Piers Lane (piano), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Howard Shelley (conductor)
A real rarity from Hyperion’s Anglo-Australian artistic collaboration: music by an Australian composer who was once at the heart of the English establishment.
Malcolm Williamson was one of many Australian creative artists who relocated to Britain in the mid-twentieth century. Within a decade of settling in London he had established a reputation as one of the most gifted and prolific composers of his generation. His stature as a leading figure within the British music scene was publicly acknowledged in 1975 when he was appointed to the esteemed post of Master of the Queen’s Music in succession to Sir Arthur Bliss. But today he is almost forgotten and his music virtually never performed.
This double-album set of the complete Piano Concertos is therefore an important document as well as a compendium of deeply appealing music. Williamson wrote with a generosity of emotion and melodic flair rare in the mid-twentieth century, in a forward-looking idiom.
The third concerto is perhaps the masterpiece, a huge and complex work. The fourth was written in 1993/4 and appears here as its world premiere performance and recording.
Piers Lane, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Howard Shelley are the ideal performers of these unjustly neglected works.