Field: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat; Piano Concerto No. 2 in A flat

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COMPOSERS: Field
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat; Piano Concerto No. 2 in A flat
PERFORMER: Míceál O’Rourke (piano); London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9368 DDD
Dublin-reared, Russian-domiciled, a man celebrated by, yet standing outside, the Parisian-Prussian-Hapsburg-Italian European mainstream of early 19th-century Romanticism, John Field (1782-1837) was one of the most remarkable players of his age, an artist transitional between the old and the new. This release couples the perennially fresh apprentice First Concerto (with its variation slow movement on Hook’s ‘’Twas within a mile of Edinboro’ town’) and the bolder Second, written many years later in Russia, a prophetic work of wondering imagination and poetic flight rightly thought ‘divinely beautiful’ by Schumann.

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As his previous Chandos recordings suggest, the Irish pianist Míceál O’Rourke – an artist of Classical discipline, Romantic insight and delicate touch concerned with elegant point-making and refined understatement – is a player in natural sympathy with Field’s peculiar sensibility (though his arguably self-indulgent enlargement of the ‘moderato’ elements of the Second Concerto’s outer movements, at the expense of structural line and expressive continuity, may not be to everyone’s taste; in this respect, John O’Conor is a stronger advocate).

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Under Matthias Bamert – a conductor responsibly attentive to style and detail – the London Mozart Players lend notably distinguished support. Excellently focused recording (Blackheath Concert Halls), evocatively spaced. Delectable.