Volume 61 in Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto project finds Howard Shelley in top form. Not only does he despatch hair-raisingly difficult passagework as if it were the simplest exercise, but he simultaneously directs from the keyboard, securing committed and alert playing from his Hobart colleagues. How far these labours are justified by the music’s merits remains the question.

Theodor Döhler (1814-56) and Alexander Dreyschock (1818-69), both child prodigies who achieved brief renown, will be largely unknown. Dreyschock’s most admired achievement consisted of playing Chopin’s Revolutionary Studywith octaves added to the left-hand; Döhler lacked even this claim upon posterity.

Dreyschock’s Morceau de Concertdeserves revival – a Beethovenian study in gravitas, with intelligent instrumentation in which cello and horns play significant roles. It seems odd that anyone capable of writing this should also have purveyed the clichéd homage to Vienna, for which even the booklet note cannot summon marked enthusiasm. Döhler’s concerto lies between the Dreyschock pieces in quality, with some imaginative modulations in the first movement but with bland note-spinning elsewhere. Hyperion’s engineering is clean and well-balanced, if slightly less opulent than the label’s best. Not among the finest releases in this valuable series.