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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

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Beethoven & Schubert - Piano Trios

Beethoven & Schubert - Piano Trios


Beethoven:

Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3

Piano Trio No. 5 in D major, Op. 70 No. 1 'The Ghost'

Piano Trio No. 7 in B flat Major, Op. 97 'Archduke'

Schubert:

Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major, D898


Suk Trio

Over the more than 40 years of its activity, the Suk Trio underwent several personnel changes. Yet it was the “classic” Suk – Panenka – Chuchro line-up (the configuration from 1960 onwards) that wrote the most colourful chapter in its illustrious history.

The ensemble was a rare example of perfect coordination between opposites: a noble virtuoso pianist with a crystal-clear touch (Jan Panenka), an earthy and energetic cellist (Josef Chuchro) and a lyrical and melodious violinist (Josef Suk). These outstanding individuals managed to uniquely meld together their disparate temperaments, creating a legendary chamber grouping that was enthusiastically received by listeners worldwide.

Beethoven and Schubert’s piano trios were one of the pillars of their repertoire and at the same time represent the first great apex of this genre. The 25-year-old Beethoven published Piano Trio No. 3 in C major together with another two trios under the opus number “1” in 1795, shortly after his arrival in Vienna. The extensive Trio No. 7, the “Archduke Trio”, was written in 1810-11 and is the work of a mature composer.

Schubert completed his Trio No. 1 in B flat major during the last year of his life (1827) alongside serious and melancholic pieces. The work’s optimistic vein therefore comes as something of a surprise.

Legendary recordings of vintage Beethoven and Schubert by the classic Suk Trio line-up.

“The vintage Czech ensemble is disappointingly laid-back in Beethoven's Sturm and Drang C minor Trio. Their Schubert, however, has a wonderful lightness of articulation - a total delight.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 ***

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Supraphon - SU39592

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Beethoven & Sibelius: Violin Concertos

Beethoven & Sibelius: Violin Concertos


Beethoven:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47


Ida Haendel was rightly branded the “Grande Dame of the Violin” back at the time when it remained a staunchly male domain. When she was seven years of age she met in the final of the Wieniawski Violin Competition such virtuosos as David Oistrakh and Ginette Neveu. Her performances of Elgar’s, Bruch’s and Beethoven’s violin concertos still rank among the benchmark recordings. At the age of twenty-one, the Polish violinist was lauded byJean Sibelius himself, who greatly esteemed her interpretation of his work, the most frequently recorded violin concerto of the 20th century up to the present day. The recording contained on this CD is an invaluable and hitherto unreleased document of the concert that took place at Prague’s Rudolfinum on 18 October 1957. With the utmost mastery, precision and naturalness, the soloist performed the two works with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Karel Ancerl. The special atmosphere was also contributed to by the fact that Jean Sibelius had died less than a month prior to the concert. The sound quality of the recording and the soloist’s flawless live performance(note perfect) are truly awesome. This recording is an encounter with a living legend.

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Supraphon Archiv - SU40242

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Beethoven Concertos

Beethoven Concertos


Beethoven:

Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (complete)

Jan Panenka (piano)

Prague Symphony Orchestra, Václav Smetáček

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

Jan Panenka (piano)

Prague Symphony Orchestra & Prague Radio Chorus, Václav Smetáček

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

Josef Suk (violin), Jan Panenka (piano) & Josef Chuchro (cello)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

Josef Suk (violin)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Franz Konwitschny

Romance No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra in G major, Op. 40

Josef Suk (violin)

Prague Symphony Orchestra, Václav Smetáček

Romance No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra in F major, Op. 50

Josef Suk (violin)

Prague Symphony Orchestra, Václav Smetáček


Following the collections of symphonies (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Kletzki, SU40512) and violin sonatas (Suk, Panenka, SU40772), Supraphon is now releasing the complete Beethoven concertante pieces. All of them (including the Triple Concerto and the genre-unique Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra) came into being within a mere sixteen years, between 1793 and 1809.

