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Sonates : Una nuova inventione per Maria Barbara

Aline Zylberajch

Classical - Released October 13, 2005 | Ambronay

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Field : Nocturnes

Florent Albrecht

Solo Piano - Released September 17, 2021 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet
“Unprecedented” is the right word to sum up this album entirely devoted to John Field's Nocturnes. Unprecedented because it is the first recording by Florent Albrecht, an extra-terrestrial of the pianoforte, who trained late in life after a first career in the luxury goods industry. After graduating from the Conservatoire of Geneva in 2018 and laureate of the Royaumont Foundation the same year, the French pianist has already performed at the Paris Opera and the Juilliard School, among others. An unprecedented album, as it features the world premiere of Nocturne in B flat major, posthumous Op.142, a score exhumed from the shelves of the St Petersburg library by Florent Albrecht. For the occasion, Qobuz presents this original and enchanting album exclusively for five weeks.The nocturne, a form made popular by Chopin, emerged at a time in the history of music when technical improvements in keyboard instruments enabled them to rival the expressiveness of the human voice. We do not know if it is John Field's writing talent or Florent Albrecht's fluid and airy playing—it is probably a subtle mixture of the two—but we come away from listening being convinced that the piano is the sole instrument capable of expressing the emotions of the romantic soul. The musician opts for a phrasing that is both clear and supple, perfectly suited to his instrument (a Carlo Meglio from 1826), whose rounded and slightly trembling timbre, sometimes close to a cimbalom, acts like a soothing balm for the soul. A truly calming interlude. © Pierre Lamy/Qobuz
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Beethoven : Ein neuer Weg

Andreas Staier

Classical - Released March 13, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
What exactly is this “new path” (neuer Weg) that the infamous fortepianist Andreas Staier is inviting us on with this new album published as part of harmonia mundi’s vast Beethoven 2020-2027 project? All the works offered here were composed at the dawn of the 19th century by a young tempestuous composer who was conscious of his worth but also of his weakness as he began to feel the first effects of the deafness that would go on to take over his life. This recital is mind blowing from the first few beats of the thundering Sonata No. 16 in G major. With his crystalline, weightless fortepiano built by Mathias Müller around 1810, Staier seems to show us how much this frail instrument labours to show the full spectrum of the composer’s genius, boundary-breaking as it was at the time. The three sonatas and two series of variations that make up this programme were all published in 1802, at a time when Beethoven wanted to “start something new” at the turn of the century after the slew of revolutionary torment that had shaken Europe to its core. It was a new way of thinking for a composer who spoke with a more authoritative tone than his predecessors, in the “first person”. Andreas Staier is without a doubt one of the best possible performers to portray this new era of musical and artistic thinking that arose during a troubled time (the rise of Napoleon) when the clarity of language rivalised the closing off of individuality. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Beethoven : The Complete Piano Sonatas

Paul Badura-Skoda

Classical - Released February 16, 1990 | Arcana

Booklet
This is a major project, the fruit of an unusual collaboration between the editor Michel Bernstein and the Viennese performer, pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, who passed away in 2019. Completed in the 1980s, this complete collection of Beethoven’s sonatas played on period instruments was no longer available. It is therefore an even greater blessing to have it again in a publication which now represents a double homage: to Beethoven for the 250th anniversary of his birth, and to the memory of Badura-Skoda. Paul Badura-Skoda was an avid collector of period instruments, much like his longtime friend Jörg Demus. For this series of recordings, he chose seven pianofortes of the era, each one depending on the piece and the evolution of the making of the instrument. Badura-Skoda only ever played on period instruments and not on copies, risking all the mechanical faults that this entails. Playing on old instruments became something of an obsession for the pianist who started his career at the end of the war playing on modern instruments (that he loved just as much) under the direction of the great conductors of his youth like Wilhelm Furtwängler or Herbert von Karajan. To this day, he remains the only pianist to have recorded all the sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on both period and modern instruments. His comprehensive knowledge of the instruments allowed him to understand the intentions of the composers and correct any editor’s mistake accumulated over the centuries. Furthermore, his historic knowledge married with his reliable Viennese style makes his discographic legacy even more precious. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Mozart: Grand Concerts pour Le Forte-Piano

