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Keyboard Concertos - Released September 2, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Solo Piano - Released February 3, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released January 8, 2005 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released November 6, 2012 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Keyboard Concertos - Released April 1, 2016 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released April 1, 2014 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released August 1, 2003 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 6, 2015 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Keyboard Concertos - Released November 6, 2015 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 1993 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 4, 2019 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
Mendelssohn's piano concertos are not the standard repertory works they were in the 19th century, when they seemed to display the capabilities of the new instrument in an accessible way. But there are various recordings, with both historical and modern pianos and orchestral instruments. This one comes from veteran Dutch fortepianist Ronald Brautigam, who has recorded Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words nicely in the past. Here he takes on a variety of the composer's concerted works, and that's one strong point: the Rondo Brillant in E flat major for piano and orchesra, Op. 29, Capriccio Brillant in B minor, Op. 22, and Serenade and Allegro Giojoso, Op. 43, are not commonly played, and Brautigam's piano, a replica of a Pleyel instrument of 1830 by Americo-Czech builder Paul McNulty, gives a real feel for what Mendelssohn's audiences heard and why he was so popular: the works are brilliant, melodic, and natural under his fingers. In the concertos, Brautigam is strongest in the slow movements, which are close to the melodic idiom of the Songs Without Words; in the outer movements, the fortepiano doesn't quite stand up to the vibrato-free strings of Die Kölner Akademie under Michael Alexander Willens, and you might wish for a more powerful instrument. Your mileage may vary, however, and most will find this a worthwhile addition to the Mendelssohn discography.
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Classical - Released June 3, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released August 1, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released October 29, 2013 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released May 1, 2003 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released October 1, 1999 | BIS

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Classical - Released December 31, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released July 5, 2011 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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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Classical - Released December 31, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released June 1, 1999 | BIS

Booklet