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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

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Beethoven: Complete Bagatelles

Beethoven: Complete Bagatelles


Beethoven:

Bagatelles (7), Op. 33

Bagatelles (11), Op. 119

Bagatelles (6), Op. 126

Bagatelle in C minor, WoO52

Bagatelle in C major, WoO56


John Lill (piano)

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Chandos - CHAN9201

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Beethoven: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra

Beethoven: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra


Beethoven:

Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (complete)

Piano Concerto in E flat major, WoO 4

Piano Concerto in D major, arranged by the composer after the Violin Concerto, Op. 61a

Rondo for Piano & Orchestra in B flat major, WoO 6

Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C major, Op. 56

with Tasmin Little (violin) & Tim Hugh (cello)

Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra in C minor, Op. 80

with Opera North Chorus


Howard Shelley (piano and conductor)

Opera North Orchestra

The piano remained the main instrument of Beethoven throughout his life, and this specially priced 4-CD box set represents his entire and sizeable output for piano and orchestra, starting with the early Piano Concerto in E flat,

WoO 4 – a work of tremendous energy and great technical demands, which Beethoven wrote when he was just twelve years old – and ending with Piano Concerto No. 5, the only one that Beethoven never performed himself in concert, due to his developing deafness.

Howard Shelley was awarded an OBE for services to classical music at the 2009 New Year Honours. He here conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North from the piano. Shelley has recorded extensively for Chandos over the years, and he has combined the role of solo pianist and conductor on numerous occasions, most recently with the Orchestra of Opera North in Piano Concertos by Schumann, Saint-Saëns, and Grieg (CHAN 10509), but also with the London Mozart Players, recording works by Cramer, Hummel, Mendelssohn, and Mozart. All his recordings have received superb reviews.

Beethoven wrote the Triple Concerto on this disc in 1803 during a lull in the composition of his opera Fidelio. Works for violin, cello and piano were fairly common at the time – but combining them with orchestra was, as Beethoven himself observed, something entirely new, and no other concerto of this kind from this period is known today.

In this work, Howard Shelley is joined by the violinist and exclusive Chandos artist Tasmin Little, who won the Critics’ Choice Award at this year’s Classic BRITS, and by the cellist Tim Hugh, of whom The Times said: ‘Mr Hugh is much more than just a Cellist, he is a musician with a compelling insight into the creative urge behind the notes.’

“this is svelte, affectionate orchestral playing, with a particularly seductive principal oboe. And Shelley knows just when to step back when Beethoven’s solo line slips into note-spinning mode, letting his Leeds players sing....This is a wonderful box. It’s easily the equal of starrier sets from the past - Barenboim, Kempf, Perahia etc. Buy it.” The Arts Desk, 21st January 2012

“there are several reasons to shout about it...there's Shelley himself: a pianist whose quiet musicality and unobtrusive virtuosity shine through everything he touches...Throughout the set, there's a humanity to Shelley's music-making; it's particularly affecting in the B-flat Concerto, which he imbues with warmth as well as wit...this is a major new cycle, an important addition not only to the catalogue but also to Shelley's exceptionally fine discography.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2012

“all concerned seem to be at one with a composer who is often harder to gel with than we like to think...For most listeners, Shelley’s Beethoven-as-is approach, with clarity the hallmark, will be a positive virtue, though that doesn’t mean that there’s any lack of power” MusicWeb International, June 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2012

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Chandos - CHAN10695(4)

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Beethoven: Eroica Variations & other piano works

Beethoven: Eroica Variations & other piano works


Beethoven:

Eroica Variations, Op. 35

Variations (6) for Piano on an Original Theme in F major, Op. 34

Rondo in C major, Op. 51 No. 1

Rondo in G major, Op. 51 No. 2

Für Elise (Bagatelle in A minor, WoO59)


Louis Lortie (piano)

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Chandos - CHAN8616

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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Sung in English (translation by David Pountney)


Christine Brewer (Leonore), Richard Margison (Florestan), Robert Lloyd (Rocco), Rebecca Evans (Marzellina), Peter Wedd (Jaquino), Pavlo Hunka (Don Pizarro), Christopher Purves (Don Fernando/Second Prisoner), Ashley Catling (First Prisoner)

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, David Parry

“outstandingly vivid recording, among the finest ever to come from Chandos...[Brewer is] at once heroic but intensely human and warm, brilliant in the demanding 'Abscheulicher'. She is well matched by the Florestan of Richard Margison...always vocalizing lyrically and never barking in heldentenor style, suggesting a fresh, youthful hero.” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3123

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Beethoven - Mass in C major

Beethoven - Mass in C major


Beethoven:

Mass in C major, Op. 86

Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, Op. 112

Elegischer Gesang 'Sanft wie du lebtest' Op. 118


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Chandos Chaconne - CHAN0703

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Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1, etc.

Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2 No. 3


Louis Lortie (piano)

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Chandos - CHAN9212

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Beethoven - Piano Sonatas

Beethoven - Piano Sonatas


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 'March Funebre'

Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22

Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49 No. 2


Louis Lortie (piano)

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Chandos - CHAN9755

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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-32 (Complete)

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-32 (Complete)


Louis Lortie (piano)

Beethoven has always been a part of the concert repertoire of exclusive Chandos artist Louis Lortie, and it rose again to the top of his agenda as he prepared to complete his recorded cycle of the composer’s sonatas earlier this year. Sonatas Nos 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 30, 31 and 32, newly recorded, will be released for the first time as part of a box set of the entire canon, which will be available at the bargain price of 9 CDs for the price of 3.

This box set of the complete piano sonatas is a must for all lovers of Beethoven and great piano playing. The compositions are bold and beautiful, challenging, witty and fresh. They seem to encompass all aspects of human sensibility and aspiration, and the superb playing of Louis Lortie takes the music to another level. His recording of the composer’s ‘Eroica’ Variations, which won an Edison Award, was described by Gramophone in glowing terms:

‘His account… is spacious and magisterial, virile yet sensitive, and the wide range of dynamic nuance and keyboard colour is there to illumine Beethoven’s textures and not highlight the artist’s pianism. He succeeds in communicating the power of Beethoven’s imagination: the part-writing in the fugue emerges with a masterly clarity, and is beautifully weighted and balanced.’

Highlights among the new recordings are that of the sublime Sonata No. 30, composed in 1820 – 22, which displays all the characteristics of Beethoven’s last creative phase: rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and a strict adherence to classical and baroque forms. Also worthy of a separate mention is Sonata No. 22, a veritable study in contrasts. Its two complementary themes – a gracious, dignified ‘feminine’ theme resembling a minuet, and a stamping, assertive, ‘masculine’ theme – gradually influence one another in the course of the movement until they become thoroughly integrated and combined in the final passages.

“Lortie seems less interested in metaphysical profundity than in textural stylishness; spending enough time with this set to grasp Lortie's aims and insights is nevertheless genuinely rewarding” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 ****

“Time and again a faultless pianistic sheen and mastery are allied to the finest musical perception. Here, surely, is vital and living proof that you can maintain an individual and distinctive voice while remaining scrupulously true to the composer...Nothing is forced or rushed, everything is subtly nuanced and phrased beneath an outwardly urbane surface...These are performances to treasure and revisit.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2011

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Chandos - CHAN10616(9)

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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Volume 1

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Volume 1


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2 No. 3

Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major, Op. 7

Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 6 in F major, Op. 10 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 'Pathetique'

Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14 No. 2

Bagatelle in C minor, WoO52


To run parallel with his complete Haydn series, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is now starting a complete, chronological cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. This first set covers the sonatas composed in the 1790s. Two further volumes, of middle and late sonatas, will follow in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Each volume in the series will be available as

3 CDs for the price of 2.

In a recent cover feature in International Piano, Michael Church spoke with the pianist about the new project and reported: ‘For Bavouzet, the particular pleasure of coming to Beethoven after Haydn lies in the fact that although their basic harmonic language is roughly the same, in Beethoven’s scores the dynamics are clearly indicated, especially where they seem completely independent of the music’s so-called natural harmonic tensions.’ Bavouzet added: ‘The accents are in exactly the wrong place, and that’s what creates his music’s excitement. I am so happy to have these two streams of my work running side by side for the next few years.’

This recording covers the sonatas from Opus 2 to Opus 14, and includes a novelty: two different versions of Op. 10 No. 1. In the words of Bavouzet: ‘Professor William Drabkin has reconstructed for me the development section of the third movement. It’s based on Beethoven’s sketches, which had just one line, one voice, but all the bars are full, so we have the exact length, and the line is not always the top line. This makes us realise how he arrived at the concept of his three-movement sonatas, for this was not originally supposed to be in three movements, but four… I will also record the longer development, and the extra movement, so that people can see how he reduced and concentrated the work from four movements to three. I must stress that this is surmise, but it is very well thought through.’

