Moszkowski: Piano Concerto in B minor, Op 3; Schulz-Evler: Russian Rhapsody, Op 14

Reviewed on Tue 20 Sep, 2016

Ludmil Angelov achieves minor miracles by throwing everything he can technically and interpretatively at these works, as does Vladimir Kiradjiev, who secures admirably direct playing from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series continues to unearth interesting repertoire and give it premiere recordings. Both works included here were written ostensibly to further their composers’ playing careers – and the demands they make are considerable. Moritz Moszkowski’s early-1870s concerto was thought lost until the score was discovered in Paris during 2008. A 54-minute work in four movements, it is at best enthralling: sample the opening movement, which has the soloist firing off a Chopinesque fusillade of notes, or the humorous third-movement scherzo. On the debit side, distended writing leads the other movements towards self-serving ornamentation – the finale has not one but two bravura cadenzas – rather than structural cohesion. Adolf Schulz-Evler’s Russian Rhapsody makes for a tuneful and involving partner. Initially sombre, it gradually accelerates through a sequence of shifting keys and melodies towards a brilliant conclusion. Ludmil Angelov achieves minor miracles by throwing everything he can technically and interpretatively at these works, as does Vladimir Kiradjiev, who secures admirably direct playing from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Full-blooded and well balanced recorded sound; useful liner notes by Jeremy Nicholas.
–Evan Dickerson