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The Romantic Piano Concerto Vol 56 - Kalkbrenner / Shelley, Tasmanian SO

Kalkbrenner / Shelley / Tasmanian Sym Orch
Release Date: 03/13/2012 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67843   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frederic Kalkbrenner
Performer:  Howard Shelley
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

KALKBRENNER Piano Concertos: No. 2 in e; No. 3 in a. Adagio ed Allegro di bravura Howard Shelley (pn, cond); Tasmanian SO HYPERION CDA67843 (68: 41)

I must confess to a guilty pleasure. I like easy-listening music. I enjoy arrangements of popular tunes by Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, and Paul Weston. It is ingratiating music without any deeper meaning. By the same token, I like Kalkbrenner, who was sort of the Ray Conniff of his age. My first exposure to his music was Hans Read more Kann’s lovely rendition of the First Piano Concerto on a Turnabout LP, since released on CD. Given the choice, I would rather be Kalkbrenner than a great artist. Vincent Van Gogh may have had posthumous acclaim, but forced to choose between his life and a Victorian portrait painter’s, it’s the latter for me. Comparing Kalkbrenner to his contemporary John Field, Field comes off as a master of the depths of the human soul. Hamilton Harty compiled and orchestrated a lovely work called A John Field Suite . I doubt we’ll be hearing A Friedrich Kalkbrenner Suite any time soon. Given the popularity of Kalkbrenner during his lifetime, the hysterical response to the recitals of Franz Liszt is no wonder. Liszt was offering his audiences raw meat, in comparison with the bon-bons of Kalkbrenner. In Howard Shelley’s hands, though, Kalkbrenner makes a deserved comeback, offering music of gentleness and wit.

Though marked maestoso , the first movement of Kalkbrenner’s Second Concerto is more an attitude than a somber intent. The solo part modulates between the declamation of the concert hall and the intimacy of the parlor. Overall, one has the impression of a self-important well being. Titled “La Tranquillité,” the second movement is a genre piece representing a happy domesticity, dropped into the middle of the concerto. Marked grazioso , the concluding rondo is like a man making a succession of funny faces while always succeeding in being amusing. This is a highly agreeable work. The Third Concerto begins with a movement possessing a rather operatic feel. The soloist portrays the proto-romantic role of the hero, without any great machismo. As this device is shared with Chopin’s First Concerto, the Pole understandably dedicated that work to Kalkbrenner. The slow movement is a brief, strikingly maestoso introduction to the concluding rondo. Had Kalkbrenner been thinking of the middle movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto? The rondo, marked vivace , gets a little tipsy at times. Once again, Kalkbrenner succeeds by this concerto as an entertainer.

In the Adagio ed Allegro di bravura , the opening section shows the composer at his most lyrically appealing, with very little pianistic display. The allegro constitutes the sort of graceful virtuoso piece that is godfather to Gottschalk’s Grand Tarantella . The horn figurations in the accompaniment suggest that Kalkbrenner knew his Weber.

As for our soloist, I can’t praise Howard Shelley’s work on this CD enough. He performs with grace, wit, and a suitably light touch—the last a characteristic of Kalkbrenner’s own playing, according to contemporaries. Whatever editing might have been done on the CD, Shelley’s virtuosity nevertheless is unquestionable. The Tasmanian Symphony performs its modest duties well. Veteran producer Ben Connellan succeeds in giving us sound that is warm, well balanced, and crisp, if—typically of this label—a little dry. I listened to this CD five times in two days, an indication that Kalkbrenner, whatever shallowness might be attributed to him, does not wear out his welcome. If you love Parisian ballet or concert music, such as Adam and Burgmüller, or are just a little weary of the modern world, this CD will be a real treat.

FANFARE: Dave Saemann
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 2 in E minor, Op. 85 by Frederic Kalkbrenner
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826 
Concerto for Piano no 3 in A minor, Op. 107 by Frederic Kalkbrenner
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829 
Adagio ed Allegro di bravura, Op. 102 by Frederic Kalkbrenner
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Howard Shelley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830 

Featured Sound Samples

Piano Concerto no 2: II. La tranquillité
Piano Concerto no 3: III. Rondo

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 Hyperion Does It Again! July 5, 2012 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Outstanding! Yet another winner in Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto series. Friedrich Kalkbrenner may not be a household name these days, but his spirited orchestral writing from the heart of the Romantic era is definitely worth a listen. Kudos to Howard Shelley and the excellent Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. A most rewarding listening experience is guaranteed. Recommended!" Report Abuse
 Romantic Piano- Kalkbrenner/Shelly June 16, 2012 By John Edelblute (Hartford, WI) See All My Reviews "I had never heard of this composer before he appeared om your web site. I am glad I discovered him. I listened to the sound samples, liked them, and ordered the CD. The piano work and orgustration is superb. This CD joined my others in the Hyperion series. The entire series of romantic piano on this label is the best ever. Keep featuring them along with sound samples which are a good sales tool, and I will surely purchase more of them." Report Abuse
 Breathtaking May 24, 2012 By Anthony G. (SANTA FE, NM) See All My Reviews "Kalkbrenner's music has been wrongly neglected and ignored. Conductors and virtuosi play the same tired pieces over and over again.Does one really need to hear another performance of the Emperor when any one of Kalkbrenner's concertos enchants as much? The music of composers like Kalkbrenner would do much to boost the love of Classical music and fill our shrinking musical audiences and sparsely attended concerts of Classical music . We need some new blood and some new repertoire. We could follow Kalkbrenner with the zillionth performance of Mozart's 40 g if that would make our fossilized audiences happy. In the meantime, let's tempt the under 70 crowd!" Report Abuse
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