LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
PERFORMER: Jonathan Plowright (piano); BBC Scottish SO/Christoph König
CATALOGUE NO: Hyperion CDA 67630
One of the remarkable things about a well-trained musician in a period when technical demands were high is that the music produced so often approaches genius. Such is the case with these two concertos by the Polish composer Henryk Melcer. Music ran in his family and a thorough education in his native Poland culminated in studies in Vienna with Leschetizky. These two concertos, both prize winners in their day, fit comfortably into a virtuoso tradition stretching from Chopin through Liszt, but the influence of Brahms, in the motivic writing and counterpoint in the E minor Concerto, and Grieg, in the shading of some of the melodies, is also evident. Melcer’s own abundant originality shines out frequently, notably in the marvellously poetic latter portions of the first movement of the C minor Concerto. Given the rarity of the repertoire, Jonathan Plowright and Christoph Konig have done a superb job of absorbing Melcer’s idiom. Care over both works’ expressive rhetoric is everywhere apparent in performances that suggest affectionate familiarity. There are moments when the orchestral playing is a touch raw, but these are few and far between, and the whole is well recorded. Clearly a distinguished addition to this fascinating series.