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David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2016

Mainly educated in the Western world, including spells at the University of Toronto and Trinity College in London, Huang Anlun is one of China’s leading composers. His Piano Concerto dates from 1982 and is cast in the conventional three movements, its parentage seemingly coming from Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, with big and juicy melodic inspiration, then mixed with mid-20th century pungent harmonic language. It was part of tripartite composition that was surrounded by an overture and a symphony, the concerto being dedicated to Huang’s close friend, the North American pianist, Joseph Banowetz. It is not a work of outgoing brilliance, though the first movement cadenza—which comes in descent from the Second Viennese School—is certainly demanding. That opening movement is almost as extended as the other two together, the central Adagio bringing an element of romance to the concerto. A major change of mood for the finale introduces a new brittle brilliance, its thematic material being very pleasing, particularly in the mercurial piano writing, the movement ending in a whirl of happiness. The orchestra are mostly cast in an accompanying role, but are obviously a very good ensemble. With 1986 sound, this quite short disc has already appeared some years ago to much acclaim on the Hong Kong Records label. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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