Piano Concerto (1926)
Gian Carlo MENOTTI
Piano Concerto (1945)
Earl Wild (piano)
The Symphony of the Air/composer (Copland), Jorge Mester (Menotti)
The Copland's quarter hour concerto opens with all cylinders blasting along
at full throttle but moves promptly into a jazzy wrong note dream - half
Gershwin's Summertime; half Ravelian fantasy. The second of the two
movements is a 'wrong note' jazz strut with stony ragtime overtones. This
again links with Gershwin but is harmonically much tougher. It comes full
circle to recap the romance of the opening of the work before hammering its
way to a raucous close. Wild does not hold back.
After the 'pocket concerto' by Copland we come to a full-length piece. The
Menotti was first performed by Rudolf Firkusny. Arthur Cohn's note make much
of the Scarlatti connection although I thought more often of Shostakovich
when in his most nonchalantly 'flip' vein. The Lento is contemplative
and romantically dripping water. There are hints of disquiet captured in
ppp shudders and shimmers (bell tolling from Peter Grimes)
by the very fine recording. The carnival bright Allegro does not show
much heart and the work overall is not in the elect company of Menotti's
Violin Concerto (swooningly done by Ricci on Reference Recordings).
Likely to be 'up your street' if you enjoy the Malcolm Arnold Concerto
for Phyllis and Cyril or the Britten Piano Concerto.
Rather short measure but this will be available at bargain or lower midprice.
27 W 72nd Street, NYC 10023-3401
Tel (212) 769 3060
Fax (212) 769 3195