Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tomášek Václav Jan. (1774-1850) Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2. Complete. World premiere recordings.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 31-1-2011.
Second listen: 22-2-2011.
Third listen: 5-4-2017.
Label: Supraphon.
Recording dates: March 2005 & March/April 2006.
Recording venue: Czech Radio Studio No. 1, Prague.
Recording engineer: Jaroslav Vašíček.
Running time: 53:33.
Classical relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
Piano concerto No. 1 in C major, opus 18.
Dedicated to: The Duchess of Brechanville, née Countess Desfours.
(She was one of Tomašek's pupils)
Piano concerto No. 2 in E flat major, opus 20.

Performed by:
Jan Simon, Piano.
Prague Radio SO, Vladimir Válek.

A composer that is not often recorded, to begin with, that is a fact. A fact is also that he was self taught and never had any formal professional musical education. Another fact is also that he produced quite a lot of music still awaiting their rediscovery and subsequently recordings. He is largely forgotten. Fact also.
His music sits really comfortably between the best concertos Mozart produced, and leans with justification against the first two piano concertos by Beethoven. I mean the C major, opus 15 and B flat major, opus 19. What I want to say is, they are of the same high quality!
The opus 18 was written around the years 1803-1805. It was performed at a home concert at the Buquoy Palace in the lesser Quarter in the 1806-07 winter season. And that was the first and last performance in his lifetime.  The second concerto was probably conceived at the same time, but it was never published let alone given a public performance. Now both concertos stays well within the commonly accepted boundaries of classical style around 1800 in their formal structure, technical demands and conception of the solo and orchestra parts. It is in this that they resemble the piano concertos of both Mozart and Beethoven.  They are extremely well written, melodious with quite a lot of energy, and a lot of promise in the melodies, and structural harmonies. They are refined and highly musical, and absolutely spirited in a positive sense.
The performance is quite good, as is the recording, and thus are highly recommendable. Since there are almost no recordings of this composer I urge you to try them. They may come as a nice surprise.




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