Ingrid Fliter & SCO - Schumann & Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos - BBC Music Magazine
Performance: 4 stars
Recording: 4 stars
'We must confidently await the genius who will show us a brilliant new way of combining orchestra and piano,' wrote Schumann in 1839. That genius turned out to be Schumann himself, as cellist Steven Isserlis points out in his personable and informative sleeve notes to Stephen Hough's new concerto disc. Schumann's 1845 Piano Concerto has a musical integrity and poetic individuality that makes it stand out from the virtuosic showpieces of his contemporaries. It's been recorded countless times yet on the evidence of two fine new recordings - one from
Hough, the other from Ingrid Fliter - there's still room for something fresh to be said with this evergreen music.
It's Mendelssohn's turn to step into the spotlight with Fliter's disc: she chooses his First Piano Concerto, also in G minor, to partner the Schumann. ‘Original to almost overflowing,' said one critic of the piece at the time, but it's rarely heard in concert now although there are plenty of good recordings of it to choose from...In both the Mendelssohn and Schumann, Fliter plays with tautness and energy, fitting hand-in-glove with the smaller chamber-orchestra forces of the SCO and drier recorded sound. Heartfelt and intelligent, this is life-enhancing music, and as a bonus there's The Fair Melusina Overture.