> LITOLFF Piano Concertos 3,5 [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Henry LITOLFF (1818-1891)
Concerto Symphonique No. 3 in E flat Op. 45 National Hollandais (1842)
Concerto Symphonique No. 5 in C minor Op. 123 (1870)
Peter Donohoe (piano)
BBC Scottish SO/Andrew Litton
rec. 27-28 Oct 2000, Caird Hall, Dundee
The Romantic Piano Concerto series - Vol. No. 26
HYPERION CDA 67210 [65.58]


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This is the second of two discs of the Litolff Concertos Symphoniques - of which there are five. The first has been lost. The other two are on Hyperion CDA66889.

I have nothing but praise for the kindly fire that the Bournemouth players and Donohoe pour into these works. The Presto of the Third Concerto and for that matter the allegro of the Fifth are kin to the famous scherzo from the Second Concerto. The writing can be seen as a precursor to that of Saint-Saëns. Scorching and gutsy playing from the BBC Scottish makes these so much more than dutiful studio revivals. Donohoe is in brilliant form and a sampling of the opening of the allegro vivace from Number 3 will go to prove this. Marred by a moment or two of miscalculated braggadocio in the vivace the work is otherwise well up to standard - occasionally suggestive of Beethoven's Emperor in its more Palladian moments. The Fifth Concerto strides and storms along but also has episodes of great Brahmsian nobility as at 2.20 of the largo. Once again there are various reminiscences of the Brahms of the Second Concerto and the Beethoven of The Emperor - especially in the Allegro.

I note, in passing, that Liszt greatly admired the Litolff concertos and dedicated his own First Piano Concerto to Litolff. Litolff also wrote operas as well as two acclaimed concert overtures: Maximilian Robespierre and Die Girondisten. Jeremy Dibble's liner notes are well up to Hyperionís reliably predictable encyclopedic attainment.

I do not recall an earlier recording of the Third Concerto. In any event Hyperion claim first recording status only for the Fifth Concerto.
Rob Barnett


Concerto Symphonique No. 2
Concerto Symphonique No. 4

Peter Donohoe (piano), Bournemouth SO/Andrew Litton
HYPERION CDA 66889 [65.58]

Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto Series

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