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Ries: Piano Concertos Vol 2 / Hinterhuber, Grodd, Gavle Symphony

Release Date: 09/25/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557844   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber
Conductor:  Uwe Grodd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gävleborg Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This disc offers you satisfying performances of satisfying music. How can you refuse?

This second instalment in the continuing cycle of Ries's piano concertos from Naxos is a disc for your wish-list.

Ries is more famous today for being Beethoven's pupil and biographer than for his own career in music. In his day he ranked with Hummel and, yes, even with Beethoven himself as one of Europe's greatest composer-pianists. Thanks to the efforts of Naxos and Allan Badley's Artaria Editions, we can now hear for ourselves what it was that so excited nineteenth century audiences.

All three works here show Ries to be a composer of originality, though one with a respect for his musical forebears. It
Read more would go too far to call him daring or revolutionary. Nonetheless, despite the backward glances at Mozart, his facility for contrasting grand orchestral statements with piano writing of a free, rhapsodic lyricism bridges the gap between Beethoven on the one hand and Chopin and Schumann on the other.

The Swedish National Air with Variations opens with a proud and darkly coloured orchestral flourish, which is immediately contrasted with a gently glittering statement from the piano. This pattern of contrasts is repeated throughout the 15 minutes of this piece, as Ries plies his skill at conjuring variations, first dazzling, then soulful. He casts the orchestra as chorus rather than as equal partner in dialogue, but he knows how to use its tone colours – listen to the lovely clarinet commentary about five minutes in, for example.

The Piano Concerto in C sharp minor is a delightful work, written largely on the road as Ries toured and then fled Russia in 1812. It is natural to want to draw comparisons with Beethoven's C minor concerto of 12 years earlier, but similarities are few and comparisons unhelpful. Apart from a few blustery tuttis, Ries uses the minor mode to spice harmonies and lend interest rather than to generate Beethovenian drama. The material is predominantly lyrical but virtuosic in the outer movements. The central slow movement lasts for less than five minutes, but is the heart of the concerto. Here Ries'sw gentle lyricism calls for a Chopinesque rubato and lightness of touch. His writing for orchestra, though, is better than Chopin's and full of interesting details and colourings.

The Introduction and Polonaise may have been composed 21 years after the other two pieces in this programme, but it demonstrates a remarkable consistency in Ries's idiom across the years. This piece is full of Mozartean turns of phrase, but with harmonic touches that point to Schumann. Again, there is some charming writing for the clarinets and flutes as they comment on the piano's discourse.

The Austrian pianist Christopher Hinterhuber plays with commitment and is a fine advocate for these works, just as able to command attention with flashes of fire as he is to lead the ear through the most delicate figurations. Grodd and the Gävle Symphony Orchestra support him well enough, though there is a little raggedness in the upper registers of the violins towards the close of the Introduction and Polonaise. The recorded sound is fine and the booklet notes by Allan Badley are interesting, though they hint at but do not explain the reconstruction of the score of the C sharp minor concerto.

All up, this disc offers you satisfying performances of satisfying music. How can you refuse?

Tim Perry, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 55 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
Conductor:  Uwe Grodd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gävleborg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Gävle Concert Hall, Gälve, Sweden 
Length: 30 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Variations on Swedish National Airs, Op. 52 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
Conductor:  Uwe Grodd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gävleborg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Gävle Concert Hall. Gävle, Sweden 
Length: 15 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Introduction and Polonaise, Op. 174 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
Conductor:  Uwe Grodd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gävleborg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Gävle Concert Hall, Gälve, Sweden 
Length: 15 Minutes 3 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 The Duo does it again August 13, 2013 By Laszlo Straka (Fontana, CA) See All My Reviews "The Hinterhuber (piano) and Grodd (conductor) duo does another splendid job of bringing the German romantic composer Ferdinand Ries out of the somewhat dusty bin of nearly (and unjustifiably) forgotten masterpieces. Ries was a piano virtuoso (like his Austrian contemporary Johann Nepomuk Hummel) whose works for the piano require diamond-sharp brilliance -- and Hinterhuber lives up to the requirement and then some. Both the piano concerto on this CD and additional works glisten and sparkle just as did the previous CD's (a total of 5 by now)-- anyone who loves Mozart but is somewhat tired of hearing the same piano concertos should welcome these Ries CD's as additions to their library of romantic works." Report Abuse
 Ferdinand Ries Concerto Series Lovingly Continues November 20, 2012 By D. Stewart (Flagstaff, AZ) See All My Reviews "I cannot remember so eagerly awaiting releases, such as these, since waiting for Rudolf Serkin releases in the 50-80's. This Vol 2 did not disappoint. It, like the other Vols in this wonderful series, is just plain magnificent. All of Ries's piano and orchestral compositions are present within these 5 Vols. Ries's music is a sheer delight with hints of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. The orchestral writing is both energetic and at times contemplative with much attention to the horns, woodwinds, and tympani. But it is the piano writing that captures most of the attention, and I cannot imagine a pianist that plays it any better, or with such feeling and devotion, than the pianist on this 5 Vol Series, Christopher Hinterhuber. Once you have heard Vol 1(2005) you will be hooked on the performances, recording, and music. One used to have to wait for future Vols with enthusiasm -- and at times impatience. Fortunately all 5 Vols are now ready for you to enjoy. Though different Orchestras are involved in Vols 1, 2, 3 and 4 all are sympathetically and energetically conducted by Uwe Grodd and magnificently recorded, with the piano in just the right balance. You can also clearly hear all of the orchestral parts, and Ries makes them worth the listen. The pianist is in an almost constant, and I am sure quite difficult, spotlight and given a workout, but Hinterhuber makes it all sound natural and easy. All involved in this series deserve a Grammy. Listen to these performances at any time, but if you are having a bad day any one of these Vols will quickly get you in a more receptive and pleasant mood. For starters and the curious, Vol 5(2012) contains the first published concerto and the last, which makes for an interesting comparison, but there is no doubt that these were all written by Ferdinand Ries. Hurry. You will not be disappointed. These 5 Vols are all instant 5 star winners" Report Abuse
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