> BRULL Piano concerto [CF]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Ignaz BRÜLL (1846-19 07)
Piano Concerto No.1 in F Op.10 (first recording) (1860)
Allegro moderato - [Cadenza] - Tempo I
Andante: Molto espressivo
Finale: Presto
Andante and Allegro Op.88 (first recording)
Andante moderato, con moto
Allegro vivace
Piano Concerto No.2 in C Op.24 (1868)
Allegro moderato
Andante ma non troppo
Martin Roscoe (piano)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Recorded in Caird Hall, Dundee on 7, 8 May 1998
The Romantic Piano Concerto: Volume 20
HYPERION CDA67069 [72. 57]


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Like his contemporary Max Bruch, Ignaz Brüll lived in the shadow of Brahms and even though his artistic aims were unlike those of the greater composer, he has suffered neglect, much of it unwarranted. The understandable problem with the nineteenth century is that focus is too often on the giants leaving the smaller fry struggling for a place. Brüll made Vienna his home from 1850, drawn like so many to the magnet of the Austrian capital and it was Anton Rubinstein’s positive opinion of his abilities which decided him on a career in music rather than take over his father’s business. Although he became a renowned concert pianist and teacher, it was his opera Das goldene Kreuz (1875) which launched him as a composer, for it had a sensational success right from its Berlin premiere. He could use his playing opportunities to play his music for the instrument, including the concertos featured here, and like Bruch he refused to compromise his conservative ideas and move ahead with the changing musical style. Part of the Brahms circle, he was always the second pianist when Brahms played his latest work in private to his colleagues.

Both concertos are youthful works, the first written when he was only fourteen years old in 1860, the second eight years later, and very assured and remarkable writing it is, the music cheerfully tuneful with reminiscences of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Chopin, despite some areas of ‘padding’ or predictable moments here and there. The two movements making up the Konzertstück Op.88 is a later work (1902) but effectively does not sound as if much has changed in the past forty years since the first concerto. The piano part in all three works reflects the virtuosity of Brüll’s pianism, and musical structure is conventionally logical. Martin Roscoe plays magnificently, with bright tone and crisp articulation in the cascading passages of the quicker movements, such as the finale of the first concerto, and expressively in the reflective slow movements. A slightly too distantly recorded BBCSSO does its job proficiently under Martyn Brabbins, forming an experienced partnership in the field of the Hyperion series to which this disc rightly belongs.

Christopher Fifield

See also review by Gerald Fenech

Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto Series


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