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Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto has needed a first-rank interpretation for some time. It is a lop-sided work, with an extended finale as long as the sum of the first two. Shelley and his well-drilled Tasmanians provide the best possible case, not least in the songlike Romanze, which contains a gorgeous passage for piano and solo cello. Shelley opens the polonaise finale in a blaze of light and the excitement of the movement’s closing bars almost transcends studio limitations.

There are three bedfellows: Hiller’s Konzertstück (as appendix to Shelley’s recording of Hiller’s concertos), which includes an impossibly beautiful chorale of high spread chords; Henri Herz’ positively delicious Rondo de concert, featuring miraculous legerdemain from Shelley; and Kalkbrenner’s Le Rêve, something of a potboiler and none the worse for it. Everything is presented in splendid sound. Unhesitatingly recommended.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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