SOMM Recordings is pleased to announce the return of the acclaimed partnership of pianist Clélia Iruzun and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jac van Steen with two colourful late-19th-century Romantic Piano Concertos from Brazil and France: Henrique Oswald’s G minor Piano Concerto, Op.10 and the Fifth Piano Concerto in F major (Op.103) by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Iruzun’s Brazilian compatriot Henrique Oswald shared a long friendship with Camille Saint-Saëns based on mutual admiration for each other as composers and pianists. They occasionally performed together some of Saint-Saëns’ music for two pianos in public recitals.
Saint-Saëns’ exotic Fifth Piano Concerto, the Egyptian, was composed during a North African holiday in 1896. Combining complex piano writing with a deft lightness of touch, it boasts a lyrical main theme (described by Saint-Saëns as “a Nubian love song”), hypnotic echoes of the gamelan and a finale bursting with virtuosity.
Oswald’s Piano Concerto was composed in Italy a decade before Saint-Saëns’ Egyptian. With bravura passages recalling Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto, its richly Romantic vein carries allusions to Fauré while brimming with Oswald’s intriguing native Brazilian rhythms.
Like Oswald, Alberto Nepomuceno was a Brazilian who studied in Europe, later succeeding him in a prestigious teaching position in Rio de Janeiro. Modelled on Grieg’s Suite from Holberg’s Time, his Suite Antiga (Suite in the Old Style) combines Baroque style and Romantic attitude with a bewitching savoir faire.
Gavin Dixon’s informative booklet notes trace the revealing connections between all three composers.
Clélia Iruzun’s previous SOMM recording with the RPO and Jac van Steen – Piano Concertos by Albeniz and Mignone (SOMMCD 265) – was nominated for an International Classical Music Award in 2019 and described by Gramophone as “a valuable release… very well recorded”.
A collection of late-Romantic and contemporary works for piano and string quartet from the Americas, Treasures from the New World (SOMMCD 0609), Iruzun’s most recent SOMM release with the Coull Quartet, was hailed by Gramophone as “beautifully paced… a delight, as the disc is as a whole”.
On This Recording
- Henrique Oswald: Piano Concerto, Op. 10
- I Allegro (un poco agitato)
- II Adagio
- III Allegro
- I Allegro animato
- II Andante
- III Molto Allegro
- I Prelude – Allegro commodo
- II Menuet I & II – Allegro con spirito
- III Air – Andante espressivo
- IV Rigaudon – Allegro con brio
Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 5 Egyptian, Op. 103
Alberto Nepomuceno: Suite Antiga, Op. 11