WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Williamson: Complete Piano Concertos / Piers Lane


Release Date: 03/11/2014 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 68011   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Mark BainPiers LaneYoram LevyMartin Phillipson,   ... 
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Length: 1 Hours 54 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $45.98
CD:  $38.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003) was obviously a talented composer. His four piano concertos and the two other keyboard concertante works included here deserve to be better know. The problem with them is that all but the Third Piano Concerto are only fifteen to twenty minutes in length, and so difficult to program. Add in the fact that three works require only string orchestra (or strings plus three trumpets in the case of the Sinfonia concertante), and so seem even more “small scale” then their music interest warrants, and the result is a recipe for obscurity.

The booklet notes describe Williamson’s music as a mixture of Schoenberg, Bartók, Stravinsky, Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and Messaien. Helpful, isn’t it? The one
Read more composer not mentioned is the one he most closely resembles: Prokofiev. In quick movements, vigorous, toccata-like textures alternate with strikingly lyrical material, as the Russian composer’s work so often does, while the slow movements are generally bittersweet and songful. Williamson’s rhythmic writing is more intricate than Prokofiev’s, but you can hear a typical example of the style right from the start, in the first movement of the First Concerto.

Except for the Fourth Concerto, which was composed in the early 1990s and here receives its first recording, all of this music dates roughly from the period 1958-62, and it’s all of a piece. If you enjoy one work you’ll enjoy them all. The Third Concerto, the largest of the group, contains four movements and takes a good half an hour. It deserves to be ranked with the best twentieth-century works in the genre. The composer made a fine recording of it for Lyrita, but this performance, a couple of minutes quicker and even more virtuosic, loses nothing in comparison.

Indeed, all of the performances are quite fine. Piers Lane has the necessary light touch and rhythmic security to give the music the effortless buoyancy that it really needs. Howard Shelley’s conducting of the Tasmanian Symphony is also notably assured, but there are a couple of spots–about two minutes into the first movement of the Fourth Concerto, for example–where the ensemble sounds confused for a moment or two by Williamson’s complex syncopations. With fine sonics offering plenty of space around the players, this set is a real find, and a must for piano lovers.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sinfonia Concertante by Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Mark Bain (Trumpet), Piers Lane (Piano), Yoram Levy (Trumpet),
Martin Phillipson (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958/61 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 3 by Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; England 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 2 by Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; Australia 
4.
Concerto for Two Pianos and Strings by Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano), Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1972 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 1 by Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Piers Lane (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957-1958 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In