Boyle: Piano Concerto in D minor; Hill: Piano Concerto in A major; Piano Sonata in A major

Reviewed on Fri 16 Dec, 2016

The centrepiece is Boyle’s Concerto in D minor. Composed in 1911, making it arguably the first significant such work by an Australian, it is unabashedly romantic, with orchestral writing of considerable character that feels both ripe and robust, and a particularly thoughtful piano line.

Volume 69 in Hyperion’s continuing survey of romantic piano concertos takes an Antipodean turn with two 20th-century works by Australians Alfred Hill (1869-1960) and George Frederick Boyle (1886-1948). The centrepiece is Boyle’s Concerto in D minor. Composed in 1911, making it arguably the first significant such work by an Australian, it is unabashedly romantic, with orchestral writing of considerable character that feels both ripe and robust, and a particularly thoughtful piano line. Hill’s A major Concerto was written 30 years later yet seems, if anything, more anachronistic (and not just in the antique titling of its four movements). Pretty, sylvan-like and easy on the ear, it too often sounds like elegant but obvious pastiche. Hill’s Piano Sonata offers passing interest as the source of the later concerto. Like the Boyle, it receives its first recording here. Piers Lane and the Adelaide Symphony play with conviction and make a persuasive case for the Boyle if not for the Hill.
–Michael Quinn