Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9
Anyone following Sterling’s excellent series of the complete Huber symphonies will know what to expect here: conservative, tuneful, well crafted music that falls gratefully on the ear and lacks neither feeling nor color. Both concertos date from before 1900, and so belong to the composer’s less adventuresome period–but they’re interesting all the same. Each has four movements, with the scherzo in either second (Concerto No. 1) or third (Concerto No. 3) position, lasting in total about half an hour. The Third Concerto’s first movement continues the line of formal experimentation that we noticed in some of the symphonies: it’s a passacaglia on the bass of the principal theme of the finale. Not that you’d notice of course, but Huber does at least have the courtesy to tell us.
Dan Franklin Smith displays an admirable level of proficiency and sympathy with both works and certainly never sounds as though he’s making time or is bored with the assignment. Michail Jurowski and the Stuttgart Philharmonic are old friends in the unusual repertoire department, and they almost always can be relied upon to deliver sympathetic and good quality results. Top it all off with very warm, well balanced sonics and the result is further testimony in favor of a composer whose neglect is surely undeserved. Collectors of Huber’s music so far will need no further urging from me, but if you’ve been following such worthy projects as Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series, then you’ll definitely want to hear this as well.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: None
HANS HUBER - Piano Concerto Nos. 1 & 3