Dvořák: Piano Concerto; Mazurek; Rondo. Leonardo Pierdomenico, Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice / Vahan Mardirossian. © 2023 Piano Classics


Dance Rhythms and Vibrant Melodies

GERALD FENECH listens to an unusual combination of works by Antonín Dvořák

'... Dvořák's Piano Concerto is made to sound as convincing as the composer might have wished.'


Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) wrote three concertos for solo instrument and orchestra: for violin, cello and piano. The Piano Concerto, which the composer wrote between August and September 1876, though a masterwork in its genre, is the least performed of the three. The concerto is in three movements, each possessing distinct characteristics.

The opening Allegro agitato bursts with energy, introducing the piano and orchestra in a lively dialogue, punctuated by lush melodies and rhythmic motifs.

Listen — Dvořák: Allegro agitato (Piano Concerto)
(PCL10272 track 1, 2:20-3:17) ℗ 2023 Piano Classics :

The middle Andante sostenuto takes a more introspective turn, offering a lyrical and deeply emotional experience, as the piano and orchestra engage in a heartfelt musical conversation.

Listen — Dvořák: Andante sostenuto (Piano Concerto)
(PCL10272 track 1, 0:01-0:59) ℗ 2023 Piano Classics :

The final Allegro con fuoco exudes exuberance, as Dvořák weaves Slavic folk elements into the fabric of the music, infusing it with dance-rhythms and vibrant melodies.

Listen — Dvořák: Allegro con fuoco (Piano Concerto)
(PCL10272 track 1, 5:59-6:52) ℗ 2023 Piano Classics :

This concerto requires particularly wholehearted advocacy as well as formidable virtuosity to overcome the technical shortcomings of Dvořák's piano writing, but the effort is rewarded with episodes of no less ardent lyricism than the high points of the composer's other two concertos for violin and cello respectively. Indeed, the piano concerto burns with a ferocity all of its own, more similar in that regard to Schumann's impassioned writing for soloist and orchestra.

The programme also includes two unusual pairings in the form of the Mazurek for Violin and Orchestra, Op 49, and the Rondo for Cello and Orchestra in G minor, Op 94: two delightful miniatures that display Dvořák's fecundity to write exquisitely heartwarming melodies.

Listen — Dvořák: Mazurek
(PCL10272 track 4, 6:11-7:00) ℗ 2023 Piano Classics :

Leonardo Pierdomenico is, at the moment, one of the most sought after pianists who is garnering enthusiastic praise from international critics. In his, should I say, magical hands, Dvořák's Piano Concerto is made to sound as convincing as the composer might have wished.

Vahan Mardirossian and his Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice have this music in their DNA so it's not surprising that their support of the soloist is not only hugely sympathetic but also intensely virtuosic. This is a recording of a work that deserves to be performed more frequently, in splendid sound and presentation.

Copyright © 12 October 2023 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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