> PADEREWSKI, MOSKOWSKI Piano concertos [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 17 (1888)
Moritz MOSKOWSKI (1854-1925)

Piano Concerto in E major Op. 59 (1897)
Piers Lane (piano)
BBC Scottish SO/Jerzy Maksymiuk
rec. 3-4 June 1991, City Hall, Glasgow DDD
The Romantic Piano Concerto series - vol.1
HYPERION CDA 66452 [72.25]


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This was the first assault by Hyperion on the sanctuary of the romantic piano concerto. The two works have the Polish nationality of their composers in common.

The 37 minute Moskowski has been recorded before but has it ever been given such a raunchily rambunctious performance. This is not all stormy belligerence nor yet lofty heroics. Moskowski manages real depth rather than superficial prettiness in the andante. His style rustles and bumps along between Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov as points of his compass. There is ‘Barnum and Bailey’ showmanship in the finale which slews into Vaudeville and out again into delicacy and nostalgic sensibility: tears among the pearls!

This should make us all wonder what we are missing in his three orchestral suites (perhaps another Massenet?), his opera Boabdil (1892), the ballet Laurin (1896) and the Violin Concerto about which Jeremy Nicholas writes with such passionate advocacy that I am desperate to hear it. Perhaps it is as good or even better than the neglected concertos by de Boeck, Ivanovs and Karlowicz. I have the Moskowski down on my ‘hit-list’ now.

The Paderewski Concerto is even more Russian and romantic than the Moskowski with its forays into Hispanicism and pictorial asides. One wonders, when listening to the Allegro, whether Medtner had heard the work and echoed it in sections of his Sonata Romantica. It is intriguing to hear that Paderewski took his concerto to Saint-Saëns, that high priest of the entertainment concerto, who expressed himself reassuringly confident of its worth. In truth Saint-Saëns might well have listened to this work and recognised that the Pole had written a work of greater plangent emotional reach than he was ever able to muster. Try the singing undulation of the Romanza which impresses with both ease and eloquence. The waspish skirl of the Allegro molto vivace perhaps recalls the wild cross-rhythms of the Polish highlands as in Szymanowski's Harnasie. It is despatched with due lightness and weight by Piers Lane (a pupil of Yonty Solomon and Bela Siki - whatever happened to Siki? - I am sure I recall his recordings from Pye LPs) and the BBC Scottish. This work put me in mind of the Huss concerto on volume 16.

A great start to the series and well worth having.

Rob Barnett

Hyperion Romantic Piano Series

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