Beethoven: Complete Bagatelles, Diabelli And Eroic

Album cover art for upc 5029365101813
Catalog: PCL10181

Maltempo, Vincenzo

Winner of the prestigious Premio Venezia prize, Vincenzo Maltempo ‘rides high among many young and gifted Italian pianists.’ (Gramophone, January 2015). His recordings on Piano Classics have won critical acclaim for their technical finesse and musical sensitivity. His latest release is a timely one, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in Bonn with the two major variation sets and the ever-elusive, whimsical Bagatelles which have taxed the hands and imaginations of all the greatest pianists. All the works here derive ultimately from the composer’s instincts as an improviser and thinker at the keyboard: playing continually with ideas both physical and intellectual, working them over and around the body of the instrument that was his own principal medium of expression. The Op. 34 variations marked a seachange in the composer’s treatment of his form, sharing the expressive reach of his sonatas and concluding with an ambitious fugue. Even the Eroica Variations, however, give little notice of the visionary transformation wrought upon an upbeat but modest waltz, sent to him by his publisher Diabelli, in his final work in variation form. They occupied Beethoven on and off for five years, during which time he explored every possibility of the theme and of variation-form itself. The result is, in the words of Alfred Brendel, ‘the greatest of all piano works.’ Here and in the final Bagatelles we find Beethoven challenging even the outer limits of his own prodigious imagination as well as the fingers of his performers and the minds of his listeners. Amid the cavalcade of Beethoven releases in 2020, Maltempo’s new album is a big event.

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