Beach Chaminade, Howell Piano Concertos

Beach Chaminade, Howell Piano Concertos—Danny Driver, piano; BBC Scottish Symphony/Rebecca Miller (Hyperion 68130)

Jeremy Nicholas in Gramophone points out that “none of the 91 composers featured on the previous 69 volumes in Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series has been a woman. As if to redress the balance, Vol 70 has three.  It is sponsored by Ambache (a charitable trust dedicated to raising the profile of music by women), and the BBC Scottish SO (leader Laura Samuel) is conducted by Rebecca Miller, whose special rapport with the soloist may or may not have something to do with the fact that she is married to him.”  Rebecca Miller is an Oberlin graduate whose recordings have been featured before here on WCLV. The Gramophone review then considers the big work on this release, the 1899 Concerto by Amy Beach: “…This is a big, virtuoso vehicle demanding great endurance and a bravura technique (the first movement lasting nearly 17 minutes is followed by a very difficult vivace perpetuum mobile 5'38" in length). [Danny] Driver surmounts these demands with real artistry and, in the lovely slow movement, immense sensitivity…If Driver offers a robust, muscular view of the Beach, he is certainly in touch with his feminine side in the highly attractive single-movement Concerto by Dorothy Howell, composed in 1923. Lighter in substance but even more appealing is Cécile Chaminade’s Concertstück…This whole disc [is] a worthy addition to this series, launched more than a quarter of a century ago.”


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