Weber: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Polacca brillante; Konzertstück in F minor

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Weber
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2; Polacca brillante; Konzertstück in F minor
PERFORMER: Benjamin Frith (piano); RTE Sinfonietta/Prionnsias O’Duinn
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550959 DDD
These concertos (1810-12) are interesting, if patchy works. The first harks back to Mozart, the second looks forward to Chopin and Liszt. Orchestrally they are slightly more interesting than the Chopin concertos, though there are some startling moments such as the Adagio of the First, with its Brahmsian coloured accompaniment of lower strings and horns. The pianist must shine in the prestos and Frith does, even if his cadenza in the Second, which Weber left to the soloist, is brief and unimaginative. Curiously, there isn’t one in the First, but he has a fine musical sense of rubato in its opening movement. The RTE band plays well enough, though woodwind are too distant in the tuttis. The Polacca (subtitled ‘L’hilarité’ though it won’t have you rolling in the aisles) was orchestrated by Liszt. Despite some dubious tuning in the orchestra at times, Frith’s virtuosity continues to impress in this and the more popular Konzertstück, which is really a third concerto in one movement with a rather silly and irrelevant medieval programme. The music speaks for itself. Christopher Fifield

Advertisement