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Bate: Piano Concerto No 3, Sinfonietta No 1; Reizenstein: Piano Concerto No 2

Bate / Sangiorgio / Royal Scottish Orch / Yates
Release Date: 01/10/2012 
Label:  Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog #: 7282   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz ReizensteinStanley Bate
Performer:  Victor Sangiorgio
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BATE Piano Concerto No. 2. Sinfonietta No. 1. REIZENSTEIN Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Victor Sangiorgio (pn); Martin Yates, cond.; Royal Scottish Natl O DUTTON CDLX 7282 (69:43)

Yet another irreplaceable number in Dutton’s endlessly fascinating series of premiere recordings pairs second piano concertos by two relatively short-lived and underappreciated composers born in the same year—Stanley Bate (1911–59) and Franz Reizenstein (1911–68). Read more

After focusing on several of Bate’s most important postwar works (the Third and Fourth symphonies and the great Viola Concerto), Dutton now delves back into his promisingly active youthful 1930s with first recordings of one of his three piano concertos and the first of his two sinfoniettas. Though neither work is as complex in drama and design as the products of his maturity, the second concerto of 1940 is a very substantial and collaborative piece that does quite well by both the soloist (Bate introduced the work himself under Beecham) and its accompanying forces. As usual in Bate’s music, it is full of arresting ideas treated in unexpectedly inventive ways, reflecting his studies with another talented composer-pianist, Arthur Benjamin.

Though adhering more or less to classical models, Bate was always able to incorporate what he learned from two of the century’s greatest teachers (Hindemith and Boulanger) into the essentially British perspective he had inherited from his early studies with Vaughan Williams. This rich synthesis makes for a highly attractive Waltonian blend of interacting color and cogency, of the nationalistic and the cosmopolitan, comparable to those of members of an older generation such as Bliss and Goossens. The Sinfonietta, written two years earlier and consisting of two pairs of presto/andante movements, is an absolute romp, moving along at a breakneck pace and resembling many characteristics of a divertimento. It makes us eager to sample some of the ballet music Bate was turning out during these formative but productive years.

Also a gifted pianist, Franz Reizenstein was forced to leave his native Germany for the usual reasons and to emigrate to England as early as 1934. His first teacher had been Hindemith, but after further studies in England with Vaughan Williams, Constant Lambert, and the celebrated pianist Solomon, during the following three decades he amassed an impressive collection of orchestra, chamber, even choral music in many forms while making a living as a teacher and composer-for-hire, primarily for horror films.

The Second Piano Concerto of 1961 is written in his busily propulsive and forthrightly self-assured neoclassical style whose Hindemithian origins had absorbed a wide range of idioms, including a more populist bent. Like the Bate Second, it is quite approachable and communicative and makes for a fine virtuosic vehicle for both soloist and orchestra. Both Victor Sangiorgio and Martin Yates are full up to the demands made upon them and deliver smashing readings.

All in all, this is a most worthy and highly enjoyable addition to the Dutton catalog and leads one to hope they will explore more Bate concertos: two others for piano, three for violin, one each for cello and harpsichord. Meanwhile, no hesitation is required to acquire this disc.

FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 2 in F major by Franz Reizenstein
Performer:  Victor Sangiorgio (Piano)
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961 
Concerto for Piano no 2 in C major, Op. 28 by Stanley Bate
Performer:  Victor Sangiorgio (Piano)
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940 
Sinfonietta no 1, Op. 22 by Stanley Bate
Conductor:  Martin Yates
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938 

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