Pixis & Tharaud

This 58th volume of the Romantic Piano Concerto series presents two composer-pianists who contributed to the Hexameron, Liszt's collaborative piano extravaganza. Thalberg (who would be celebrating his 200th birthday in 2012) famously took part in a pianistic ''duel'' with Liszt, and was popularly acclaimed as the greatest pianist in the world during his lifetime. He only wrote one piano concerto, and that in his teens, but it is a brilliantly effective showpiece for virtuosity and stamina, the pianist's hands barely leaving the piano. Johann Peter Pixis has now been consigned - perhaps unfairly - to the oblivion where so many early 19th century composers dwell. These are world premiere recordings of his charming Piano Concerto and Piano Concertino. Howard Shelley, an undisputed master of the music of the early Romantic period, directs the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from the keyboard with his usual insouciance and poise.