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A real rarity from Hyperion’s Anglo-Australian artistic collaboration: music by an Australian composer who was once at the heart of the English establishment.
Malcolm Williamson was one of many Australian creative artists who relocated to Britain in the mid-twentieth century. Within a decade of settling in London he had established a reputation as one of the most gifted and prolific composers of his generation. His stature as a leading figure within the British music scene was publicly acknowledged in 1975 when he was appointed to the esteemed post of Master of the Queen’s Music in succession to Sir Arthur Bliss. But today he is almost forgotten and his music virtually never performed.
This double-album set of the complete Piano Concertos is therefore an important document as well as a compendium of deeply appealing music. Williamson wrote with a generosity of emotion and melodic flair rare in the mid-twentieth century, in a forward-looking idiom.
The third concerto is perhaps the masterpiece, a huge and complex work. The fourth was written in 1993/4 and appears here as its world premiere performance and recording.
Piers Lane, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Howard Shelley are the ideal performers of these unjustly neglected works.
Malcolm Williamson: Piano Concerto No. 1 in A major
1. Poco Lento; Allegro; Poco Lento
3. Poco Presto
Malcolm Williamson: Concerto for Two Pianos and Strings
1. Allegro Ma Non Troppo
3. Allegro Vivo
Malcolm Williamson: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F sharp minor
1. Allegro Con Brio
2. Andante Lento
3. Allegro Con Spirito
Malcolm Williamson: Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat
1. Toccata: Allegro
2. Allegro (Allegretto)
3. Molto Largo & Cantando
4. Ben Allegro
Malcolm Williamson: Sinfonia Concertante for three tumpets, piano and strings (1958/61)
1. Crotchet = 76
2. Andante Lento
Malcolm Williamson: Piano Concerto No. 4 in D major
2. Andante Piacevole
3. Allegro Vivo Con Fuoco
13th March 2014
“Williamson is a fascinating composer who wrote temperamental music without any hint of academia in its bloodstream. This very special and extremely attractive set will further enhance his standing. Superb music and music-making.”
“The late Malcolm Williamson may have had his unruly side, but he was vastly and variously gifted...Lane is the tireless soloist, crisply percussive or touchingly lyrical as required, and Howard Shelley conducts with efficiency and conviction.”
“What is memorable is Lane's playing. Whether dazzling or reflective, he shows a total empathy for Williamson. He is superbly partnered by Shelley and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Sound and balance are outstanding, and Hyperion's presentation is both lavish and informative.”
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