Following his landmark recordings, "Beethoven - The Late Piano Sonatas" and "Bach - Partitas", both of which has won him international acclaim, Igor Levit is now tackling another three major works: Bach's Goldberg Variations, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, and Frederic Rzewski's Variations on "The People United Will Never Be Defeated".
It is testament to Igor Levit's invention and the command of his repertoire that in one release he is able to combine arguably two of history’s greatest sets of variations for the keyboard, complete alongside a classic of late 20th century piano music by contemporary composer Frederic Rzewski.
Reissue of this near legendary recording of Beethoven’s Leonore (the first version of what later became Fidelio). This recording from 1977 was the first recording of this opera, and since then remains a benchmark. Featuring the best singers of the time: Eberhard Büchner, Edda Moser, Edith Mathis, Theo Adam, Karl Ridderbusch, and the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.
Following on their highly acclaimed debut album, the period instrument Chiaroscuro Quartet returns with another recording of chamber music of the classical period. Their approach, firmly committed and imaginative, fits particularly well with the trail-blazing works on this recording. In its day, Beethoven's famous ''Serioso'' quartet was considered avant-garde and experimental. Mozart's Adagio and Fugue is a veritable lesson in the art of counterpoint - rich with dissonance and brilliant in its subtle complexity and inventiveness.
Following close on the heels of the mighty F major Quartet (featured in the first volume of this series along with Op. 59, No. 3), Beethoven’s Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2 could not be more different. Where the F major Quartet pursues its course with a leisurely breadth, the cries of the opening chords of the E minor and the whispers that follow confront a void. The real release comes only in the slow movement, which was clearly a significant piece for the composer, judging by his instruction ‘this piece is to be played with great feeling’. The battle of E minor and E major continues in the scherzo: its fractured waltz comes out into the light of the trio with one of the Russian themes Beethoven promised Count Rasumovsky he would insert into each of the quartets.
Firma Melodiya presents a unique boxed set with recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies 1 to 8 conducted by Rudolf Barshai. One of the most prominent representatives of domestic music performing art of the 20th century, Rudolf Barshai was a man of amazingly versatile talents. His character combined obsession of a seeker and explorer of new sides to performance with an aspiration for his own creative way avoiding a bitten path.
The Nash Ensemble continues its critically acclaimed survey of Beethoven’s rarer chamber music in an intriguing new disc. The String Quintet Op 104 is an arrangement of Beethoven’s revolutionary Piano Trio No 3, a work which shocked contemporary listeners. Beethoven’s brilliance as an arranger is not perhaps his most well-known musical characteristic, but it is vividly apparent here; the transformation from piano to string writing ushering in an explosion of colour. The music is profoundly Beethovenian in its abrupt, extreme contrasts, violent rhetoric alternating with intense pathos and yearning lyricism.
An aspiring composer of humble means, 23-year-old Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger) is seeking inspiration and career advancement in the world's music capital, Vienna. A student at the music conservatory, she is recommended for a position at a venerated publisher, and, in a fortuitous turn of events, orchestrates an opportunity to work beside the greatest, most mercurial artist alive–Ludwig van Beethoven (Ed Harris). When the skeptical Beethoven issues an impromptu challenge, Anna demonstrates her competence and musical insight. The maestro accepts Anna as his copyist, beginning a remarkable relationship that will transform both of their lives.