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Another boxed set of Beethoven's piano music? Indeed it is, but what a huge difference this is from the rest. The acclaimed pianist Cyprien Katsaris presents to us a chronological journey from Beethoven's first composition for the keyboard, the 'Variations on a March by Dressler' (1782) to the 'Musical Joke' (1826), which was the master's last in the genre. In between, Katsaris not only includes a number of Beethoven's original works but also performs rarely heard transcriptions by other famous names in the form of Czerny, Diabelli, Mussorgsky, Wagner, Winkler and Saint-Saëns. This six CD set also includes arrangements by Beethoven himself of his own compositions.
Listen — Beethoven: March in F, WoO 18 - 1st version, 1809, transcribed by Beethoven?
(CD 6 track 3, 0:27-0:50) ℗ 2019 Piano 21 :
The first volume starts with works written when the composer was just eleven years old, and they amply convey the greatness of things to come. Mozart was indeed a child prodigy, but listening to these pieces one can easily surmise the genius of Beethoven, and he certainly deserves more credit as a young composer.
Listen — Beethoven: Allegro cantabile (Keyboard Sonata in E flat, WoO 47/1, 1782-3)
(CD 1 track 2, 0:01-0:56) ℗ 2019 Piano 21 :
Throughout the set, Katsaris lovingly displays Beethoven's compositional skill and artistry as the years go by, and the goldmine of information written by the pianist himself helps put these works in their true perspective, both of the era and also in respect of the composer's life.
Another very enticing aspect of this issue is the number of attractive transcriptions by other renowned composers, revealing the hidden potential of many a known piece.
Listen — Beethoven, transcribed Winkler: Rondo (Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor, Op 5 No 2, 1796)
(CD 2 track 6, 5:53-6:52) ℗ 2019 Piano 21 :
Katsaris' playing is passionate, devotional and certainly unwaveringly committed, thus helping the listener to appreciate the amazing compositional development of the master as the years rolled by.
Listen — Beethoven, transcribed Kullak: Rondo (Violin Concerto in D)
(CD 5 track 7, 9:08-10:07) ℗ 2019 Piano 21 :
This is not just another beautiful set of Beethoven's piano odyssey; it is a clear biographical testament to one of the most influential composers of all time. A superb box set, lovely, enjoyable, engrossing and quite possibly my issue of the year. Just buy it and let your hair down.
Copyright © 16 December 2020