Tedd Joselson’s Companionship of Concertos
Grieg: Piano Concerto; Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2*
Tedd Joselson (piano); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; *Philharmonia/Arthur Fagen
Signum Classics SIGCD675 65:34 mins
‘How pretentious,’ you might think, looking at the cover of this release and wondering why the most bog-standard pairing of works in the repertoire should be called Ted Joselson’s Companionship of Concertos. The reasoning given in the booklet doesn’t diminish the impression that this is really a vanity project – not Joselson’s but that of Dr Susan Lim, who had music from her project ALAN: the Musical turned into the Fantasy of Companionship by Manu Martin. You can read the review of that work, released earlier this year, in the July issue; you might then wonder if Joselson is pulling someone’s leg when he writes that ‘I would expect that each of the creators of each of these magnificent concertos, Mr. Grieg, Dr Lim and Mr. Rachmaninov, would be delighted to share the stage together in an astonishing combination of collective and creative genius.’ I look for something along the lines of a tribute to a controversial cultural diplomat, described as the ‘art-soul’ of her institution, but you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
The more reputable instalments of the trilogy appear here in perfectly decent recordings with top orchestras – the Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia – professionally guided by Arthur Fagen. Joselson is an admirably clear interpreter. He applies the right rubato to the big tune of the Rachmaninov Second Piano Concerto’s finale, and there’s some elegant soft playing, but not much dance or fantasy about the Grieg.There are also no eccentricities (which is a plus). Who wants this disc in a crowded field? I leave the question open.