Although Beethoven deemed the piano “an imperfect instrument”, his five piano concertos form one of the cornerstones of his oeuvre and represent a significant landmark in this genre. Amidst the innumerable recordings made, Panenka’s singular take on Beethoven stands out and astonishes owing to the sheer exuberance of articulation, purity of style and lucidity of tone. In 1962, the famous violin concerto was undertaken by Josef Suk with his characteristically masterful musicality. Under Kurt Masur, the Triple Concerto was performed by the entire Suk Trio and the three superlative soloists, possessing abundant chamber experience, proved to be the ideal interpreters of the “Grand Concerto Concertant”. Beethoven recordings fully deserving of the oft-used attribute “legendary”.

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Supraphon - SU41072

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Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3

Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3


Beethoven:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37


All of Sviatoslav Richter’s concert appearances in Prague, from his 1950 Prague Spring performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, to his 1993 performance of the Grieg concerto, were highlights of Prague’s musical life. Richter, however, enjoyed traveling to small cities, often playing on instruments whose quality would be simply unacceptable for many of today’s musical stars. His concerts were generally completely sold out and offered his listeners an extraordinary musical experience regardless of the venue or quality of the instrument. The ability to surpise his audiences again and again was an inborn part of his personality. Under his fingers, pieces played a hundred times could suddenly take unexpected turns, as evidenced by both of the Beethoven concertos on this album (Concerto No. 1, recorded at Prague Spring on June 2, 1956, and Concerto No. 3, recorded on June 21, 1962) with the Czech Philharmonic and Karel Ancerl. These sensitively remastered recordings show Richter as a musician whose respect for stylistic purity never impeded his fascinating freedom of interpretation and inspiration.

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Supraphon - SU40202

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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 7, 12 & 23 ‘Appassionato’

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 7, 12 & 23 ‘Appassionato’


Beethoven:

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

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

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 'Appassionata'


Beethoven performed lightly and rapidly, with passion and premeditation, simply peerless – that’s Sviatoslav Richter.

The Russian Masters archive series brings another gem from Sviatoslav Richter’s abundant Prague legacy. The recording of the three Beethoven sonatas was made at the Rudolfinum on 1 November 1959 within a single evening. One year later, Richter included these sonatas in his celebrated debut recitals at Carnegie Hall.

Owing to his legendary aversion to frequently performed works, during his lifetime he would only play fewer than half of Beethoven’s sonatas on a concert stage. However, Richter did not hesitate to resurrect even the scarcely performed works and was able to breathe new life into the early sonatas, such as Op. 10 No. 3 and Op. 26, in which lovely classicist passages mingle with astonishing invention and energy.

Richter’s take on the “Appassionata” is a milestone in the history of interpretational art. He plays the exposed passages at a seemingly hazardously rapid tempo, without keeping anything in reserve. The performance is passionate in a ravishing manner, yet not lacking in premeditation and a sense of structure. Nothing here is just for the sake of effect. Perhaps it would be apt to paraphrase one of Beethoven’s statements: There are many great pianists, but only one Sviatoslav Richter.

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Supraphon Archiv - SU40452

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Beethoven String Quartets No. 1-7 & 14 & Mozart String Quartet No. 15

Beethoven String Quartets No. 1-7 & 14 & Mozart String Quartet No. 15


Beethoven:

String Quartets No. 1-6, Op. 18

String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59 No. 1 'Rasumovsky No. 1'

String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131

Mozart:

String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K421


Vlach Quartet

After having paid tribute to the legacy of the Czech Chamber Orchestra, Supraphon has now commemorated another ensemble connected with the violinist and conductor Josef Vlach, a gifted pupil of Josef Talich. Established in 1950, since 1954 the Vlach Quartet performed in the line-up in which it had triumphed in the competition in Liege and in which it conquered stages worldwide and made all the recordings featured on this album. Two exciting quartets, teh Smetana and the Vlach, were active in Prague, ensembles whose difference represented an inspiring polarity of approaches to music interpretation. Ivan Medek thus described the personality of Josef Vlach, who with kindness and authority alike formed the quartet's soul: ''Similarly to Talich, Vlach was not a scholarly artist. Yet he possessed a remarkable ability, an acute sense for that which is really strong and communicative in music. His intellect seemed to be constantly fed from an immense source of profound emotional inspiration.'' The Vlach Quartet recorded Beethoven's quartets within 10 years. Given the year in which it was recorded, 1956, the ''bonus'' Mozart quatet in D minor is one oft he ensemble's oldest recordings made soon after their victory in Liege. The presented Beethoven tracks are merely part of the Vlach Quartet's remarkable legacy, which encompasses quartet works by Czech composers, as well as by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Debussy and Ravel.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Supraphon - SU42212

