Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor Op 32
Franz Xaver Scharwenka (1850-1924)
Allegro non tanto – Allegro patetico, come prima
Piano Concerto No 4 in D minor Op 70
Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894)
Hyperion’s Record of the Month for October—surely the Romantic Piano Concerto recording of the decade—will have pianophiles the world over in raptures.
These two works are undoubtedly the greatest of the forgotten concertos we have not previously tackled and have been much requested. Both were written by hugely successful virtuoso pianists who were also composers, and both had a major place in the nineteenth-century repertoire, only falling from favour in the 1920s as modernism found its place in the concert hall.
There have been great recordings of each in the past so we waited until we could be sure of making superlative versions before committing them to the series. With Marc-André’s involvement this was sure to be special, and we have not been disappointed—his startling virtuosity can be taken for granted, but here there is also an adrenalin-fuelled excitement which is rarely captured in studio performances and which is guaranteed to involve even the most casual listener. Conductor Michael Stern (son of Isaac) fully enters into the spirit and does magnificent things with the BBCSSO in what is his first Hyperion recording.