Ferdinand Ries: Piano Concertos, Vol. 4

Audio Samples

>Ries, Ferdinand : Concerto for Piano in D major, Op. 120 ("Pastoral")
>Ries, Ferdinand : Concerto for Piano in C minor, Op. 115
>Ries, Ferdinand : Introduction et Rondeau brillant, for piano & orchestra, WoO 54

Album Summary

>Ries, Ferdinand : Concerto for Piano in D major, Op. 120 ("Pastoral")
>Ries, Ferdinand : Concerto for Piano in C minor, Op. 115
>Ries, Ferdinand : Introduction et Rondeau brillant, for piano & orchestra, WoO 54
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The fourteen works for piano and orchestra of Ferdinand Ries stand alongside those of Hummel as the most important of their kind from the early decades of the 19th Century. Intensely lyrical and yet displaying at times a rugged Beethovenian grandeur, Ries' concertos are works of impressive musical stature. The three works featured on this recording span the years 1809 to 1835 and include the fascinating 'Concerto Pastoral, Op. 120', and the 'Introduction et Rondeau Brillant, WoO54', composed at the end of Ries' long and brilliant career as a pianist-composer.

"Championing Franz Anton Ries has become one of Naxos’s most deserving and successful ventures. As a favourite pupil of Beethoven his credentials were impressive, but it was his move to London in 1813 that was the defining moment in his life. Finding such a dearth of good quality musicians he was happy to be adopted and established as England’s finest pianist-composer of his time. Yet having built a financial fortune, he was to retire at the age of 40 and returned with his English wife to his native Rhineland. Among his formidable catalogue of composition are eight piano concertos that have been passed down and are part of this on-going series. The date of composition of the Concerto Pastoral is unclear, but it may just have predated his arrival in England. The surpriser comes in the similarity to Mendelssohn, though at this date he had yet to compose a note. It is a decorative work, the piano often just dancing around the orchestra, and there is sufficient weight to question the inclusion of ‘pastoral’ in the title. It shares with the even earlier Fourth Piano Concerto the conventional form of two fast movements surrounding a slow one, the sound of a hunting horn directly leading into the brilliant final allegro of the Concerto Pastoral. The fourth concerto starts where that work left off, the music bubbling with vitality, and has pre-echoes of Chopin yet to come. The central movement never finds a memorable theme, but is short, and gives way to a sparkling finale. The Introduction and Rondeau Brillant is a late work unpublished when he died. It makes a happy and lengthy ‘encore’ to the disc. The performances from Christopher Hinterhuber ooze with charm, conductor, Uwe Grood, and the Bournemouth orchestra keeping a pleasing backdrop. Very good sound quality." -Dave's Review Corner

"[The Introduction and Rondeau Brillant is] a real virtuoso vehicle, to whose demands Hinterhuber rises - as in the concertos - with what seems like effortless ease and affection...If you've yet to make this composer's acquaintance, this is an excellent place to start." -International Record Review

"...warm and resonant sound...[Hinterhuber is] an absolute master of this style and knows when to ease up on the reigns ad bring out the real character of the music, when to press on and decorum be hanged."-American Record Guide

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/02/2008-06/03/2008).



Reviews

A kinder, gentler Beethoven
Ferdinand Ries is best remembered today (if at all) as Beethoven's personal assistant. Although he served that role well - securing performances, publication deals and more - that wasn't originally why their paths crossed. Ries came to Beethoven in 1803 to study composition. Like his mentor, Ries was a piano virtuoso as well as a composer. His piano concertos were written primarily for his own use, to provide material he could use in performance - a standard practice of the day for any touring virtuoso. Naxos has released four volumes of Ries' concerti, the most recent featuring two of these works plus a shorter fantasia for piano and orchestra. So what does Ries' music sound like? Sort of like a kinder, gentler Beethoven. His works have the same general structure, with some of the same harmonic turns that Beethoven favored. You'll also hear big orchestral chords hammering away at important cadence points. But there the similarities end. Ries is more concerned with tuneful melodies than delivering pronouncements from on high. His motifs are light and appealing. While the solo piano part is challenging technically, it's more about taking the listener along on a thrilling melodic journey rather than fully exploring the potential of either the instrument or the motifs. Stylistically, Ferdinand Ries straddles the late classical and early romantic era. The Introduction et Rondeau Brillant Wo54 which appears on this release, is a good illustration of that. While not entirely free of Beethoven's influence, Ries' work seems more Schubertian in its free-form development. Pianist Christopher Hinterhuber turns in a top-notch performance on this recording (as does Uwe Grodd and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra). His playing is light and fluid - perfectly suited to this material - yet it has power when it needs to. Hinterhuber really makes the cadenzas sparkle, and gives the impression that Ries' music is actually fun to play. An appealing collection of works for piano and orchestra!
Submitted on 12/16/10 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Ries, Ferdinand : Concerto for Piano in D major, Op. 120 ("Pastoral")
  • Performer: Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
  • Conductor: Uwe Grodd
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/02/2008-06/03/2008)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto

>Ries, Ferdinand : Concerto for Piano in C minor, Op. 115
  • Performer: Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
  • Conductor: Uwe Grodd
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/02/2008-06/03/2008)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto

>Ries, Ferdinand : Introduction et Rondeau brillant, for piano & orchestra, WoO 54
  • Performer: Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
  • Conductor: Uwe Grodd
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/02/2008-06/03/2008)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic