Beethoven: Complete Works for Solo Piano, Vol. 10 - The Complete Bagatelles

Beethoven: Complete Works for Solo Piano, Vol. 10 - The Complete Bagatelles

by Ronald Brautigam
     
 

Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam, looking for all the world like an aging rock star with his long platinum hair, has recorded a series of Beethoven works on historically appropriate instruments for the Swedish label BIS; this release is part of that series. The idea of recording Beethoven's complete Bagatelles (the word means "trifles") is aSee more details below

Overview

Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam, looking for all the world like an aging rock star with his long platinum hair, has recorded a series of Beethoven works on historically appropriate instruments for the Swedish label BIS; this release is part of that series. The idea of recording Beethoven's complete Bagatelles (the word means "trifles") is a novel one because it's hard to agree on exactly what constitutes a bagatelle. The famous "Für Elise, WoO 59," for instance, wasn't called a bagatelle by Beethoven, but it has much in common with the works so designated: it is short, not in sonata form, and not of an overly serious cast. Beethoven published three sets of pieces called Bagatelles, but only the third, one of Beethoven's late masterworks, was planned from the start as a set. The advantage of Brautigam's inclusive approach is that he gets to some very rare pieces, not only those listed with WoO (Werke ohne Opuszahl, or Works Without Opus Number) numbers, but even a few listed with Hess numbers after a musicologist who cataloged lost Beethoven works. The "Bagatelle in C major, Hess 57," for instance, is contemporaneous with the Op. 126 set and is a genuine piece of lost late Beethoven, a contrapuntal but humorously abrupt piece that has much in common with the mood of the "String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135." Brautigam uses a pair of pianos, a good idea inasmuch as the music on the album spans a quarter century. Both are modern replicas of historical instruments, made by American-Czech builder Paul McNulty; one is of a ca. 1805 Walter instrument and the other of a piano ca. 1819 from the Graf workshop. The historical pianos have some very surprising effects in some pieces. Sample the second section of the Presto from the "Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33," where upper-register arpeggios seem like offstage echoes responding to loud, abrupt bass notes. Brautigam takes most of the pieces at quick tempos, none more so than the Andante of the "Six Bagatelles, Op. 126" (track 34), which comes in at Moderato or perhaps even Allegro. In general, though, he has a good feel for the weirdly experimental quality of many of these pieces, some of which were rejected rough drafts for movements of longer works. Beethoven seems to have worked out structural ideas in many of these little works, slight as they may seem, and Brautigam's brisk, serious approach brings this out. There's much, if intermittently, to attract the listener here, and one main attraction is the BIS label's magical Super Audio sound.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2011
Label:
Bis
UPC:
7318599918822
catalogNumber:
1882
Rank:
119147

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Bagatelle for piano in E flat major, Hess 74  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Ronald Brautigam  - Robert Suff
  2. Bagatelle for piano in C major, Hess 73  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Ronald Brautigam  - Robert Suff
  3. Allegretto for piano in C minor, Hess 69  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Ronald Brautigam  - Robert Suff
  4. Bagatelles (7) for piano, Op. 33  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Ronald Brautigam  - Robert Suff

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