ECM New Series is better known for its documentation of contemporary works, but the music of the past sometimes receives coverage when artists bring a new perspective to it. The Diabelli Variations, Op. 120; the Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111; and the Six Bagatelles, Op. 126, are among the most original and intellectually stimulating works Ludwig van Beethoven composed for the piano, and the sophisticated interpretations of András Schiff are especially worthwhile for their insights into authentic performance practice and reception. Here, Schiff gives the listener options between a relatively modern sounding version of the Diabelli Variations and a period interpretation, without favoring one or the other.
An acclaimed Italian guitar virtuoso and composer, Mauro Giuliani, along with Fernando Sor, was one of the last great classical proponents of his instrument until its revival in the early twentieth century. He studied counterpoint and the cello, but on the six-string guitar he was entirely self-taught, and that became his principal instrument early on. Italy abounded with fine guitarists at the beginning of the nineteenth century (Carulli remains the most familiar today), but few of them could make a living because of the public's preoccupation with opera. So Giuliani embarked on a successful tour of Europe when he was 19, and in 1806 he settled in Vienna, where he entered the musical circle of Diabelli, Moscheles, and Hummel. He solidified his reputation with the 1808 premiere of his Guitar Concerto in A major, Op. 30, and was soon heralded as the greatest living guitar virtuoso. Even Beethoven noticed Giuliani, and wrote of his admiration for him. Perhaps to return the favor, Giuliani played cello in the 1813 premiere of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.
Released to celebrate his 75th Birthday, this 25CD Limited Edition encompasses the complete recorded legacy of Stephen Kovacevich for the Philips label. It includes his acclaimed interpretations of works by Beethoven, Bartók, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Dvorák, Grieg, Mozart, Schumann and Stravinsky. Every album is presented with original covers and programming. Following his triumphant debut in London, 1961, Stephen Kovacevich embarked on a brilliant international career and made many acclaimed recordings for Philips Classics, including his legendary Beethoven Piano Concertos and Diabelli Variations.
Sigi Schwab composed music for countless TV sequels, films, theater, ballett, performances and chamber music. He is the only European guitarist being awarded the "Ovation Award". Besides the Classical Ensemble, the Diabelli Trio and the Percussion Academia (until Guillermo Marchena died in 1994) Sigi Schwab now performs with the Percussion Project. This is a real beautiful live recording – a masterpiece of acoustic music with influences from all over the world !
Brahms' works for piano open and close his career as a composer. In his earliest sets of variations, especially those of Op. 9, the melody is of primary importance, and Brahms clings to it while freely changing the harmony. His later studies of Beethoven, however, led to his transformation of the melody into something new, adhering to the theme's basic phrase structure and harmonic pattern. As had Bach in his "Goldberg" Variations and Beethoven in the "Diabelli" Variations, Brahms, in the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Händel, Op. 24, constructed a sprawling masterwork ……..