Having recorded all
eight of Huber’s symphonies, Bo Hyttner's
Sterling label turns its attention to
the Huber concertos.
Huber was born in the
Solothurn canton of Switzerland. His
mature studies took place in Leipzig.
These culminated in a public performance
of Schumann's Op. 92 Conzertstuck with
Huber as pianist. In 1877 he moved to
Basle where he wrote the First Piano
Concerto. The work is written much
under the Schumann spell: limber, gracious,
elegant without being thin, decorous
without dullness, entertaining without
plumbing Brahmsian stürm und
drang. There is a trace of glittering
Litolff in the galloping third movement.
The Third Concerto from 1899
has a tawny Brahmsian quality under
its decorative surface. The work has
more emotional depth than the first.
The scherzo is quite magically weighted
and constructed - a wonderful example
of what can be done with the romantic
concerto. There are intimations here
and there of the Macdowell, Schumann
and Grieg concertos. Certainly if you
like those works (and few do not) you
will find plenty to fascinate in the
Third Piano Concerto. Huber lavished
first class ideas on this work and in
a performance as sensitive and seemingly
well prepared as this we are in for
a treat. It stands head and shoulders
above the First Concerto. Listen for
example to the tenderness of the violin-borne
theme at the end of the third movement
- Intermezzo. The final movement
ends with a conventionally perfunctory
flourish; the only weakness in a work
that deserves much more public exposure.
Once again this recording
project was financially bolstered by
the Czeslaw Marek Foundation for which
we owe them thanks.
The considerable strength
of this disc lies in a magically performed
and honestly recorded Third Concerto.
This is an example of profundity and
sincerity in the silver-plated realms
of the romantic piano concerto. Sterling
have on this occasion beaten Hyperion
to the draw.
see also Other