Litolff: Concerto Symphonique No. 2 in B minor; Concerto Symphonique No. 4 in D minor

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Litolff
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Concerto Symphonique No. 2 in B minor; Concerto Symphonique No. 4 in D minor
PERFORMER: Peter Donohoe (piano) Bournemouth SO/Andrew Litton
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66889
One could judge Romantic piano concertos much as one would wine. The genre is quite narrowly defined, at least as represented by this admirable series, but with a number of variables. Instead of bouquet, fruit, tannin and finish, one might consider glitter, energy, hummability and weepiness. It is easy to score highly on the first two – that Litolff does so is perhaps obvious to those who have come across the effervescent scherzo from the Fourth Concerto as an encore. Hummability and weepiness contribute to what has been called the ‘tingle factor’, which is much more elusive. Here, Litolff is less effective, being insistent and pompous in areas that call for fluidity and expressiveness. Donohoe and Litton supply ample wit and virtuosity, but the recording – to my great surprise – falls short of the wonderful clarity expected of Hyperion. Christopher Lambton

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