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This is a World Premiere recording of two Romantic piano concertos one is unlikely to hear in a live performance anywhere or anytime soon. It is a pity since both works have much overflowing lyricism, sparkling pianism and musical substance to offer. Although Russian composer of French descent Georgy Catoire (1861-1926) was a closer contemporary of Arensky and Glazunov, his Piano Concerto in A flat major (1909) is more aligned to the aesthetics of Rachmaninov and the early Scriabin. Parts even sound like the dramatic overwrought scores of those 1930s and 40s British movies, which allow for much wallowing in lush harmonies.

German-born composer Percy Sherwood (1866-1939) of English ancestry is even more obscure. His Second Piano Concerto in E flat major (1932-33) is anachronistic for its date of composition, Schumannesque gestures and Lisztian opulence in the age of aggressive modernism and atonalism.  Both concertos play over the half-hour mark, typical for works of this genre to fit standard concert programmes. Performed with ardent advocacy and rare relish by the London-based Japanese pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi and Scotland’s best orchestra conducted by Martin Yates, they sound like enjoying themselves. If you long for tuneful concertos with that Rachmaninov-like feel, do not hesitate to explore these rarities. ****1/2
— Chang Tou Liang

(September 2013)

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