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Klassiek - Verschenen op 4 oktober 2019 | Challenge Classics

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Beethoven’s most famous piano trio is dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph, himself an accomplished musician. The importance of Rudolph as a patron can be seen in the number of other prominent works that Beethoven dedicated to him. Beethoven started work on the trio in the second half of 1810, but much of the work was done in March of the next year. Some descriptions give an inkling of how novel a composition this was perceived to be, and a young Ignaz Moscheles reported: “In the case of how many compositions is the word ‘new’ misapplied! But never in Beethoven's, and least of all in this, which again is full of originality.” A year after the Archduke, Beethoven wrote another piano trio in B-flat major. The autograph dates it 26 June 1812, but besides the similarity in key it is different in every way. It consists of a single movement, was not published during the composer’s lifetime, and was written to encourage the nine-year-old Maximiliane Brentano in her piano playing. The Trio in E-flat WoO 38 might have been once intended to be part of Op. 1 and although there are no extant sketches to support this, the style of the composition makes a dating of around 1790-1 plausible. The trio contains some surprising twists and turns, particularly in its lengthy codas. The last piece for piano trio that Beethoven published during his lifetime has one of the longest compositional histories of all of his works. It consists of a long introduction, followed by ten variations on ‘Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu’ from Wilhelm Müller’s popular opera Die Schwestern von Prag. The first version of this piece was probably composed between 1801 and 1803, but it was substantially revised in 1816, and most likely further revised before publication in 1824. This final trio therefore includes elements from Beethoven’s early, middle, and late styles. © Challenge Records
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 16 november 2018 | Challenge Classics

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The year 1808 was a period of superlative productivity for Beethoven: In the midst of all this, Beethoven somehow found the time and energy to compose two major piano trios. They were completed while Beethoven was living with Countess Marie Erdödy, to whom the trios were also dedicated. Some previous piano trios were rather lengthy affairs with pretentions to the symphonic repertoire, but the opening movement of Op. 70 No. 1 immediately lets the listener know that this time, things are different. The piece starts seemingly in medias res with a tempestuous figure in all three instruments at the same time. The second movement is the one that gave the trio its nickname ‘ghost’. Carl Czerny, Beethoven’s student, seems to have been the first to use this name. According to him, the movement ‘resembles an appearance from the underworld. One could think not inappropriately of the first appearance of the ghost in Hamlet’. Superficially, the sibling of the ‘Ghost’ may seem closer to Haydn and Mozart in style. For a long time, the Variations Op. 44 were known as ‘Variations on an Original Theme’, as the first publication did not name the theme. It has since been identified as a theme by Dittersdorf. The variations were presumably written in 1792 and published in 1804, when various other early works were being offered to publishers. © Challenge Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 3 november 2017 | Challenge Classics

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 juni 2018 | Challenge Classics

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Klassiek - Verschenen op 25 september 2014 | Challenge Classics

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Divers - Verschenen op 21 mei 2012 | Etcetera