This second disc of concertos by Henri Herz turns out to be even more delightful and attractive than the first. Two of these concertos, Nos. 3 and 5, are rooted in minor keys, and while their demeanor is hardly tragic, that additional harmonic spice makes them that much more affecting. Concerto No. 3 has a wonderful potpourri-style finale with a very French, high-stepping march interlude complete with crashing percussion. It's a delight, and in fact all of the tunes are top-quality. No. 4 in E major is a gentle, even pastoral work with a gorgeous slow movement (Howard Shelley does an excellent job bringing out the music's lyrical, cantabile qualities). It also has a delicious finale, a "Rondo russe" that uses aRead more "clochette", or clock-chime, to introduce a delightful fairy-tale atmosphere. That these two concertos aren't taken out and played at least once in a while is a great mystery. They are beautifully written and just plain fun.
The neglect of Concerto No. 5 is less surprising: it's only a bit more than 15 minutes long, though it would make a great "pops concert" piece (Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is about the same length). It too has some beautiful thematic material, particularly in its first movement. If anything Shelley and the Tasmanian Symphony are even more energized than in their previous release, and the sonics are very well balanced and lively. The march episodes in the finale of Concerto No. 3 erupt with particular sparkle and impact.
This is Volume 40 of Hyperion's ongoing Romantic Piano Concerto series--can there really be this much attractive, neglected music? What are today's traveling virtuosos doing with themselves, endlessly playing the same old stuff when there are so many fine works that deserve a hearing? Thank God for this extraordinary roster of recordings.
LovelyApril 3, 2013By William Schneider (Yaphank, NY)See All My Reviews"I am sitting here on this late winter day listing to my music and I slip in this cd.I am transported to another time of beauty and romance.This music should enamore all who like the romantic era and fine piano playing.I particularly like track 5,the andante cantabile of the piano concerto 4.Howard Shelly does a fine job as does the Tasmanian symphony.I do not believe you will be disappointed by this cd.I will be looking for more in this series."Report Abuse