Roon Music Blog: Classical Community Conversations

Monday mornings are attended by a welcome e-mail from Classics Today and today’s came hard upon a Paul Wee recording review I’d read the previous evening in International Piano. The piece is by a composer I had previously listened to in a Marc-André Hamelin recording in the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series, a remarkable pairing of Adolf von Henselt’s F minor, Op. 16, Piano Concerto with Charles-Valentin Alkan’s Concerto da camera in C sharp minor and in A minor.

This was a remarkable 1993 recording of two clearly difficult, virtuosic works. Of the Henselt F minor and etudes, Anton Rubinstein, a brilliant pianist of his day, termed practicing this piece was a waste of time, based as it was on an abnormal formation of the hand (for playing twelfths and > 1 octave arpeggios).

There have been few recordings of the Henselt F minor concerto, but Paul Wee now brings us another that is yet again a demonstration of his remarkable keyboard prowess. The orchestration by Michael Collins/Swedish Chamber Orchestra is also a joy to listen to. The pairing in this case is with Hans Bronsart Von Schellendorff’s Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, which Jed Distler, in his review, describes as a piece that might have resulted if Liszt and Brahms had collaborated on a large scale work for piano and orchestra.

Mr. Henselt’s compositions are few in number, but great in influence. His two douze études (caractéristiques, Op. 2 and de salon, Op. 5) and the F minor Piano concerto were carefully attended (and alluded) to by many of the great pianists (including Busoni, Egon Petri and Rachmaninov).

Monday just got so much brighter for this listener.


Hi @bill_perkins, interesting that you are highlighting this concert. Coincidently, I was listening to that album las night and I was shocked that I didn’t know of this concert before. It is magnificent. It is surprising that it is not popular. Perhaps it is too challenging for many pianists. You can really hear Rachmaninov influences in it.

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who is the baritone?

listened to this last night, still glorious after all these years.



I’m also delighted to have been given opportunity to discover this amazing piano cto. Hamelin’s Henselt Variations performance was also a particularly poignant listen. An astonishing composition and performance!

Alexei Isaev. I was having my doubts at the start of Act III, but he just about pulled it off. Not great but not bad. Otherwise it was superb. Kaufman rolled back the years and sung with real power.

It was Pappano’s final performance after 22 years as musical director of the Royal Opera, he is very popular, he got a big send-off with confetti, speeches, everyone on stage. A lot of fun.


Recommended. A tuneful sound.


I discovered this via Corelli…what a voice!


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this is wonderful as well, and a reminder of how the major labels used to compete for stars, and release recordings of the same work, at almost the same time.

Corelli is stellar, and Stella is wonderful as well. Mario Sereni is a very good singer, but he’s not Bastianini, and that tips the scales for me.