Friday, February 17, 2017

Erik Chisholm - Piano Concertos (Danny Driver)


Composer: Erik Chisholm
  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 'Pìobaireachd': 1. Molto moderato (tranquillo)
  2. Piano Concerto No. 1 'Pìobaireachd': 2. Allegro scherzando
  3. Piano Concerto No. 1 'Pìobaireachd': 3. Adagio
  4. Piano Concerto No. 1 'Pìobaireachd': 4. Allegro con brio
  5. Piano Concerto No. 2 'Hindustani': 1. Poco maestoso e con fuoco
  6. Piano Concerto No. 2 'Hindustani': 2. Tema con variazioni: Andante
  7. Piano Concerto No. 2 'Hindustani': 3. Rondo burlesca: Allegretto

Danny Driver, piano
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Rory Macdonald, conductor

Date: 2012
Label: Hyperion



Driver with Scotsman Chisholm’s two concertos

It would be difficult to over-praise this wonderfully enterprising disc. Erik Chisholm was born in Glasgow and his music is steeped in Scottish idioms, rhythms and dances. Ambitious, rich and original (though shadowed by Bartók, a key influence), the exceptionally intricate and demanding solo parts reflect Chisholm’s piano studies with Leff Pouishnoff, but also with Tovey and Sorabji (a potent mix). Chisholm had played Bartók’s First Concerto but, as John Purser tells us in his accompanying notes, the greater influence comes from the more vernal and reflective Third Concerto. He also goes to some length to explain the seeming oddity of how the first movement of the Pìobaireachd Concerto is based on ‘Maol Donn’, a lament for the death of a favourite cow.

The Hindustani Concerto (Chisholm’s favourite) reflects the composer’s fascination with ragas, which permeate a positive kaleidoscope of ideas marshalled and directed with great daring and compositional skill. The challenge for both soloist and orchestra is immense and it would be hard to imagine playing of a more coruscating brilliance, delicacy and affection. The superb Danny Driver gives his all and is partnered to the hilt by the Scottish conductor Rory Macdonald, making his first appearance on record. Hyperion’s balance and sound are exemplary.

-- Bryce Morrison, Gramophone

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / RECORDING: *****


Erik Chisholm (4 January 1904 – 8 June 1965) was a Scottish composer, pianist, organist and conductor often known as "Scotland's forgotten composer". Chisholm wrote well over 100 works, including 35 orchestral works, 7 concertante works (including a violin concerto and two piano concertos), 7 works for orchestra and voice or chorus, 54 piano works, 3 organ works, 43 songs, 8 choral part-songs, 7 ballets, and 9 operas including one on Robert Burns. His style is so similar to Bartók that Chisholm's critics have repeatedly referred to Chisholm as "MacBartók".


Danny Driver (born 1977 in London) is a British classical pianist. He trained with Alexander Kelly and Piers Lane whilst studying at Cambridge University, with Irina Zaritskaya at the Royal College of Music in London, and completed his studies privately with Maria Curcio. Driver has a special interest in unusual or neglected works, alongside the mainstream repertoire. He gave the United States premiere of York Bowen's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans on 29 April 2009. The conductor was his wife Rebecca Miller.


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