RIES Piano Concerto in c, op. 115; Concerto Pastoral in D, op. 120; Introduction and Rondo Brilliant, WoO 54 • Christopher Hinterhuber (pn); Uwe Grodd, cond; Bournemouth SO • NAXOS 8.572088 (71.26)
Christopher Hinterhuber has been recording his way steadily through Ferdinand Ries’s 14 works for piano and orchestra. AustrianRead more pianist Hinterhuber and Ries are an excellent match: Ries composed most of these brilliant works for his own concerts while touring Europe as a virtuoso pianist, and Hinterhuber has the brilliant keyboard technique and musical sensibility to bring them back to life.
The three works on this CD are from different periods of Ries’s life (the opus numbers do not accurately reflect the chronology). The C-Minor Concerto (op. 115), published in 1823, was composed in 1809; the date of composition of the Concerto Pastoral in D (op. 120) is not certain, but its dedication to a member of the Swedish royalty in the published edition of 1823 suggests that it was composed near the time Ries became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, around 1813. The Introduction and Rondo Brillant, published posthumously as WoO 54, is the latest of the three works, dating from 1835. Like all of Ries’s music that I have played and heard, the piano concertos are composed with skill and a wealth of inspired musical ideas.
The romantic spirit prevails throughout these works; the concertos are outgoing, flashy works, intended for a less sophisticated audience and more public venue than Ries’s piano sonatas and chamber music. (The word “flashy” is not used pejoratively here—it describes music that aims to entertain the audience with its brilliance.) While Ries indulges in all the typical romantic flourishes in the piano part (very similar to Chopin’s style of figuration), the orchestral sections adhere to classical ideals. The grand opening tutti of the D Major Concerto Pastoral could be by Beethoven; there are even a few brief melodic hints of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” and Ninth symphonies (both, significantly, in the key of D)—but as soon as the piano enters, the romantic keyboard style takes over. A soulful cello solo starts the slow movement, which ends with a horn call to initiate the delightful hunting character of the finale, in a fast 6/8 meter very reminiscent of Mozart’s horn concertos. The C-Minor Concerto from 1809 opens with a sober and melancholy tutti that is somewhat Mozartean, and filled with lovely melodic ideas; it also sounds quite like Beethoven at times—small wonder, since just a few years earlier Ries had premiered Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto in Vienna.
Even while Ries often reflects his classical roots, his concertos look forward to the style of the romantic piano composers. His gift for writing beautiful melodies and sparkling keyboard figuration, in addition to his thorough knowledge of orchestral writing, makes these concertos very enjoyable listening. Uwe Grodd, a fine flutist as well as conductor, accompanies Hinterhuber beautifully, the Bournemouth Symphony is excellent, and the balance between piano and orchestra is perfect. Highly recommended.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in C minor, Op. 115by Ferdinand Ries Performer:
Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1809; Bonn, Germany
A note to the c minor concertoJanuary 23, 2013By William Roell (Bel Air, MD)See All My Reviews"The deep, mellow horn heard throughout this concerto is in imitation of the Alpine horn. I am surprised no one has noted this before, I am more surprised Alpine horns (imitation or not) do not turn up more often in music. They have a wonderful tone. Which makes this Ries's Alpine Concerto."Report Abuse
Vol 4 of a Superb Series and PerformancesNovember 20, 2012By 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 4 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