Magazine article Gramophone

Herz: 'The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol 66

Magazine article Gramophone

Herz: 'The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol 66

Article excerpt

Herz

'The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol 66' Piano Concerto No 2, Op 74. Grande fantaisie militaire sur La filie du regiment, Op 163. Fantaisie et variations sur la marche d'Otello de Rossini, Op 67. Grande Polonaise brillante, Op 30

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra / Howard Shelley pf

Hyperion (F) CDA68100 (65' * DDD)

Public taste is a fickle thing. The higher your standing, the greater your fall pianistic superstars of today take note. As far as 19th-century audiences were concerned, Henri Herz could do no wrong, although he annoyed his more serious counterparts--even Schumann called him a 'talented hack'. Herz's talent (a bit like that of the recently departed James Last) lay not in profundity but in pleasing the crowds, and he did that exceptionally well. Howard Shelley is clearly convinced; this is his third Hyperion disc devoted to Herz's works for piano and orchestra.

Brahms it ain't (and all the better for that, you may well think). There is a high-spirited quality to everything here: even in C minor, the key of the Second Concerto, there's a kind of glee underlying the first orchestral tutti. But Herz could also write a gracious tune with the best of them, as witness the lyrical second idea of the concerto's first movement or the aria-like one that opens the Andantino. …

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