Myslivecek - Complete Music for Keyboard
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Cat No: BIS2393
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 29th March 2019
WorksEasy Divertimenti (6) for keyboard
Easy Lessons (6) for keyboard
Keyboard Concerto no.1 in B flat major
Keyboard Concerto no.2 in F major
ArtistsClare Hammond (piano)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
In comparison, Mysliveček’s output for keyboard has been somewhat neglected, something which the English pianist Clare Hammond seeks to rectify with her latest disc. The keyboard concertos in particular have barely seen the light of day since Mysliveček’s death and the second concerto is recorded for the first time on this disc which gathers all of the extant keyboard works. Clare Hammond, whose imaginative recording projects on BIS have received international acclaim, is here supported in the concertos by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by none other than Nicholas McGegan, whose expertise in 18th-century style is undisputed.
1Keyboard Concerto no.1 in B flat major - I. Allegro comodo
2Keyboard Concerto no.1 in B flat major - II. Andantino
3Keyboard Concerto no.1 in B flat major - III. Rondo. Allegro
4Six Early Divertimenti (1777) - I. Andantino
5Six Early Divertimenti (1777) - II. Allegro ma non troppo
6Six Early Divertimenti (1777) - III. Minuetto
7Six Early Divertimenti (1777) - IV. Andantino
8Six Early Divertimenti (1777) - V. Andante
9Six Early Divertimenti (1777) - VI. Andantino
10Keyboard Concerto no.2 in F major - I. Allegro con spirito
11Keyboard Concerto no.2 in F major - II. Larghetto
12Keyboard Concerto no.2 in F major - III. Tempo di minuetto
13Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata I: Allegro con spirito
14Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata I: Minuetto - Minore - Minuetto
15Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata II: Allegro
16Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata II: Rondo. Andantino
17Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata III: Allegro
18Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata III: Minuetto - Minore - Minuetto
19Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata IV: Andantino
20Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata IV: Minuetto - Trio - Minuetto
21Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata V: [no tempo marking]
22Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata V: Presto
23Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata VI: Allegro con brio
24Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord (1780) - Sonata VI: Minuetto with six variations
Until now, Mysliveček’s few works for piano have received little attention, so Clare Hammond’s complete survey, which at 76 minutes fits onto a single CD, is a welcome addition to the catalogue. (Only a single piano sonata of dubious attribution is omitted.) The main attraction for many will be the two piano concertos. These are compact works (the first lasting just 11 minutes), expertly crafted and revealing an elegance of invention that is immediately appealing. The B flat Concerto (no.1, probably composed, like its companion, in the late 1770s) is alert and nicely poised, and Hammond together with the Swedish orchestra and McGegan, bring out all its charm, not least in the central Andantino with its throw-away ending. Though played on modern instruments, there is an unaffected stylishness and charm to the playing that is immediately appealing.
The second concerto, in F major, is a more substantial work, although as in the first the wind instruments (oboes and horns) merely bolster the orchestral tutti passages. The opening movement, with its string swirls, is abundantly characterful, while the third is a buoyant dance in minuet time, with an ear-catching minor-key section that features off-beat punctuation from the strings. But it is the central movement that is the real gem here, a limpid Larghetto with muted violins and pizzicato lower strings accompanying an achingly cantabile solo part. This is music that Mozart might well have envied, and Hammond turns in an immensely heartfelt performance with a gentle touch that has the listener spellbound. It raises the work to a level that ought to see it enter the wider repertoire, and this disc will surely champion its cause.
The rest of the disc consists of two sets of ‘easy’ pieces for solo piano. In the case of the six Divertimenti of 1777, the label is particularly apt, for these are nicely turned character pieces that will suit any moderately accomplished amateur pianist, but Hammond’s playing transforms them into exquisite but unpretentious miniatures. The Six Easy Lessons of three years later are once again more substantial (and technically demanding), each comprising a two-movement sonata, four of them concluding with minuets. Particularly attractive are the opening movement of no.3, with its pulsating left-hand accompaniment, and the Minuet with variations that closes no.6 with a series of right-hand cascades. Hammond proves an excellent guide to these works (as she also does in her excellent booklet notes), which are perhaps most redolent of middle-period Mozart, and the whole disc is immensely enjoyable. With a fine recording from the Örebro Concert Hall in Sweden, it will surely bring a welcome boost to the reputation of ‘il Boemo’.
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