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Spohr, Onslow: Piano Sonatas / Howard Shelley

Spohr / Onslow / Shelley
Release Date: 09/12/2012 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67947   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Louis SpohrGeorges Onslow
Performer:  Howard Shelley
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SPOHR Piano Sonata. Rondoletto in G. ONSLOW Piano Sonata. Six Pièces. Toccata in C Howard Shelley (pn) HYPERION CDA 67947 (78:16)

Louis Spohr (1784–1859) wrote prolifically in practically every genre of his day; the one notable exception is solo piano music. The two works played here by Howard Shelley represent Spohr’s entire mature output for the instrument. The 1843 Sonata was written for his second Read more wife, Marianne, and dedicated to Mendelssohn. Richard Wigmore’s notes describe it well: “it is music of gentle, unpretentious charm, and occasionally rather more than that.” The 1848 Rondoletto is a pleasant salon piece. Spohr’s exact contemporary George Onslow (1784–1853), the son of an Englishman, was born in France and spent time both there and in Germany; atypically for a Frenchman, he wrote mostly chamber music. The 1807 Piano Sonata, as with Spohr his only such work, is notable for its incipient romanticism. The first movement is a well-crafted sonata form; the Menuetto that follows actually predates the music it sounds like—mostly Schubert and Mendelssohn. Onslow’s Toccata, written in 1811 when Schumann was a year old, bears an unmistakable affinity to that composer’s op. 7 Toccata in the same key. The lightweight Six Pièces, written much later in the 1840s, are reminiscent of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words . This may not be earthshaking stuff, but it’s all highly enjoyable music that is rarely played; ArkivMusic shows only one competing version of the Spohr sonata. Shelley, who as a conductor has recorded all of Spohr’s symphonies, plays this music masterfully. Hyperion’s recording is faultless. What’s not to like?

FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

Rondoletto for piano in G major, Op. 149 by Louis Spohr
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1848 
Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op. 125 by Louis Spohr
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1843 
Sonata for Piano in C minor, Op. 2 by Georges Onslow
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Pieces (6) for Piano by Georges Onslow
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Toccata for Piano in C major, Op. 6 by Georges Onslow
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Thank you Howard Shelley! October 9, 2012 By Troy K. (Oro Valley, AZ) See All My Reviews "First, is there any active pianist who has recorded so many wonderful performances of out-of-the mainstream works? Certainly none that I know of. Thank you Mr. Shelley for being such a compelling advocate of so many works that I had never had the chance to hear until you recorded them. That sentiment certainly applies in this recording. I had never heard any of the works on this disc before, but I cannot imagine them better played or recorded. The Spohr works struck me as a good listen, but not works that I have any great desire to hear again. On the other hand, the Onslow sonata was much more of a rewarding find for me. It was a work that I cannot believe I have not heard before. In summary, five stars for the pianist and the recorded sound, and three stars for the works themselves. If you have an affinity for either of the composers, buy this disc with confidence!" Report Abuse
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