Paul Badura-Skoda

Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Arcana

Booklet
Veteran pianist Paul Badura-Skoda was ahead of the curve among mainstream artists in adopting historical instruments, and by the time of the 2006 recording of this pair of Mozart concertos he had developed an entirely distinctive approach. Badura-Skoda plays a copy of a Viennese Walter fortepiano by Americo-Czech builder Paul McNulty; it doesn't sound like a modern grand piano, but it comes closer than most other early pianos, with smooth action nicely set off against a sharply contrasting tone when the pedal is applied. The instrument's varied powers are applied to a group of Mozart interpretations that emphasize the composer's reputation as a virtuoso. Badura-Skoda favors sharply differentiated surfaces, with both the overall mood and the local shadings quite dramatically filled out. He pushes the tempo, he goes tearing across the keyboard, he imbues the slow movements with heavy emotion. That of the Piano Concerto No. 12 in E flat major, K. 414, is theorized by the pianist in his booklet notes to be an homage to Johann Christian Bach, recently deceased at the time, and indeed the performance is a convincing realization of this idea. The outer movements of both concerts are lively and even a bit hyper; buyers should sample broadly, for this is the kind of performance you'll either love or hate. The opening Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, K. 271, generally played with a relaxed, expansive style, becomes something entirely different here, something that would have seemed brilliant but careening and unsettling to a listener of Mozart's day. The French title reproduced on the cover ("avec l'accompagnement des deux Violons, Alto et Basse...") suggests that Badura-Skoda is accompanied by only one instrument per part; in fact the Czech historical-instrument ensemble Musica Florea has 19 members performing here. The balance and coordination with Badura-Skoda at the keyboard are expertly handled. Notes are in French, German, English, and Italian, but curiously the English notes are different from the others, eschewing much of the analytical material but adding historical details pertaining to how the Piano Concerto No. 9 acquired the erroneous nickname of "Jeunehomme." Perhaps the intent was to reward speakers of multiple languages with additional information!© TiVo
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Haydn - Mozart

Jérôme Hantaï

Classical - Released May 17, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Chopin : Concertos for Pianoforte & String Quintet

David Lively

Keyboard Concertos - Released April 12, 2019 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Chopin’s Piano Concertos are works of a twenty-year old composer and ambitious soloist. Powerful and challenging, their romantic dimension also carries sensitive effusions. This duality is highlighted here by an interpretation on period instruments in a chamber version. Choices that are as many clues to recognize the musicians from the Cambini-Paris Quartet and their accomplices: Pianist David Lively and Double bassist Thomas de Pierrefeu. Direct heir to Chopin’s piano teaching legacy, David Lively chose a vintage Érard piano to record both Concertos. Accompanied by a string quintet, he revives the tradition of the genre: before being performed in big concert halls, composers and pianists like Chopin played their latest scores in music lovers’ salons. The broad ambitus covered by the strings and the richness of the sound of the pianoforte respect the symphonic dimension of those two pieces. A musical quest for fidelity and authenticity to music and musicians, and a gift for the listeners! © Aparté
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Hummel : Complete Piano Sonatas

Costantino Mastroprimiano

Solo Piano - Released July 27, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
The complete sets issued by the budget Dutch label Brilliant often don't satisfy, delivering mere bulk in place of intelligent, illuminating programming. An exception is this set of Hummel piano sonatas by Italian fortepianist Costantino Mastroprimiano, even if it's not the complete set that's promised (there are at least three more works that were unpublished during the composer's lifetime but generally accepted as genuine). One might also complain that there was room on the CDs to do the sonatas in order, and that sequencing might have fit better with Mastroprimiano's aims. All this said, hearing a lot of Hummel at once illuminates why he was well-regarded as a composer in his time, even by the notoriously praise-stingy Beethoven. Better still, other major Hummel releases have been mostly on a modern grand, but Mastroprimiano uses a pair of fortepianos, a 1790s Walter instrument, and an 1830s Erard. The cumulative effect is to give the listener an idea of the range of ways in which Hummel influenced the incipient Romantic movement. He influenced Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Schubert in various ways, and here you get the serious slow movements, the expanded sparkling Mozartianism, the exploration of figuration, and the vastness of musical space, respectively. The strongest work is the truly proto-Romantic Piano Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 106, and you can sample that on the third CD. But each of the sonatas has something to contribute to the overall picture. Mastroprimiano is a talented pianist in this repertory, giving each sonata its particular sound and shade, and the set is heartily recommended to lovers of the pre-Romantic period. © TiVo
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Dussek : Complete Piano Sonatas, Op. 44 & Op. 77

