IGNAZ MOSCHELES: Piano Concertos Nos. 4 in E Major & 5 in C Major; Recollections of Ireland (Hyperion)

by | Jun 3, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

IGNAZ MOSCHELES: Piano Concertos Nos. 4 in E Major & 5 in C
Major; Recollections of Ireland – Howard Shelley, piano &
conductor/Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra – Hyperion CDA67430, 72:04 ****:

The indefatigable Romantic Piano Concertos series at Hyperion rolls
along, and this is amazingly No. 36 in the series! It’s the third
venture into the Moscheles repertory by Shelley, who has already
recorded for Hyperion Nos.1, 2, 3, 6 & 7. Moscheles, who hailed
from Prague, was one of several pianist-composers were musical
celebrities of the first part of the 19th century.  His music and
performances were both technically brilliant and masterly in
expression. He also had a nice personality and was well-liked –
something not always found in pianist or violinistic prima donnas. Like
Chopin, he wrote mainly for the piano – works that he could himself
perform, but he also created some symphonies and chamber music.

Moscheles’ Fourth Concerto shows Mozart and Beethoven as strong
influences, yet the work has many forward-looking attributes that are
thought to have inspired Chopin in his E Minor Concerto composed seven
years later. The closing portion of the first movement startlingly
reminds one of Schumann’s much later Piano Concerto. The Concerto No. 5
is part of the composer’s later period.  it did not achieve the
popularity of his earlier concertos because it was more exploratory and
less immediate.The Adagio movement is especially nice, approaching the
best of Beethoven or Mendelssohn. The Irish Recollections commemorated
a difficult crossing of the channel from Britain to Ireland. The work
quotes some Irish folk songs. Performed and recorded in Tasmania, the
Australian players are fully on an equal with their UK counterparts.
Hyperion’s sonic standards are always high in both their 44.1 CDs and
SACDs. They would like to include Moscheles’ Concerto No. 8 in the next
volume but can’t find it anywhere. They have made a plea to anyone who
might know of the manuscript.

– John Sunier

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