Hess

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Hess
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: Hess
WORKS: Piano Concerto
PERFORMER: Lang Lang (piano); London Chamber Orchestra/Christopher Warren Green
CATALOGUE NO: 177 4850

Advertisement

Alas, I thought when this arrived, there goes my knighthood: how can I not be sardonic about a concerto commissioned by Prince Charles and celebrating his late grandmother in three short movements entitled ‘The Smile’, ‘The Love’ and ‘The Duty’? Well, take Nigel Hess’s workmanlike job as superior film or television music, and it’s not bad. Lang Lang ripples his way through the iridescent ‘Smile’, negotiating shades of sub‑Rachmaninov lyricism and a touch of Waltonian pomp. In ‘The Love’, simplicity expands into romantic fulsomeness, though without quite achieving the memorability of Carl Davis’s wonderful pastiche music for the BBC’s Cranford; while the finale’s processional culminates in some high-flying trumpet writing, well negotiated. A setting of the Queen Mum’s written request for gin might be more entertaining, but if this easy listening is your scene, you could do worse. As playing and recording can’t be faulted, the ratings are generous. David Nice