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The Romantic Piano Concerto Vol 17 - Mendelssohn / Hough


Release Date: 08/12/1997 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 66969   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Hough
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Judging by the impressive quality of Hough’s playing here Mendelssohn was no mean player either. Framed by three ten to twelve minute light-hearted single movement works, the two concertos (already more familiar to music lovers than the bulk of Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Series because they sustain a fairly regular position in the repertoire) are always a pleasure to listen to. Mendelssohn’s short life, cut short in 1847 as concert life and the technical developments of the piano and the techniques of its performers were beginning to hot up, thanks largely to Liszt, precluded a role for him. He certainly disapproved of Liszt’s performing antics, not for Mendelssohn the paraphrase of opera tunes of other composers though he himself was a Read more fabulous improviser, but he remained part of the circle (including the Schumanns and Chopin) of innovative executants as well as composers. In this latter capacity he was not driven to ground-breaking when it came to matters of style, for one can find plenty of signs of Mozart, Beethoven and Weber in his writing as well as absorbing the influences by his contemporaries. The relationship between piano and orchestra is a case in point; as with Chopin’s two concertos, the solo instrument hardly rests while the orchestra’s contribution is of relatively little import. Nevertheless the music of these works, all written in the 1830s, is always both charming and delightful. The finale of the first concerto remains a particular favourite with this reviewer, vibrantly thrilling once past the slightly portentous orchestral opening. There is an almost operetta flavour to its main melody, essentially a galop from the music of the salon, and none the worse for that. That Liszt sight-read it flawlessly from Mendelssohn’s manuscript in front of the composer in Erard’s Paris showrooms made an indelible impression on the composer, despite his opinion of the showman pianist.

Mendelssohn would surely have approved of the performances here; Hough’s playing provides a broad palette of colour, plenty of sparkle, lyrical warmth of tone and a sense of ease in the clarity of the passage work. But we all know it’s far from easy. Lawrence Foster and the CBSO make the most of the infrequent opportunities to shine in the orchestral ritornelli and accompany with stylish sensitivity.

-- Christopher Fifield, MusicWeb Interntional
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in G minor, Op. 25 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Hough (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Town Hall, Dudley, England 
Length: 19 Minutes 30 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in D minor, Op. 40 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Hough (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Town Hall, Dudley, England 
Length: 21 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3.
Capriccio brillant for Piano and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 22 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Hough (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1825-26; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Town Hall, Dudley, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 39 Secs. 
4.
Rondo brillant for Piano and Orchestra in E flat major, Op. 29 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Hough (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Town Hall, Dudley, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 45 Secs. 
5.
Serenade and Allegro giocoso for Piano and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 43 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Stephen Hough (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Town Hall, Dudley, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 48 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Sparkling keyboard work November 16, 2014 By Alan Beadle (Bowie, MD) See All My Reviews "This recording of the Capriccio Brillant, Rondo Brillant, the two piano concertos, and the Serenade are a great combination to have on one disc, especially with Stephan Hough at the keyboard. The disc is very refreshing to listen to and to marvel at the virtuosity of the score and of the artist." Report Abuse
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