In his 16 quartets for two violins, viola, and cello, Beethoven created a Mount Everest for string players and some of the most sublime, unforgettable music ever written. Continuing to astound listeners after 200 years, these glorious quartets give voice to the innermost landscape of the human heart and spirit. They stand, like Michelangelo's statues or the plays of Shakespeare, at the pinnacle of Western art.
If beauty is truth and truth beauty, then the Quartetto Italiano's late-'60s, early-'70s cycle of the complete Beethoven string quartets is possibly the most truthful cycle ever recorded because it is certainly the most beautiful cycle ever recorded. No quartet has ever played with such consummate beauty of tone, such ideal intonation, and such superb ensemble as the Quartetto Italiano. In the most strenuous passages, in the most awkward, in the most excruciating passages, the Italiano is always and everywhere transcendentally beautiful.
Beethoven is undoubtedly one of the most influential and important composers of all time. This album features the landmark symphonies, concertos, chamber music and solo piano music from this giant of music, all performed by the greatest interpreters – Claudio Abbado, Martha Argerich, Wilhelm Kempff, Carlos Kleiber, Rafael Kubelik and many others.
Passionate, dramatic, yet poetic and richly nuanced Mari Kodama brings all these qualities to her interpretation of Beethovens Complete Piano Concertos. This exceptional recording with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin shines with extraordinary intensity and contrast, due in no small measure to the artistic bond between Mari Kodama and her husband, the conductor Kent Nagano. Beethovens Piano Concertos are undoubtedly amongst the most influential works in the history of music. Art demands of us that we shall not stand still, the composer once wrote, placing the idea of development at the heart of his music. His five piano concertos saw Beethoven take piano music out of the salon and into the concert hall, playing a crucial role in advancing the genre towards the symphony, whilst simultaneously creating a bridge from the First Viennese School to the Romantic period. Mari Kodama, whose virtuosic mastery of the piano made her a household name all over the world, has completed the Beethoven Piano Concerto Cycle with her husband Kent Nagano, the international star conductor.
Decca's five-CD set Ultimate Beethoven is a respectable beginner's introduction to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven because it presents his greatest masterworks in complete performances by major artists. Where some other collections present only short, thematic excerpts or single movements taken from larger works, obliging the listener to put in additional effort to hear the whole compositions, this set leaves nothing incomplete. Central to Beethoven's output are his symphonies, and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor; the Symphony No. 6 in F major, "Pastoral"; and the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, "Choral" have long been regarded as essential works.
This performance DVD was filmed in March of 2004 at the Södra Teatern in Stockholm, Sweden, and captures the wonderfully quirky duo of Sparks at its best. This sibling act, comprised of brothers Ron and Russell Mael, has been making its perverse little brand of music since 1970, and comes off here just as sarcastic, funny, smart and insightful as ever.
This is the latest and, they tell us, the last of EMI’s Simon Rattle Edition, gathering together the conductor’s complete forays into certain composers and repertoire. As with any such project the sets hitherto released have contained both treasures and duds. Even though not everything here is perfect, this set sends the series out on a high with his complete Vienna recording of the Beethoven symphonies.
For this super audio disc from Channel Classics, Dejan Lazic's live performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major is programmed with his solo recordings of the Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, "Moonlight," and the Sonata No. 31 in A flat major. Ostensibly, this is a sonic showcase for Lazic and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, under Richard Tognetti, and the state-of-the-art technology brings out the best in the musicians, giving the pianist an intimate presence without crowding him or artificially boosting his volume, while at the same time lending the orchestra a spaciousness that really opens it up.