GRAMOPHONE. Danish Piano Concertos, Vol. 3

March 2005

Danish Piano Concertos, Volume 3
Malling Piano Concerto
Salomon Piano Concert
Schytte Piano Concerto
Oleg Marshev, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra / Matthias Aeschbacher
Danacord DACOCD 597

A musical sugar for those with a sweet tooth

One for us obscure concerto junkies. (For the uninitiated, we are a worldwide band of addicts numbering thousands.) That the music is skin-deep and as Danish as frankfurter matters not a jot: all three works, soundly crafted in the German tradition, have all the requisite pianistiac fireworks and memorable melodic ideas necessary for our fix.

The 1890 Concerto by Otto Malling (1848-1915), recorded once before in 1977, is already a friend with its striking opening, beautiful central Notturno and sparkling Presto finale. Ludwig Schytte (1848-1909), whose pretty Elfen Tanz was recorded by Josef Hofmann on a piano roll in 1927, must have been a fine pianist to judge from the treacherous difficulties of his dashing, defiant C charp minor Concerto (C1884). Although written in 1947, the Concerto by Siegfried Salomon (1885-1962) is firmly late-Romantic, boasting another lovely slow movement and a swooning sub-Rachmaninov theme for the finale. Such music needs a good salesman. If the Aalborg strings are a tad colourless, Oleg Marshev proves an ideal advocate with his commanding technique and total embrace of the idiom. Warmly recommended.

Jeremy Nicholas