Originally published on June 19
German, 1788-1866, Aloys Schmitt is served very well as the latest entrant into Hyperion’s long-running series. Schmitt – piano pedagogue and conductor – is certainly not fazed by writing a Piano Concerto or two – C-minor, Opus 14; and D-minor, Opus 34 – for both here are skilful and attractive, in three movements and lasting around half-an-hour (regular template). Howard Shelley brings them to life with style, virtuosity and shape, backed to the hilt by the Ulster Orchestra, and beautifully recorded by Ben Connellan, June 2021. This may not be great or life-changing music, but it is unfailingly likeable – particularly the nocturnal Adagio and skittish Finale of the C-minor, or the intriguingly changeable character of the D-minor’s rather Mendelssohnian first movement – and is not going to be better performed than here (hence ‘Outstanding’) with the Rondeau brillant, Opus 101, something of a stately polonaise, acting as a (for the pianist) finger-twisting encore, the certainly brilliant coda finds Shelley scintillating. These Schmitt first recordings are on Hyperion CDA68389 and released on July the First.