Malcolm Williamson: The Complete Piano Concertos

Piers Lane / Howard Shelley / Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

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Malcolm Williamson: The Complete Piano Concertos Review

by Blair Sanderson

An indefatigable composer of concertos for various instruments, Malcolm Williamson wrote no fewer than four piano concertos (apparently with himself in mind as soloist), as well as a Concerto in A minor for two pianos and orchestra, and a Sinfonia Concertante in F sharp major for piano, three trumpets, and string orchestra. All six of these works are handsomely recorded by pianist Piers Lane and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Howard Shelley, and this 2014 Hyperion package has been released as a double-CD to accommodate them. Williamson's music is decidedly eclectic, borrowing from popular music and jazz, as well as incorporating many influences of modernism, while maintaining a high degree of accessibility and displaying appealing expressions. Because of the constant changes in approach and style, this package is quite lively and unpredictable, but it gives a good idea of Williamson's fertile imagination. Lane is a vigorous performer, and his playing shows enthusiasm and high energy, which is matched by Shelley when the two perform the Concerto for two pianos. While these works have yet to secure a permanent place in the repertoire, this album goes a long way in bringing attention to this brilliant and exciting body of music.

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