Dvorák`s Piano Concerto is worth getting to know. While this is a personal opinion, and I can offer no evidence to support the claim, I believe this very attractive piece reveals the true character and personality of Dvorák. It dates from 1876. Ten years earlier he had composed his song cycle Cypress Trees written at the disappointment he felt over a girl he loved marrying someone else. Later, Dvorák was to marry her sister and this concerto is a sunny work which has a felicity reminiscent of Mendelssohn. Michael Kennedy asserts that Dvorák had a Schubertian gift for melody … where does he obtain these odd ideas? Dvorák`s gift of melody owes more to Bohemian folk music and the grace of Mozart but also to his natural melodic gift which was entirely his.
There is an admirable simplicity about this concerto. That does not mean it is easy to play. What is also admirable is that Dvorák was not a pianist and one might expect his concerto to be as duff as, for example, the one by Vaughan Williams. But it isn’t. It is a good and very satisfying piece.
Andreas Boyde’s performance is both very exciting and gloriously effective. This technique is unquestionable and now we have evidence of a true lyricism. He is a pianist with steel fingers and a warm heart.. Every bit a complete musician. The slow movement reminded me of the Krommers and the Bendas with that wonderful mid-European clarity and rustic delight … certainly not Schubert. Dvorák’s clear textures are a constant joy. There is a beauty and stillness in this music which Boyde captures to perfection. The finale is also very well realised.
Paul Schoenfields Four Parables is a tour de farce for any pianist. This is brilliant, sleazy, jazzy, vaudeville music but of the highest quality. So good is it that it makes George Gershwin sound like an amateur. What joyful, witty and totally absorbing music this is. You must read the accompanying booklet to discover the intriguing subject matter of the four movements, Unashamed foot tapping material as well as an elegy of great conviction.
As for the piano playing, one can only exclaim astonishment and admiration. It is a sensational success.
The recording is exemplary.
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