The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 81: Rubbra, Bliss

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 81: Rubbra, Bliss

by Piers LanePiers Lane


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The Hyperion label's Romantic Piano Concerto series here reaches its 81st volume. If there's any sign of a diminution, it's that one of the present works was written in 1938 and the other in 1955, neither date conventionally placed in the Romantic era. Yet the two main attractions here can indubitably be described as Romantic, and both are entirely distinctive pieces well worth a revival; neither is commonly heard, even in Britain. The "Piano Concerto No. 1 in G, Op. 85" (the lack of designation of major or minor is perhaps intentional), of Edmund Rubbra, is the later of the two works. The work was dedicated to Indian sarod player Ali Akbar Khan, an influence audible from the beginning of the work (beautifully handled here by pianist Piers Lane and the Orchestra Now under Leon Botstein) and elegantly integrated into concerto form. It's also very much the work of a symphonist, which was Rubbra's primary métier; the piano is sometimes a soloist, sometimes an element of orchestral color. The slow movement is a lovely nocturne. The "Piano Concerto in B flat major, Op. 58," of Arthur Bliss, was composed for the 1939 New York World's Fair and dedicated to the American people. Perhaps this circumstance brought forth an unusually broad musical language from the once-modernist Bliss, who remarked, "Surely the Americans are at heart the most romantic in the world." The finale is an energetic and technically challenging romp that lives up to Bliss's stated ambition to produce a British "Emperor Concerto." All of the musicians approach the music with freshness and commitment, and the whole project is of interest far beyond the usual circles of Romantic music specialists and enthusiasts.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/26/2020
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571282978
catalogNumber: 68297
Rank: 12972

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Piers Lane   Primary Artist

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