British Piano Concertos – no fireworks, just great tunes

What sounds do the words “Piano Concerto” conjure up? The bombast of Grieg or Tchaikovsky? The tumult of Beethoven? Well, there are other approaches.

This release features six short concertos by British composers. All are classically trained. Some remained in the classical field. Others migrated to film and television soundtracks.

No matter. All these works are modest in scope. And all deliver entertaining and engaging sound.

Soloist Simon Callaghan approaches each of these concertos seriously. But also with full awareness of the spirit of the music.

For example, he gives John Addison’s work a light-hearted reading. The “Suite for two horns, piano, tympani, percussion, and strings” is indeed light and fun. Just the kind of concert piece you might expect from the composer of “Murder, She Wrote.”

And Callaghan brings the power and energy when required. As Elizabeth Machonchy’s “Concertino for Piano and Strings” requires. This 1949 concertino is densely packed with motifs that organically link together.

Arthur Benjamin’s 1927 “Concertino for Piano and Orchestra” was inspired by Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The jazz elements are reigned in a little, though. Still, it’s a perfect work for a light classical program.

I was familiar with most of the composers on this release, but none of the music. Looking for a recording of pleasant — but worthwhile — listening? Give this a spin. No fireworks here, but some great tunes nonetheless.

British Piano Concertos
John Addison, Geoffrey Bush, Elizabeth Maconchy, Humphrey Searle, Edmund Rubbra, Arthur Benjamin
Simon Callaghan, piano
BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Martyn Brabbins, conductor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program