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Beethoven - String Quartets Nos. 11-16

Beethoven - String Quartets Nos. 11-16


Beethoven:

String Quartet No. 11 in F minor Op. 95 'Serioso'

Grosse Fuge in B flat major, Op. 133

String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127

String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130

String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131

String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132

String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135


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Supraphon - SU38702

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Beethoven: String Quintets in E flat major & C minor

Beethoven: String Quintets in E flat major & C minor


Beethoven:

String Quintet in E flat major, Op. 4

String Quintet in C minor, Op. 104


Karel Spelina (viola)

Suk Quartet

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Supraphon - SU34472

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Beethoven: String Trios

Beethoven: String Trios

Recorded live at the concert of the 15th Prague Spring International Music Festival at the Rudolfinum, June 2, 1960


Beethoven:

String Trio in G major, Op. 9 No. 1

String Trio in C minor, Op. 9 No. 3

String Trio in E flat major, Op. 3


This CD, the latest title within the acclaimed Russian Masters series, presents three towering Russian musicians. At a superb 1960 Prague Spring festival concert, Kogan, Barshai and Rostropovich performed together three of Beethoven’s four string trios. These pieces are seldom played in combination since they require from the musicians a rare combination of virtuosity and humility, as well as mutual respect between the chamber players.

There is no doubt as to the sheer virtuosity of these musicians; at their previous concerts at that year’s Prague Spring all three of them had presented themselves as superlative soloists (at the festival, Rostropovich also performed in Czech premiere Shostakovich’s first cello concerto). Leonid Kogan – one of the most distinguished representatives of the Russian violin school; the violist Rudolf Barshai – co-founder of the celebrated Borodin Quartet and later on a renowned conductor; Mstislav Rostropovich – simply a phenomenal cellist... Three soloists whose encounter on a single stage was a veritable feast for chamber-music lovers and one of the apices of the Prague Spring. Now, half a century later, you too can savour this remarkable concert.

Three legends on one stage – a precious encounter you can again enjoy, half a century on!

“And there's freedom aplenty in these vigorous, highly charged performances...These are strong-jawed readings with a great sense of purpose...Another asset to this set is the violinist himself, Leonid Kogan, whose tone is searing in its intensity...this new release captures a compelling moment in history: it must have been some evening!” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Historic

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Supraphon Archiv - SU40522

(CD - 2 discs)

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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9


Beethoven:

Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (complete)

Coriolan Overture, Op. 62

Egmont Overture, Op. 84


Ingeborg Wenglor (soprano), Annelies Burmeister (alto), Martin Ritzmann (tenor) & Rolf Kühne (bass)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Prague Philharmonic Choir, Paul Kletzki

Beethoven’s symphonies are among the cornerstones of the symphonic repertoire. They bear witness to the composer’s remarkable journey from airy Classicism to the peerless idiom he had developed on the threshold of the Romantic epoch.

Those who have taken up the challenge to record the complete cycle include the Polish-born conductor Paul Kletzki, who gained great renown after the war, primarily in America. He was the principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for a year and after his debut in Philadelphia went on to conduct the leading American and European orchestras.

This remarkable complete recording of Beethoven’s symphonies was made during Kletzki’s performances with the Czech Philharmonic in 1967, during the orchestra’s golden age under the chief conductor Karel Ančerl. This gem of the Supraphon archives thoroughly deserves the current re-edition in remastered form owing to its freshness and expressive depth.

Beethoven as explored by Kletzki – a legendary, time-honoured recording.

“The Czech Phil’s sound here is charismatic and idiomatic, with a rich, muscular string timbre cushioning highly distinctive wind and brass playing...The interpretations hold up very well – Kletzki’s speeds are unhurried, but never seem unduly slow as he’s so good at sustaining the string lines and giving plenty of lift to the rhythms...[in the Ninth] the Czech choral sound is thrilling and Kletzki has good soloists.” Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 9th July 2011

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Supraphon - SU40512

(CD - 6 discs)

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