Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor
Rebecca Miller, Conductor
Piano Concertos by Amy Beach, Dorothy Howell, and Cecil Chaminade
Label: Hyperion Records
Released: March 8, 2017
Catalog Num: CDA68130

Amy Beach, Dorothy Howell and Cécile Chaminade Piano Concertos - The Romantic Piano Concerto series, volume 70 Danny Driver, piano / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Rebecca Miller, conductor

Hyperion's Romantic Piano concerto series is a trailblazing recording project focusing on unperformed works from the broad Romantic period- works which were celebrated in their day, but fell completely out of fashion in the later 20th century. It has uncovered many forgotten masterpieces and the series includes many first recordings. For our 70th release in this series and to coincide with International Women's Day on 8th March we have recorded three works by female composers, all of which are hugely worthy of attention, and which only very rarely appear in the concert hall. These are fine examples of women writing in one of the largest forms.

It is the 150th anniversary of Amy Beach's birth in 1867. Although she was prevented from following her chosen career as a concert pianist by her mother and husband, (who forbade her to perform except for the occasional recital for charity and concerto appearance), she achieved impressive contemporary success as a composer. The piano concerto is a four-movement work dedicated to Teresa Carreño; however it was first performed with the composer as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1899. It is a grand romantic piece, written in Beach's uniquely sensuous language.

Despite her obvious gifts, Cécile Chaminade was prevented from studying at the Paris conservatoire by her father and studied privately with Benjamin Godard. Much of her career was spent as a touring pianist–composer, and her considerable popularity rested largely on her short, often charming character pieces, and several songs. The Conzertstück is a substantial work that was performed regularly in Paris and beyond. The orchestration is brilliantly effective, and she may have taken advice on this from her brother-in-law, Moritz Moszkowski. The end result is a piece of considerable individuality, combining zestful energy and a rich seam of lyrical melody, affirming the enduring value of Chaminade’s larger works.

The musical voice of British composer–pianist Dorothy Howell is both distinctive and cosmopolitan, with influences including Richard Strauss, and her teachers (at the Royal Academy of Music): Tobias Matthay (piano) and John Blackwood McEwen (composition). Her first success came soon after graduating: the symphonic poem Lamia was given its first performance by Sir Henry Wood at the Promenade Concerts in 1919, when it was greeted enthusiastically. The Piano Concerto was first performed at the Queens Hall as part of the Proms in 1923 under Sir Henry Wood with the composer as soloist; a second Prom performance was in 1927, making this its 90th anniversary.

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Updated: Mar-21-2017
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