Friday, December 11, 2009

'Piano Concerto No 1' by Wilhelm Stenhammar

11 December 2009

I had never heard of the Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871 – 1927) until I read a newspaper review of a new recording of his two piano concertos a few weeks ago, but I’m now a big fan. I’ve been listening, in particular, to his epic Piano Concerto No. 1, written in 1893. It’s a gloriously romantic work with more than a hint of Brahms: anyone who likes the piano concertos of Rachmaninov would find much to admire here. It’s tuneful, passionate and very moving. It also reminded me of the two wonderful, but similarly neglected, piano concertos by Herbert Howells. You can judge for yourself by exploring quite a few recordings of Stenhammar’s works (for free) on Spotify. I’m now looking forward to getting to know his three symphonies.



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