skip to Main Content

Enterprising disc from pianist Simon Callaghan on Hyperion

Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill

Until I came across this enterprising disc from pianist Simon Callaghan on Hyperion, I had never heard of Jean Louis Nicodé. His limited claim to fame seems to be his arranging of the first movement of Chopin’s abandoned third piano concerto. This disc, Ein Liebesleben, seems to be the first ever devoted to Nicodé’s solo piano music and Callaghan gives us three substantial works, Andenken an Robert Schumann – Sechs Phantasiestücke Op.6, Variationene un Fuge über ein Originalthema Op. 18 and Ein Liebesleben – Zehn Poësien Op.22.

If you put the disc on cold, you might think that you have got the wrong composer as Andenken an Robert Schumann (dedicated ‘most respectfully to Frau Dr. Clara Schumann’) is 30 minutes of music evoking that of Robert Schumann.

Ein Liebesleben is a cycle of ten musical poems, each with a Schumannesque title, ‘First meeting’, ‘Song of longing’, ‘Restless love’. Whilst never approaching pastiche, Jean Louis Nicodé ‘s music is full of references, Anton Rubinstein, Schumann, Schubert and Liszt, and it was to Liszt that I kept returning perhaps because that composer’s transcriptions merged his own personality with another composer’s.

The other work on the disc is the variations and fugue on an original theme, the theme is a haunting, elegiac one and the variations are very effective ending with a substantial and somewhat surprising fugue.

Jean Louis Nicodé’s music is delightful, completely unconcerned over its stylistic plurality and highly effectively written for the piano.

The movements of Ein Liebesleben, largely short, flow effortlessly as do the variations and Callaghan plays them all with some style.

This disc is a valuable complement to Hyperion’s The Romantic Piano Concerto series, and two of Jean Louis Nicodé’s teachers appear in the series, Theodor Kullak and Friedrich Kiel. Like some of these concertos, this disc reveals that music of late 19th century Germany was not all Wagner and Brahms, there is a charm and lightness here which beguiles even as you are aware deep down that the music might lack earnest substance.

You may also like to see...
Both performers are at their best in the striking slow movement
Beautifully performed
Deep-rooted conviction
A classy album of deep musicality and sensitivity
Bernhard Scholz And Josef Rheinberger
The performances on this disc are spirited, well-shaped and refined
Simon Callaghan played with breathtaking nuance in the extremely complex, intricate "Le jardin parfumé" by Kaikhosru Sorabji
Bernhard Scholz And Josef Rheinberger
Consummate ease and brilliance
Bernhard Scholz And Josef Rheinberger
Rapturous … highly recommended
Bernhard Scholz And Josef Rheinberger
Callaghan makes the case for both with flair and conviction
Bernhard Scholz And Josef Rheinberger
Sent into the shadows by Simon Callaghan ✶✶✶✶
Bernhard Scholz And Josef Rheinberger
The performances here are excellent, with Simon Callaghan making light work of the works' technical demands
Simon Callaghan’s interpretation was superb
Coke Hyperion
Callaghan once again shows himself to be one of the leading young British pianists
Record Review Simon Callaghan
Impressive pianism – BBC Radio 3 Record Review
Coke Hyperion
Callaghan's achievement of myriad tonal hues adds greatly to the allure
Coke Hyperion
Passion, total commitment …heartfelt affection
Coke Hyperion
Unquestionably deserves to be explored and celebrated
Coke Hyperion
Performances from all concerned are admirable
Coke Hyperion
A commendable revival of works dug out of the archives by the pianist himself
Warp And Weft, EMR CD043
Velvet-gloved pianism of ravishing sensitivity from Simon Callaghan
A display of exemplary musicianship
One of the festival highlights
English pianist Simon Callaghan presented an evening of captivating sound and fantasy which was rightly celebrated with enthusiastic ‘bravi’
Five Stars for Callaghan's Roger Sacheverell Coke CD on the Somm label
Simon Callaghan, a pianist who likes to experiment with rarely visited repertoire, has devoted much effort to the recovery of Coke
Callaghan with the Yorkshire Young Sinfonia
Played so faithfully here by Simon Callaghan
This release has been an exciting discovery
Commanding and virtuosic musicianship
Finely played, full of brilliance and virtuosity
Callaghan's spirited and skilful playing is impressive
An eloquent advocate
A new figure and force
Simon Callaghan proves the ideal partner, subtly weighting and detailing the music’s shifting harmonic and textural profiles
You will not be disappointed
Manner from on high
An adventurous selection of not-so-well-known sonatas delivered with aplomb
Back To Top
05/08/2020