- Grande Sonate for piano in D major, Op. 9
- Grande Sonate Fantaisie L'Infortuné for piano in F sharp minor, Op. 26
- Sonatina for piano, Op. 5/1: Andantino
- Sonatina for piano, Op. 5/2: Andantino
Ferdinand Ries was one of the few real protégés of the loner Beethoven. Beethoven's influence certainly shows in the piano music here, written during the first decade of the nineteenth century. The early to middle transitional Beethoven provided the models for Ries; anyone expecting an undiscovered "Waldstein Sonata" will naturally enough be disappointed, but the "Moonlight" certainly exerted its pull on Beethoven's Bonn-born student in its free treatment of the piano sonata's movement order. Two sonatas, both hopefully designated "grande," appear here, and each has an unusual movement. The finale of the "Grande Sonate Fantaisie L'infortune in F sharp minor, Op. 26" (note the terminological similarity to the "Moonlight") rambles and does not support its more-than-13-minute length. With the odd Tempo di Minuetto second movement of the "Grande Sonate in D major, Op. 9," however, Ries hits on something original. It is far from a conventional minuet, and even from the barkingly funny minuets Beethoven wrote in the "Symphony No. 8" and elsewhere. Instead it is a sober, heavily contrapuntal movement that looks forward to Mendelssohn's retro experiments. There's a lot of plain old tonic and dominant in this music, but anyone interested in the music that surrounded Beethoven will find it useful and instructive. German pianist Alexandra Oehler offers competent but unexcited readings, further dulled by very plain sound design. The German label CPO has embarked on a project to record Ries' long-forgotten music. Given that goal, the hour of music here seems ungenerous; there was certainly room for other short pieces or even an entire sonata in place of the two short slow movements included at the end.