“Bavouzet’s fingers, precise in touch, sometimes witty and mischievous, make Haydn’s heritage clearly audible...Bavouzet’s playfulness is especially valuable...But Bavouzet equally connects with the music’s soul, sculpting the Pathétique’s grave opening chords to ensure they cast a long shadow” The Times, 25th May 2012 ****

“This is one of the biggest discoveries I have come across in years...Bavouzet’s Beethoven...is consistently engaging in its imaginative scope, stylistic freedom and technical fearlessness...The only question now is: after such an outstanding start to his complete cycle, how can Bavouzet maintain this sense of discovery – and how long must we wait for the next instalment?” Financial Times, 26th May 2012 *****

“Bavouzet's performances are distinguished and virtuosic, but he does overemphasise the storminess of some passages, the results sounding perilously close to self-parody...But Bavouzet is quite marvellous in the many quirky, violent and mischievous movements, and in the slow movements where he does not seek to be intensely expressive...so all told this is a most desirable set overall.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“Throughout these discs, Bavouzet enhances his interpretations with pianism of a virtuosity familiar from his earlier recordings...with sound as clear and realistic as one previous Chandos releases...On the basis of this first instalment, he has much to say about this music that is relevant and necessary: one can only look forward to the continuation of this cycle.” International Record Review, June 2012

“Muted beginnings from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet...Make no mistake, his playing is immaculate. Yet in a number of sonatas his is, mostly, an immaculate presentation of their structural logic...The tide with Op. 10. Excellent pianism now gets bedded into genuine interpretation. Bavouzet jettisons fastidious reserve for a personal perspicacity that reaches deep into the music...Bavouzet when performing at his finest is the thing here.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2012

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Chandos Bavouzet Beethoven Piano Sonatas - CHAN10720(3)

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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Volume 2

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Volume 2


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22

Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 'March Funebre'

Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 No. 1 'Quasi una fantasia'

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight'

Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale'

Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 'Tempest'

Piano Sonata No. 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 'The Hunt'

Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49 No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 'Waldstein'

Andante Favori in F, WoO 57


Jean-Efflam Bavouzet returns for the second volume of his survey of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. The project, set to conclude with Vol. 3 in 2014, runs alongside his complete recording of Haydn’s Piano Sonatas. Vol. 1 of the Beethoven series was critically acclaimed, BBC Music calling the performances ‘distinguished and virtuosic’ and Fanfare remarking that ‘his readings will withstand the test of time’. In this release Bavouzet performs the sonatas published between 1800 and 1804.

This period marked a transitional stage in Beethoven’s work and the arrival of his middle period. Included are the two Op. 27 sonatas, both modified ‘quasi una fantasia’ that break away from traditional forms. One of these, the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, features one of his best-known movements, the opening Adagio sostenuto, which unfolds like a baroque prelude with its famous rolling triplets and lamenting melody. The ‘Waldstein’ Sonata, Op. 53 is one of the glories of Beethoven’s middle period and surpasses all his previous sonatas in scope and scale. Also recorded here is the Andante in F, a piece originally intended as the slow movement to the ‘Waldstein’. Although later replaced by a shorter Adagio molto this is a charming piece in its own right and quickly became one of Beethoven’s most popular works after being published alone as the Andante favori.

“The nervous, abrupt chords in the first movement of Op 31, No 1 jump out and bite us. He’s equally impressive capturing the music’s playful mischief and sudden poetic revelations. So much here is brilliantly achieved and so sharply polished that the few moments of dullness take us by surprise.” The Times, 10th January 2014 ****

“Bavouzet proves he has the elegance for the early sonatas and the pianistic command for Beethoven’s larger forms...The “Moonlight” radiates mystery and momentum, the “Tempest” has fabulous intensity (and a graceful touch), while the “Waldstein” is treated to a performance of unmitigated rapture.” Financial Times, 11th January 2014 ****

“At its best, his playing is engaging and fresh; there's never a hint of staleness about even the most familiar music...While some might feel increasingly short-changed by these performances, others who admire the polish and assurance of Bavouzet's playing as well as the surface slickness that goes with it, may well enjoy every one of these performances.” The Guardian, 16th January 2014 ****

“he plays a rich-sounding modern instrument, and Chandos supplies its usual feather-bed acoustic. Yet whenever there's a chance to be abrasive, Bavouzet seizes it, and he relishes the opportunities Beethoven gives him to sound wispy and 'French'.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ****

“Those following his Beethoven cycle will not be disappointed by what is on offer here and the final volume can be only keenly awaited.” International Record Review, February 2014

“This second volume is lucid yet intense in the poised Opus 31 sonatas and vital in the 'Waldstein.'” Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2014

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Chandos Bavouzet Beethoven Piano Sonatas - CHAN10798(3)

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