A Shelley tour de force

A beautifully performed Howard Shelley-directed recording of works by the Mendelssohn-like Julius Benedict.

Composer: Benedict, Macfarren
Repertoire: Piano Concertos in C minor & E flat (Benedict), Concertstück (Macfarren)
Artists: Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano)
Rating:   4/5
Genre: Orchestra
Label: Hyperion CDA 67720

Pianophiles and collectors of rarities will gravitate to this beautifully performed disc. It’s a tour de force of pianism-plus-directing from Howard Shelley. Julius Benedict (1804-85) was born in Germany and settled in London. Though his concertos could attract the description ‘Mendelssohn without the ideas’, they do defend themselves to a point against such criticism. Walter Macfarren’s Concertstück likewise is perfectly pleasant, but somewhat forgettable.