BBC Music Magazine

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 77


Bronsart: Piano Concerto in F sharp minor; Urspruch: Piano Concerto in E flat

Emmanuel Despax (piano);

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Eugene Tzigane

Hyperion CDA68229 75:25 mins ★yperion’s long-standing Romantic Piano Concerto series never fails to intrigue. Its

77th instalment presents a pair of virtually unknown works that have somehow slipped through the cracks. The catchily named ★ans August Alexander Bronsart von Schellendo­rf’s main claim to fame is as the soloist who premiered Liszt’s revised Second Piano Concerto. Indeed, there is a whiff of Lisztian virtuosity to Bronsart’s Piano Concerto, a work once popular among his contempora­ries. Soloist Emmanuel Despax convinces that a resurrecti­on is in order: the rousing – and just a little gaudy – first movement is countered by a gorgeous Adagio; Despax is dolce throughout. The energetic Tarantella finale sees pianist and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra share frothy melodies.

Anton Urspruch’s Piano

Concerto begins with an extended pastoral-like first movement; it is much less showy than the Bronsart concerto, and the contrast is effective. Despax has fewer opportunit­ies for pianistic fireworks; in fact, the piano does not feel like a soloist until the build-up to the cadenza. After a forgettabl­e Andante, the Concerto is saved by a galloping closing movement: again, the melodic lines are divvied up between orchestra and piano until, eventually, the solo part strikes out on its own, before re-joining the ensemble again for the blistering accelerand­o finish. Claire Jackson PERFORMANC­E ★★★★ RECORDING ★★★★

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