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.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was founded by Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said. It consists of young, highly talented Israeli and Arabian musicians and was founded to increase the dialogue between young people in the Middle East and represent the peaceful collaboration of the two cultures. In standard comparable to the most established orchestras, it combines tonal beauty and transparency with youthful expressiveness, passion and exuberance. This technically brilliant and incredibly enthusiastic orchestra brings out all levels of Beethoven’s 9th symphony and we listen to Beethoven at his very best: exuberant, emotional, lucid, tender, clear, triumphant… simply magnificent!Needless to say, Daniel Barenboim conducts excellently and outstanding singers Angela Denoke, Waltraud Meier, Burkhard Fritz and René Pape contribute tremendously to this unforgettable concert.
Juliette Hurel's 2013 album on Naïve explores pieces for flute and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, evoking the period between Classicism and early Romanticism. Perhaps the subtlest work of the program is Beethoven's Flute Sonata in B flat major, WoO A4, written in 1790 and fashioned under the influence of Haydn. Its sunny disposition and light textures are periodically interrupted by unexpected key changes and sudden digressions into the minor, characteristics that anticipate Beethoven's later development and mark it as a transitional work. His Serenade for flute and piano, Op. 41, is an arrangement of the Serenade for flute, violin, and viola, Op. 25, and it has a similar, if sometimes deceptive, air of Classical simplicity, which is all the more apparent because of the brevity of the movements. Only Schubert's Variations on a Theme from Die schöne Müllerin is unequivocally Romantic, and its sudden changes of mood and key make it the most fascinating piece on the disc.
Trio con Brio Copenhagen have played a central role in Scandinavia’s vibrant contemporary music scene for almost twenty years, and are celebrating this milestone anniversary by recording the complete piano trios of Beethoven for Orchid Classics, of which this is the much-anticipated first volume. A recipient of Denmark’s prestigious ‘P2 Artists Prize’ amongst many other awards, the Trio enjoys an intensive worldwide touring schedule as well as regular collaborations with many of the world’s most respected composers. Their recent recording for Orchid of trios by Tchaikovsky and Smetana was hailed by The Guardian (UK): “… Trio con Brio Copenhagen scale the Tchaikovsky’s heights with the verve their name suggests…” Founded in Vienna in 1999 with the concept of pairs coming together, the two Korean sisters, and Soo Kyung and Jens (who are now married), have since then been exploring the piano trio repertoire with freshness and curiosity as well as with respect and reflection.