Schumann, Grieg, Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos / Shelley, Greed, Opera North Orchestra
March's Disc of the Month sees Howard Shelley, recently awarded an OBE for his services to music, conduct the Orchestra of Opera North from the piano. In this his latest recording for Chandos Shelley turns his attention to three popular concertos in the piano repertoire: Robert Schumann's only completed piano concerto, Grieg's single piano concerto and Saint- Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor. These authoritative performances shed new light on three wellloved works, brought together on one disc for the first time. Shelley elucidates his revelatory approach to the works: 'Ever since I first fell in love with Schumann's Piano Concerto in my early teens, I have been intrigued and slightly puzzled by the tradition of slowing the fourth bar of the Allegro affettuoso first movement to what is effectively no more than an Andante, even though there is no indication of any tempo shift in the score. A metronome marking of 84 to the minim, taken from Schumann's manuscript, is given in almost all editions of this work, reducing only to 72 to the dotted minim for the central Andante espressivo section. These are extraordinarily fast basic tempos. There are similar issues in the second movement - a surprisingly fast metronome mark, suggesting perhaps a lighter lyricism than we are sometimes used to, especially in the big cello melody - and also in the first movement of Saint-Saëns's Second Concerto, which is often taken at about half its marked speed. As for Grieg's Concerto, we are fortunate to have Percy Grainger's very informative and detailed notes on the piece, as he discussed it with the composer. Elsewhere he points out that Grieg's tempos were generally faster than when others played the piece. These are some of the considerations which have led to the interpretations on this recording. Directing a highly responsive orchestra from the keyboard has also allowed me great freedom in realising my ideas.'
Catalog Number: CHAN 10509
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg, Robert Schumann
Conductor: David Greed
Orchestra/Ensemble: Opera North Orchestra
Performer: Howard Shelley