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Schumann, Grieg, Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos / Shelley, Greed, Opera North Orchestra


Release Date: 03/31/2009 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10509   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert SchumannEdvard GriegCamille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Howard Shelley
Conductor:  David Greed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Opera North Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In an age of standard-concerto-repertoire catalog overload, it's understandable that you might be inclined to pass over this disc. After all, who needs another Schumann/Grieg coupling, or another Saint-Saëns G minor, and all conducted from the piano? As it happens, Howard Shelley brilliantly pulls off his dual role, and manages to make these warhorses sound fresh and vital from both soloist and orchestral perspectives.

Both the Schumann and Grieg first movements benefit from unusually fleet basic tempos that allow for natural, meaningful, and flawlessly dovetailed rubatos, while both finales' rhythmic zest and crystalline articulation will defy you not to tap your toes. The splendid timpanist particularly gets to shine at
Read more the outset of the Saint-Saëns Allegro Scherzando, as does Shelley's lively, impeccably poised fingerwork. If the Presto doesn't quite break previous speed records, the gorgeously blended wind and brass chording and sparkling piano passagework certainly help sustain the music's whirling momentum.

To some ears Chandos' sonics may seem a bit resonant and bass shy, yet I find the ambience very much in keeping with concert hall realism, along with its ideal soloist/orchestra balance. To sum up, this outstanding release is one of the finest in Howard Shelley's prolific, diverse, and highly distinct discography.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  David Greed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Opera North Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
2. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  David Greed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Opera North Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1907; Norway 
3. Concerto for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  David Greed
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Opera North Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 

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