Scharwenka: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3

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COMPOSERS: Scharwenka
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 3
PERFORMER: Seta Tanyel (piano); NDR Radio PO Hanover/Tadeusz Strugala
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67365 Reissue (1996)
This refugee from the now-defunct Collins Classics has been given asylum by Hyperion, where it will hopefully enjoy a more secure home life in its natural domicile as Vol. 33 of its Romantic Piano Concerto series. In the swashbuckling stakes, the Second Concerto (1880) is everything you could wish for – virtuoso solo part, climax piled upon climax (ideal fare for the armchair baton waver) and a meaty orchestral contribution. The Third Concerto (1898), by contrast, is more symphonic in nature, adopts a Lisztian cyclical structure, and has a more sombre character.

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The piano has a wonderful, evenly graded tone (slightly plummy and without the usual over-bright treble) that serves the Third Concerto ideally, perfectly matched with the sonorous, alert Hanover orchestra. There is more than one passage of lyrical beauty in which Seta Tanyel’s playing could melt ice. If she lacks the drive and incisive brilliance of Michael Ponti in the Second Concerto (Vox), and the quasi-erotic diablerie that Earl Wild (Élan) and Stephen Hough (Hyperion) brought to their famous recordings of Scharwenka’s First and Fourth Concerto respectively, her musicality, spirited attack and rhythmic élan (not to mention her initiative in reviving these magnificent works) make this a most welcome reissue. Jeremy Nicholas