Following an extraordinary 30th anniversary season spent touring the complete Beethoven string quartets to musical centers around the world, including Tokyo, Paris, London, Vienna and Salzburg, the Hagen Quartet went directly from stage to studio to record three of their favorite Beethoven quartets. With the selection of op. 18/3, 18/5, and op. 135, the album ranges from the very first to the very last string quartet Beethoven wrote.
Transcriptions of chamber works to orchestral works have been interesting asides for composers for a long time - whether the transcription are alterations of a composer's own songs or chamber works to full orchestral size or those of other composers for which the transcriber had a particular affinity. Stokowski's transcriptions of Bach's works are probably the most familiar to audiences. The two transcriptions on this recording are the creations Gustav Mahler and his election to transcribe the quartets of Beethoven and Schubert is not surprising: Mahler 'transcribed' many of his own songs into movements or portions of movements for his own symphonies. Listening to Mahler's transcriptions of these two well known quartets - Franz Schubert's String Quartet in D Minor 'Death and the Maiden' and Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet in F Minor 'Serioso' - provides insight into both the orginal compositions and the orchestration concepts of Gustav Mahler. The themes of these two works would naturally appeal to Mahler's somber nature. Mahler naturally extends the tonal sound of each of these transcriptions by using the full string orchestra and in both works it is readily apparent that his compositional techniques within string sections are ever present.
Authentic and authoritative, these 1985 recordings of Mozart and Beethoven's quintets for piano and winds have almost everything going for them. Performing on a pianoforte modeled on a 1790 Viennese instrument, Jos van Immerseel is an adroit player, while the quartet drawn from the period instrument wind band Octophoros Paul Dombrecht on oboe, Elmar Schmid on clarinet, Piet Dombrecht on horn, and Danny Bond on bassoon are likewise all skillful instrumentalists.
The fifth release in Praga's Richter Edition, which presents SACD remasters of classic albums by the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter, features live recordings of Beethoven sonatas from the 60s and 70s. This disc includes three of the 'late' sonatas, including a particularly memorable Hammerklavier. The program also features the Piano Sonatas Nos.27 and 28 in performances that simultaneously emphasize the legato elements and display Richter's prodigious interpretive talents to the fullest.
Together, Corey Cerovsek and Paavali Jumppanen have turned in one of the freshest, sweetest, and altogether most charming sets of Beethoven's violin sonatas in years. Though not imbued with the blazing virtuosity that Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich or the heightened expressivity that Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy brought to the works, Cerovsek and Jumppanen create performances of poise, depth, and refinement.
Solti's interpretations held more than surface excitement. In conducting Beethoven, for example, he long held that the symphonies should be played with all their repeats to maintain their structural integrity, and he carefully rethought his approach to tempo, rhythm, and balance in those works toward the end of his life. Solti began as a pianist, commencing his studies at age six and making his first public appearance at 12. When he was 13 he enrolled at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying piano mainly with Dohnányi and, for a very short time, Bartók. He also took composition courses with Kodály.