Alexei Lubimov

Solo Piano - Released June 29, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
If you had to name the bridge between Beethoven and Schubert, it would have to be Dusek. Sadly, his lack of a local following – Beethoven, Mozart, Hayden, Schubert and Brahms all had adopted home towns to root for them, after all – has made him less of an obvious choice. Born in Lithuania, he went to live in St Petersburg, where he dodged deportation to Siberia by moving to Paris, where he dodged a revolutionary tribunal by fleeing to London, which he had to leave in a hurry in order to escape prison, winding up in Hamburg... And eventually he would find himself in Prague, and, finally, Paris, where he died at the age of just 52. For this third volume of his complete sonatas, Alexei Lubimov – playing a 1799 Longman-Clementi fortepiano – has chosen two monuments of his mature period: the 18th Sonata "L'Adieu" of 1800 and the staggering 28th Sonata "The Invocation" from 1812. These works reveal a Dussek who is anchored as much in the past – with Bach's polyphonic rigour and an elegance of writing taken from Mozart and Hayden – as he is in the present, with the power of Beethoven; and indeed the future with impressive turns of harmonic and pianistic daring. His years spent with London's Broadwood piano-makers, with whom he would work on many innovations, were clearly not in vain. Alexei Lubimov studied with Heinrich Neuhaus – the great Russian piano teacher – and at the start of his career specialised in the hyper-avant-garde of Boulez, Cage and Stockhausen, before turning towards period instruments, which he was the first to bring to the very conservative Moscow Conservatory. From the 1980s he was able to excite the interest of the whole Soviet musical world in the fortepiano, before developing a global career. © SM/Qobuz
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Dussek : Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2

Piet Kuijken

Solo Piano - Released April 27, 2018 | Brilliant Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Mozart : Piano Sonatas

Maxim Emelyanychev

Solo Piano - Released February 2, 2018 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Like Stein’s fortepianos, the copy of a Walter and sons (a Viennese fortepiano once owned by Mozart) played here by Maxim Emelyanychev is equipped with a knee lever, the ancestor of the damper pedal. No doubt Mozart was inspired by the timbres, the dynamic and harmonic possibilities of this new instrument: the Fantasia in C minor that starts off this album highlights this orchestral − almost operatic − range, and in its profusion of themes, it express the most prominent contrasts, reaching great expressive density. The same accents can be found in Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457, while the Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545 offers a dramatic respite. This “small sonata for beginners” was composed in 1788, preceding the “Jupiter” Symphony, also in C major: a beautiful gem, coming just before his monumental work. Its innocent melody revives childhood memories of the first piano lessons. Finally, the Piano Sonata No. 18 in D major, K. 576 was created as the first part in a cycle: “Six easy piano sonatas for Princess Friederike”. Composed in 1789, and in fact considered to be of great difficulty, it was Mozart’s last sonata. Anton Walter, the piano maker, started making a name for himself in Vienna in 1778. Like most inventors, he never stopped experimenting: while other workshops produced pianos at scale, Walter kept looking for “his ideal”; each instrument differed from the previous one in numerous details and ever-bolder additions. In total, he built around seven hundred instruments; here, Emelyanychev plays on a copy made by Paul McNulty, a great specialist of fortepianos and ancient pianos, with experience in manufacturing close to two hundred copies of instruments from Stein, Walter, Hofman, Graf and Pleyel. © SM/Qobuz
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Discovering the piano (Handel, Scarlatti, Soler, Platti...)

Antonio Soler

Classical - Released October 1, 2016 | Passacaille

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Mozart : Piano Concertos, K.413, 414, 415

Kristian Bezuidenhout

Keyboard Concertos - Released August 26, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Mozart : Piano Concertos Nos 22 (K482) & 24 (K491)

Arthur Schoonderwoerd

Classical - Released March 4, 2016 | Accent

Booklet
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Mozart : Keyboard Music Vols. 8 & 9

Kristian Bezuidenhout

Classical - Released January 8, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Cimarosa : Complete 88 Keyboard Sonatas

David Boldrini

Solo Piano - Released July 1, 2015 | Brilliant Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 6 (K238) & 8 (K246)

Arthur Schoonderwoerd

Classical - Released February 10, 2015 | Accent

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Mozart : Keyboard Music, Vol. 7

Kristian Bezuidenhout

Classical - Released January 18, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Sonates pour piano (Intégrale, volume 2)

Costantino Mastroprimiano

Classical - Released June 10, 2008 | Brilliant Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
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Mozart : Piano Concertos Nos 18 (K456) & 19 (K459)

Arthur Schoonderwoerd

Classical - Released January 25, 2013 | Accent

Booklet