Australian composer Alfred Hill clearly liked to borrow music from himself, as his Piano Concerto in A features here on this Hyperion release alongside its source material – his Piano Sonata in A. Johannes Fritzsch leads Piers Lane and the Adelaide Symphony through this glowing, romantic score.
The concerto is being recorded 75 years after its Australian premiere. Lane’s performance is touching; patient with his melody, he seems to treasure each note with understanding and tenderness. The third movement Nocturne – (Homage to Chopin) – is filled with yearning, swells in the strings given added presence by gentle timpani. The album is well mixed, enabling us to hear and feel the communication between each part. Its finale is tasteful and radiant.
Between the two Hill works sits George Boyle’s Piano Concerto in D Minor – perhaps the earliest work composed in this form in Australia. Coincidentally, its premiere was conducted by Hill in 1913. The work is theatrical and classy, taking us back to an era long past. After its hearty conclusion, Hill’s Piano Sonata then brings things down a notch. With all other instruments gone, it seems at first that something is missing. But it doesn’t take long for the pianist to compensate for the absence of surrounding players: perhaps the album was ordered in this way to show that Lane can produce just as much body alone as he can when joined by tens of high calibre orchestral players.