BRITTEN; BARBER Piano Concertos

Author: 
Richard Fairman
478 8189. BRITTEN; BARBER Piano ConcertosBRITTEN; BARBER Piano Concertos

BRITTEN; BARBER Piano Concertos

  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
  • Nocturne, 'Homage to John Field'
  • Night Piece, 'Notturno'

In many ways the Britten and Barber piano concertos make an attractive fit, sharing a similar bittersweet lyricism, though Britten in the troubled 1930s invests his music with more of an edge than Barber in the nostalgic 1960s. Korean pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe sets off into the Britten at quite a lick, getting the notes to sparkle. Her playing favours a consistently light touch and precision, while Emil Tabakov’s conducting is founded on strong colours, abetted by some characterful playing from the LSO wind and brass. The result can feel uncomfortably like a meeting of opposites, with the pianist too mild against a bold accompaniment, but the performance has enough personality to hold one’s attention.

The Barber Piano Concerto shares the same strengths and weaknesses. Elizabeth Joy Roe’s pinpoint playing allows the elegiac slow movement to speak with a cool-headed intimacy but as soon as Barber’s neo-romantic sails start to swell it is Tabakov’s LSO, with its deep sonorities welling up from below, that takes the lead. The two solo piano fillers – Barber’s Nocturne (Homage to John Field), Op 33, and Britten’s Night Piece (Notturno) – make well-chosen encores, almost mirror images of each other. The composer’s own recording of the Britten with Sviatoslav Richter remains self-recommending and the same might be said of either of the two recordings of the Barber by John Browning, the work’s dedicatee. But, if this pairing fits, the disc deserves a qualified recommendation.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017