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Beethoven 250 - Anniversary Collection
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Today, 16 December 2020, we celebrate Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday with a special selection of Beethoven related events, articles, news and album releases. Enjoy!

/The Piano Street Team

New on Piano Street
34 Works by Beethoven Added to Piano Street
We've spent the months leading up to Beethoven's birthday preparing a number of his scores that have been missing from our sheet music library. As part of this week's celebrations, we're happy to announce that our Beethoven section - comprising 130 works - is now complete!

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Beethoven 250: Krystian Zimerman performs the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos
Renowned Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman joins forces with the London Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Simon Rattle at LSO St Luke's for a three-concert cycle of the five piano concertos. The stream will take place on DG Stage, a new video music service for classical concert streams from Deutsche Grammophon.

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Cyprien Katsaris - Beethoven in a New Light
Beethoven - a Chronological Odyssey is a set of six surprising CDs that must count as one of the most original new releases in the Beethoven year. Cyprien Katsaris has gained renown as a Beethoven interpreter not least because he is one of the few pianists to have recorded Liszt’s transcriptions of the symphonies - and also because he has a solo piano version of the Emperor Concerto in his repertoire.

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Leif Ove Andsnes - Beethoven takes you by the hand
There are apparently some pianists who, despite the anniversary, are not devoting them exclusively to Beethoven this year. Anyway, with his Beethoven Journey project, Leif Ove Andsnes has already done his bit, making one of the most beautiful recordings of the piano concertos. For Andsnes, Mozart is currently uppermost on the agenda, even if there is also plenty of Beethoven being played at his festival too. Time for another conversation with the Norwegian master pianist.

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Ten Days, Five Concertos - Bezuidenhout's Beethoven Challenge
Kristian Bezuidenhout, Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester have made an exciting period-instrument trilogy of Beethoven's Piano Concertos that looks likely to become a landmark recording. All five concertos were recorded during an intense ten-day session.

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An Uncancelled Beethoven Celebration
In this interview with Konstantin Scherbakov, the phenomenal performer shares his experiences derived from a lifelong relationship with the composer, on stage, in the recording studio and as an influential tutor. In this first part of the interview we get to learn about Scherbakov's year of celebration and complete sonatas recording project.

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BEETHOVEN 250 - Recommended External Articles
New To Beethoven?
Are you unfamiliar with Beethoven? Read and listen to New York Times' 5 minutes introduction to the great LvB's music.

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Beethoven's Last Three and Broadwood
Tom Beghin is a pianist and Senior Researcher at the Orpheus Institute in Belgium. He's a specialist in historical keyboards, and he's not only studied Beethoven's Broadwood, he had a replica of it built, too.

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Beethoven's Piano Builder
Maria Anna Streicher was a piano maker, composer, teacher, and writer who is perhaps best known for her Viennese pianos and for her friendship with Beethoven.

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Virtual Beethoven Festival from New York
NYU Steinhardt presents a five-week virtual festival from November 11 through Beethoven's birthday on December 18. The festival, titled Beethoven the Contemporary, will include a series of lectures, masterclasses and performances featuring faculty, students, alumni, and internationally renowned scholars and performers.

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But Who Was "Elise"?
Ludwig van Beethoven, penned a love letter during two days in July of 1812 while staying in Teplice. The letter's unnamed recipient - LvB's "Immortal Beloved" - remains a mystery, and continues to generate debate.

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LvB's Sonatas Mirroring Life
In this broadcast pianist Barry Douglas discusses the evolution of Beethoven's piano sonatas, as well as how Beethoven expressed social and human ideals in his music.

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Pianistic Clouds
Meet pianist Yael Weiss and her project 32 Bright Clouds: Beethoven Conversations Around the World: " I was born in Israel, and it is very, very important for me and was right from the start to include as many countries from the Middle East as possible."

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Beethoven's Quest for More
Beethoven constantly looked for instruments with larger capacity. The piano needed to get louder. Audiences were getting bigger and so did the orchestras and the halls.

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Barenboim and Diabelli
Few musicians have engaged with Beethoven's music as intensively and over such a long period as Daniel Barenboim.

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Beethoven's Mighty Fluff
The Bagatelle is described as a short musical fluff. However, that is not what comes to mind when hearing the Op. 33, 119, and 126 sets. Paul Lewis just recently released his album on Harmonia Mundi.

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Hough on His Beethoven Concertos
The performances have been captured in lovely clean and clear sound with just the right amount of hall ambience. The balance between the Boesendorfer piano and the orchestra is excellent as, indeed, is the internal orchestral balance.

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Beethoven Changes Our Ears
New York Times chief classical critic took on the daunting Opus 110 in college and reflects on the "Masterpiece" description. Beethoven once told a publisher; "What is difficult is also beautiful and good." He wanted pianists to sweat.

