"In the one hundred and thirty years since its composition, Litolff's fourth piano concerto has been recorded in its entirety only twice. One has the feeling that this excellent disc from Hyperion is about to change all that.Henry Litolff's story is a fascinating one. Born the son of a musician, Henry was, as an adolescent, impressed into working at a piano factory. One day, while demonstrating a piano to a customer, he was "discovered" as a talent by the factory's owner. The owner took Henry under his wing and paid for him to receive formal lessons.Litolff went on to have four marriages and travel much of Europe as a performer. He composed reams of music--from salon pieces to larger concertos (like the two included here).Litolff's popular yet well-educated style makes for some pretty enjoyable and accessible listening. In fact, the scherzo of the fourth concerto has been something of a show piece in its own right. It is a lively, almost dancing piece that allows the pianist to demonstrate their adeptness at full speed. I find both concertos to be quite enjoyable. This is what romantic music should be!I have greatly enjoyed the work that the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has done with Hyperion. This disc is no exception to what is quickly becoming a rule with them (a rule of excellency). The sound is up to Hyperion's typically top notch standard. Andrew Litton has a great grasp on the spirit of Litolff's music and it comes through in his conducting. Peter Donohoe proves himself to be a strong advocate of both pieces.This disc is well worth hearing. I recommend it."
Alan Beggerow | Rock Falls, IL USA | 08/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After listening to these two pieces, it's a mystery why Litolff's music ended up being mostly forgotten. It is well-crafted and needs a sensitive virtuoso for the piano part, for the piano roars in some places, whispers in others, and touches the heart in yet others.
The style of these pieces is quite different from some romantic piano concerti, where the piano is the star and the orchestra merely plays along. In these pieces, the piano and orchestra are equals, and the results are stunning.
I have listened to these pieces many times, and I still enjoy them very much. Hopefully they will find a place in the piano/orchestra programs of orchestras. These pieces need to be heard more often.
IT'S WONDERFUL. HOW COME I'VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE?
James Hanrahan | Farmingville, NY | 05/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"was driving my car and this piece started to play on my radio. I was knocked out by the interplay between the orchestra and the piano. I've listened to many piano concerti before and I love; Liszt,Rachmaninoff,Beethoven and Bartok to name just a few. I found this composition to rate with any of these composers. I was bouncing with the syncopation of the play between the piano and the orchestra and the slow passages were bringing tears to my eyes.If a piece of music can get a reaction out of a listener, what more could you ask for? I can see why it would not be performed live,if either the pianist or the orchestra miss a beat, it's over! I wish some major pianists would record it, I'm sure it would receive more recognition and also Henry Litoff."
An excellent recording
Jill Malter | firstname.lastname@example.org | 12/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are two fine piano concertos, and they are very well performed. The fourth is my favorite of the Litolff concertos. It was composed in the 1850s, but I think of Litolff more as a precursor to Rachmaninoff than, say, a contemporary of Schumann. The music is delightful, and Donohoe makes great use of the opportunity to show his talent.
Litolff is not a well known composer, but I assure those who may not have heard his works that they won't be disappointed."