Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) was one of Beethoven's lesser
> Ries: Piano Concertos Op.42 and
Op.177. Christopher Hinterhuber
(piano), NZ Symphony Orchestra. Naxos CD.
He studied for four years under the master, then from 1813 to
1824 became a successful pianist and composer in London,
before returning to Frankfurt where he was a leading musical
figure until his death. Ries' 14 works for piano and
orchestra rank beside Hummel's as the finest from early
These concertos are Ries' first and last published. Austrian
pianist Hinterhuber, with the NZ orchestra under Uwe Grodd in
this fifth volume commendably promoted by Naxos, exploits
their fine lyricism along with episodes of Beethoven-like
grandeur. Introduction et Rondeau brillant, Op. 177
makes a splendid and generous 18-minute break between the two
half-hour concertos. Well recorded.
Highlight: Brilliant piano, grand flourishes.
''Pluck'', harp works by NZ composers.
Helen Webby (harps). Ode CD.
Webby launched this at the Otago Festival of the Arts last
year. It was well recorded at the University of Otago's
Albany St Studio and features short works commissioned from
nine New Zealand composers, as well as Gareth Farr's Frozen
Landscapes (written in 2006 based on Antarctica).
A variety of different harps resonate, exploiting different
styles of music and moods. Lyell Creswell's The Harp Sang has
words written by Fiona Farrell about the Christchurch
earthquake, sung by Pepe Becker, who herself composed
Capricorn 1: Pluto in Terra based on that disaster.
I liked Gillian Whitehead's Cicadas, Ross Carey's
surreal Valse Oubliee, Anthony Ritchie's Angels
Flow and Graeme Downes' jazzy Introduction and
scherzo. Pieces by Claire Cowan, Mark Smythe, and Chris Adams
Highlight: Ancient instrument, versatile with pluck!