Beach: Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 45; Chaminade: Concertstück in C sharp minor, Op 40; Howell: Piano Concerto in D minor

Reviewed on Thu 09 Mar, 2017

I'm happy to report that Danny Driver does Amy Beach's substantial Piano Concerto absolutely proud, and he enjoys terrific support from the BBC Scottish SO under Rebecca Miller. An exemplary addition to Hyperion's long-running Romantic Piano Concerto series.

A formidably talented performer as well as gifted composer, Amy Beach was the soloist in the April 1900 Boston world premiere of her expansive and virtuosic Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, and she went on to give many performances of it both at home and abroad. Cast in four movements, it's a consummately crafted, big-hearted and richly lyrical creation that most assuredly deserves wider exposure. I'm happy to report that Danny Driver does this substantial work absolutely proud, and he enjoys terrific support from the BBC Scottish SO under Rebecca Miller. The Beach is flanked by two further rarities. Birmingham-born Dorothy Howell's one-movement Concerto of 1923 was taken up by both Sir Henry Wood and Adrian Boult before falling into oblivion. Though neither as distinctive nor imaginative as her 1919 tone poem The Lamia, it proves a very likeable find which well merits the stylish treatment bestowed upon it here. Rather more striking, however, is Cécile Chaminade's 1888 Concertstück, a highly attractive 15-minute essay of winning poetry, wit and sparkle. In sum, an exemplary addition to Hyperion's long-running Romantic Piano Concerto series. Vividly truthful sound and excellent presentation, too.
–Andrew Achenbach