Markus Becker

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 47: Salomon Jadassohn & Felix Draeseke

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If you've worked your way through the entire standard repertory of Romantic piano concertos and are eager for more, then you may be ready for these concertos by Salomon Jadassohn and Felix Draeseke. The former may be best known as the teacher of Grieg and Delius and the latter for composing the gargantuan Christus oratorio, but they also wrote in the concerto form and the results of their efforts are released for the first time here performed by pianist Markus Becker with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under Michael Sanderling. All three works were written between 1885 and 1887, and all three are built on the same pillars as the more familiar concertos from the era: big themes, colorful orchestration, and heroic virtuosity for the soloist. Jadassohn's two concertos, the first in C minor and the second in F minor, are more musically conservative, with less chromaticism and tighter forms, while Draeseke's E flat major Concerto is more modern, with richer harmonies and more expansive forms. Becker does both composers justice with his full tone, crisp articulation, and robust technique, and the Berlin orchestra under Sanderling supports him with strong playing. If none of these works challenge the great Romantic concertos in terms of beauty or profundity, they are at least well-composed and sincere works given well-thought-out and earnest performances recorded in warm, detailed, digital sound.

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