. Reconstructed from the original orchestral parts (and what remains of the full score), what emerges is echt youthful Delius (the work started life as a Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, completed in 1897). If not especially innovative, and less characteristic than his concerted works for stringed instruments, Delius’s Piano Concerto gets strong advocacy from Lane, Lloyd-Jones and the Ulster Orchestra. The two Ireland works, Legend and the Piano Concerto, make ideal companions on this highly attractive, collectable disc.
Times, Three stars


Contents and Reviews


FREDERICK DELIUS Piano Concerto in C minor Original Version, 1904 [28'41] 1 Allegro ma non troppo [10'58] 2 Largo [6'05] 3 Maestoso con moto moderato [11'32] JOHN IRELAND Legend 1933 Piano Concerto in E flat major 1930 1) In tempo moderato 2) Lento espressivo, Allegro, cadenza 3) Allegretto giocoso