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The Emperor on the Barenboim Grand
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra offers a wide pick of past concerts on demand and more are added regularly. Try Daniel Barenboim's performance of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto under the baton of Mariss Jansons.

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Australian Beethoven
Australian pianist Gerard Willems says he fell into his career by chance. "Not many people are given the chance to record all the sonatas. This is a dream for a pianist, to be able to sit down and record for perpetuity."

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Viennese Roots with Angelich
ARTE Classic offers a great archive of high-end performances. Hear American pianist Nicholas Angelich play Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto with Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Phillipe Jordan.

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Seven Pianos Played by Ludwig
Most of Beethoven's early pianos would have been Viennese in make, but unfortunately none of the instruments made by Walter, Streicher or Schanz for Beethoven still exist.

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BEETHOVEN 250 - New Piano Albums
Audio streaming and full CD booklets are only available for Piano Street Gold Members
Beethoven - Complete Sonatas, Diabelli Variations
Few have engaged with Beethoven as intensively as Daniel Barenboim - this is his fifth complete cycle of the 32 piano sonatas. For Barenboim, the lockdown proved a rare opportunity to spend months at the piano, trying to interpret everything “with virginal freshness and to start again from scratch”. He also includes a new recording of Beethoven’s last great work for the piano, the Diabelli Variations.

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Beethoven - The Piano Concertos
Bavouzet’s series of Beethoven’s complete sonatas, finished in 2017 was seen as a landmark event by critics: “Bavouzet’s chronological journey through the Beethoven sonatas has not been surpassed in the last 30 years.” (Gramophone) Here is his take on the five Concertos which he play-directs with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

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Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4, Overtures
In their complete survey of the Beethoven Concertos on period instruments, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Pablo Heras-Casado, and the musicians of the Freiburger Barockorchester now turn to the Fourth, one of his most unique and personal works. Here, according to the soloist, “Beethoven is crafting a wholly new genre, a kind of written-out improvisation for piano and orchestra that blurs the lines between what is notated and what is possible.”

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Beethoven - Bagatelles
After recording the complete Piano Sonatas, Diabelli Variations, and the Piano Concertos, Paul Lewis turns to the shorter form of the Bagatelle. With these 'trifles', which actually meant a great deal to him, Beethoven laid the foundations for a flourishing new genre of piano miniatures.

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Beethoven Sonatas Vol. 1
Over the course of 2020 Boris Giltburg has set out to learn and film all 32 sonatas by Beethoven - a personal exploration, driven by a strong love of the sonatas he had already played, and a strong a wish to discover the remaining ones. The recordings presented in this album are those films, stripped of their visual element. They combine elements from a live performance with those of a studio recording, every movement being a single, uncut take.

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Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 2
This is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Argerich’s and Ozawa’s already legendary recording of Beethovens First Piano Concerto, released in 2018 to Gramophone’s reviewer’s great delight: “Seiji Ozawa is 82 and Martha Argerich is 76, yet they go at Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto like a pair of teenagers… Argerich remains indefatigable and, on this evidence, Ozawa may be entering a glorious Indian summer of creativity”.

Audio & booklet >>

Beethoven - Unknown Piano Works
The Beethoven 250-year jubilee prompts pianists all over the world to dig up even the most obscure creations by the immortal composer. This time, it’s Matthias Kirschnereit who has given himself the challenge to bring some of the smaller jewels of Beethoven’s piano repertoire into the limelight, to let them sparkle anew.

Audio & booklet >>

The Diabelli Project
In 1819, Anton Diabelli sent a waltz of his own devising to the foremost composers of his time, asking each recipient to compose a variation on it. Beethoven responded with no less than 33 variations, covering an unprecedented stylistic, technical and expressive musical canvas. As a 21st-century parallel, Rudolf Buchbinder invited eleven composers to write “new” Diabelli Variations.

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Beethoven - A New Path
The year 1802 was a fateful one for Beethoven: the 32-year-old composer wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament, and suggested to friends that he wanted to “embark on a new path”. Andreas Staier plays some of the groundbreaking works published that year on a Viennese fortepiano from around 1810.

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Beethoven - Piano Pieces and Fragments
This album provides an opportunity to engage with 36 of Ludwig van Beethoven’s rarely heard sketches, variations and briefest of compositions. The range of Beethoven’s musical experimentation reveals a lasting interest in counterpoint, as well as practical pages such as cadenzas for a Mozart concerto, an incomplete sonata and a second version of the famous bagatelle Für Elise.

Audio & booklet >>


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Debussy - Clair de Lune
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Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu
Mozart - Piano Sonata in A Major (Alla Turca)
Bach - Invention 1 (authograph manuscript)
Chopin - Raindrop Prelude
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