WORKS: Piano Concerto in B
PERFORMER: Ian Hobson (piano)BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66949
For the first time in this series there is a sense that in their tireless search for unknown Romantic concertos, Hyperion are beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Perhaps they should not have allowed the pianist Ian Hobson to write such a candid appraisal of the concerto by Henry Holden Huss. Yes, it is highly derivative. Yes, the originality of the slow movement is not matched by its memorability. One can only agree that the material is neither elevated nor momentous. Hobson’s account of how he was ‘obliged’ to orchestrate a missing section has none of the infectious enthusiasm of those who resurrected the Parry and Stanford concertos for Hyperion a couple of years ago. Yet this music is not displeasing, only lacking some of the individuality and distinction that has hitherto been a feature of this series.
Huss’s fellow American, Ernest Schelling, fares better, both in Hobson’s essay and in performance. His Suite fantastique is a lighter work, but better structured and a great deal more assured in the handling of its material. It says something for Schelling’s deft touch that the last movement incorporates the ‘Virginia Reel’, ‘Dixie’, ‘Yankee Doodle’ and ‘The Swanee River’without apparent incongruity. Christopher Lambton