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John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, June 2015

…winning performances and pretty good Naxos sound. © 2015 Classical Candor Read complete review




Penguin Guide, January 2009

These two concertos are exhilaratingly performed by Benjamin Frith with the Northern Sinfonia, with Frith’s sparklingly clear articulation in rapid scales and figuration magnetizing the attention in music that can easily seem just trivial. The tile of the Fifth Concerto, L’Incendie par l’orage (‘Fire from Lightning’), reflects a dramatic storm passage in the long and ambitious first movement, while the lovely slow movement of the Sixth Concerto is a nocturne in all but name, with the outer movements full of bright ideas.



Robert Moon
Audiophile Audition, May 2002

"The orchestral passages appropriately contrast the piano's role with drama and tension. The work brims with felicitous melodies and dramatic flourishes that engage the mind and heart... Benjamin Frith plays with the freshness of discovery and wit that serve the composer perfectly. The Northern Sinfonia accompanies enthusiastically and the sound is clear and close..."



Richard Wigmore
BBC Music Magazine, March 2002

"Benjamin Frith can draw out the lyrical music to dangerous lengths... The Northern Sinfonia, with limited opportunities, is crisp and confident in support - a word, too for the beautifully tuned clarinet solos in the slow movement of No.5."



Ivan Hewett
The Times (London), February 2002

"Being a trail-blazer can be unrewarding; you have your moment of fame, only to see someone else improve on your idea. That was the fate of John Field, who has gone down in history as 'Chopin's precursor.' Listening to this CD reminded me how unjust that is. The Fifth Concerto is an astonishing piece, including a surprising interruption of the slow movement with fast music - which you think is the finale but turns out to be a red herring. Both the soloist (Benjamin Frith) and the orchestra are superb, pointing up the gentle pathos of the music without exaggerating it."



The Guardian, January 2002

"John Field, the inventor of the Nocturne, was a virtuoso pianist as well as a composer, writing a sequence of concertos for his own use, of which these are splendid examples. Though Field was much more adept at embroidering than developing the themes that bubble up through each work, the results are consistently attractive. Frith's sparklingly clear articulation in rapid scales and figuration magnetises the attention in music that can easily seem trivial. The title of the Fifth Concerto, L'incendie par l'orage (Fire from Lightning) reflects a dramatic storm passage in the ambitious first movement, while the lovely slow movement of the Sixth is a Nocturne in all but name, with the outer movements full of bright ideas."



Geoff Brown
The Times (London), January 2002

"For another bracing trip into the great unknown, try Naxos's disc of piano concertos by the Dublin-born John Field (8.554221), most engagingly played by Benjamin Frith. Field has long been regarded a key historical figure. As a pianist in the early 19th century he placed delicacy ahead of virtuosity. As a composer he gave birth to the piano nocturne, establishing the fashion for the stand-alone 'mood' piece and paving the way for Chopin. He also led the kind of life a Hollywood biography would die for: too many bright lights, too much alcohol, then a sputtering decline.

The nocturnes tickle few ivories these days, undeservedly. The fifth and sixth concertos on this CD wave their structural flaws like flags, though they bubble with so much spirit and amusing decoration that you rush to forgive. No 5, from 1817, carries a subtitle, L'Incendie par l'orage, earned by a stormy passage in its first movement. But the concertos convince most when they fall into a dreamy sadness or skip along, carefree. You can hear the smile on Frith's face as he dashes through these delights, and the Northern Sinfonia under David Haslam easily keeps pace."



Michael Church
The Scotsman, January 2002

"John Field's piano concertos throw up some wonderful surprises, like the ferocious depiction of fire in the fifth, subtitled L'Incendie par l'Orage. Pianist Benjamin Frith and the Northern Sinfonia portray them well... The sound quality is beautifully clear."





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