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Mozart & Beethoven: Piano Concertos
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Nikolaus Harnoncourt at Eighty - Harnoncourt & Beethoven
plus movements from other works:
- Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op. 67: I Allegro con brio
- Symphony No. 7 in A major Op. 92: II Allegretto
- Symphony No. 6 in F major Op. 68, 'Pastoral': III Allegro
- Symphony No. 6 in F major Op. 68, 'Pastoral': IV Allegro
- Symphony No. 6 in F major Op. 68, 'Pastoral': V Allegretto
- Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op. 55, 'Eroica': I Allegro con brio
- Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major Op. 58: III Rondo – Vivace, Pierre-Laurent Aimard – piano
- Fidelio: Act 1 "O welche Lust" (Chorus), Arnold Schonberg Chor
- Fidelio: Act 1 "Nun sprecht, wie ging's?" (Leonore, Rocco, Marzelline, Jaquino, Pizarro)
- Fidelio: Act 1 "Leb wohl, du warmes Sonnenlicht" (Chorus, Marzelline, Leonore, Jaquino, Pizarro, Rocco)
- Mass in D major Op. 123, 'Missa Solemnis': III Credo, Arnold Schonberg Chor
Beethoven - Piano Concertos WoO4 & No. 2
Ronald Brautigam releases his second disc of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos – this time offering a youthfully fresh Concerto No. 2 which was actually conceived long before the First Piano Concerto.
The programme also includes two rarities: the Piano Concerto in E flat major, WoO4, sometimes referred to as Beethoven’s ‘Concerto No.0’, and the Rondo in B flat major, WoO6, composed during the long period of composition of Concerto No.2 and probably at one stage intended as the finale of this work.
The Piano Concerto in E flat major, WoO4, was composed in 1784 when Beethoven was only 13 years old. It is a fully developed three-movement work that displays much imagination, harmonic control and sense of form, as well as a striking level of virtuosity. The work has survived in a contemporary copy of the piano part, incorporating directions showing that the original orchestra consisted of two flutes, two horns, and strings. For this recording Ronald Brautigam has made his own reconstruction of the orchestral score.
“Beethoven's early E flat Piano Concerto, WoO4, ought to be better known. The piano-writing suggests the alliance of virtuoso execution with an already distinctive musical voice. In later life, Beethoven rarely chose so charming a rondo subject as he does here... this superbly articulated performance by Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam. His account of the B flat Concerto, interestingly coupled with a none too remarkable earlier finale Beethoven wrote for the concerto, is first rate...” Gramophone Magazine, September 2009
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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 & Piano Concerto WoO 4
Annette Topel (piano)
Harleshauser Chamber Orchestra, Matthias Enkemeier
“By any standards he is one of the leading pianists of our time, a player of astonishing technical gifts and penetrating musical intelligence.” (The Guardian)
“Fine performances of two of Beethoven's seriously undervalued works.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2009
“Listening to the opening tutti on this joyful new Triple Concerto, you can just picture Nikolaus Harnoncourt cueing his strings, perched slightly forwards, impatiently waiting for that first, pregnant forte. This is a big, affable, blustery Triple, the soloists completing the sound canvas rather than dominating it, a genuine collaborative effort.
So beside the Beethovenian strut to this performance there's poetry too. Yet thoughtfulness never spells timidity; Hagen and Thomas Zehetmair throw caution to the winds near the end of the first movement. The Concerto's Largo is simplicity itself, rather like a song without words, but it's the finale that is likely to raise the most smiles, a rumbustious affair, uninhibited without coursing out of control. Harnoncourt and his team go for the burn, always brilliant but, more importantly, full of character and humour.
The fill-ups (like the Concerto, recorded at concerts in Graz) are hardly less engaging. The little B flat Rondo is bubbly from the start, Aimard and the orchestra maintaining a feeling of chamber collaboration. And then the ChoralFantasia, so often clunky on disc but here aided by Aimard's sense of style – his arpeggios in the long opening solo have so much colour – and by Harnoncourt's relaxed approach to the music that follows, each variation imaginatively tended within a larger framework. The singing is excellent, the sound both warm and realistic. As 'feelgood' Beethoven programmes go, this is about as enjoyable as it gets, though a high level of musical insight further enhances one's pleasure.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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The Art of Julius Katchen Volume 1
Beethoven: Complete Works for Piano and 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
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