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Johann Peter Pixis (1788–1874) was a respected virtuoso in his day, perhaps best known for his contribution to Liszt’s collaborative work Hexaméron (to which Thalberg also contributed). The soundworld of Weber looms large both in Pixis’s Concerto, both in its scintillatingly virtuoso passages and in the dark, forest- like atmosphere of the Adagio cantabile. The music can sound over-decorative in places, but its sheer vivacity holds it all together. The earlier Concertino is extremely charming, with some gloriously imaginative scoring.

Sigismond Thalberg (1812–71) is somewhat better known, and there exist alternatives to this recording by Francesco Nicolosi (Naxos) and Michael Ponti (Vox). Ponti has plenty of charm but the recording and orchestra let him down; Nicolosi gives a grand and thoughtful reading that complements Shelley, but it is the new Hyperion disc that is most consistently convincing. Perhaps the finest movement is the gorgeous Adagio, with its Chopinesque arabesques. A superb disc.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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