Ferdinand Ries must have made a strong impression as a pianist. Beethoven, a gifted pianist in his own right, even entrusted the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 3 to Ries. The two had known each other since their days together in Bonn, when Ries’s parents took the half-orphan Ludwig into their family. Ries was Beethoven’s right-hand man in Vienna, and what he learned from his great model, who was fourteen years his senior, is impressively demonstrated by the Franz Ensemble on its debut album: brilliant virtuosity meets Classical form, and tradition appears in new guise – for a very special anticipation of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth! Ries delights in experimentation in his Sextet and surprises us with his original instrumental combinations. The solo piano is joined by the harp, which also has to rise to the highest challenges, while the clarinet, horn, and bassoon form an accompaniment of orchestral character over the double bass foundation. The pianist also has the opportunity to shine as a soloist in the Octet- which amounts to a piano concerto en miniature. It recalls Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5. Unknown music in unusual combinations- that is the specialty of the Franz Ensemble. The young musicians around the clarinetist Maximilian Krome are not afraid to test new material.