Michael McHale, RTÉ NSO/Courtney Lewis - Irish Piano Concertos album review

Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 12:20


Irish Piano Concertos

Michael McHale, Courtney Lewis, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, John Field, Philip Hammond

RTÉ lyric fm


Michael McHale here offers two highly contrasted Irish piano concertos. One is forward-looking, John Field’s Third of 1811, the other backward-looking Philip Hammond’s of 2014, which was premièred in Belfast last year.

Field’s melodically florid style showed an early romantic sensibility, Hammond’s self-described “retro-romanticism” harks back to the showy virtuosity of late-romantic concertos, as if he’s heard them all and would be happy to write them all again himself, with some added dissonance to show the date has changed.

McHale is deft in Field and full-on in Hammond, and Courtney Lewis provides lean accompaniments in the one and gives the impression of having a blast in the other.