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This disc presents three refreshing and delightful pieces to launch a new classical piano concerto series from Hyperion. The label’s parallel series of Romantic piano concertos has been one of the glories of the recent recorded past, and this release augurs well. Czech composer Jan Ladislav Dussek wrote 18 piano concertos in total. The first on this disc is an early work (pre-1783) in two movements. There is a distinct tinge of Mozart to some of the writing, and although it clearly does not equal that master’s output, it certainly deserves repeated airings. The Rondo finale is light and sparkly, with some wonderfully throwaway turns of phrase.

The C major concerto dates from 1795. After a protracted opening (including Larghetto introduction), the piano enters grandly. It is clear Dussek is painting on an altogether larger canvas here – there is still a light touch, but the piano’s loud chordal statements point forward to post-classical matters, while the spirit of Weber hovers over the central Larghetto sostenuto.

The E flat (1810) was previously available in a performance by Jan Novotný (Supraphon, possibly unavailable now). The Ulster Orchestra gives a feisty performance in a first movement that exudes stature as well as duration; the slow movement is an extended cantilena that in Shelley’s hands seems like one unbroken line. The gently skipping finale delivers the perfect close.

One must applaud both Hyperion’s enterprise and Shelley’s dedication to bring this music to our attention. The next volume of this series is eagerly awaited.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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