Friedrich Gulda

Friedrich Gulda plays Beethoven

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Friedrich Gulda recorded the complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven three times, first in 1954 for Austrian Radio (which is released in this mono set by Orfeo), then for a second time between 1954 and 1958 for Decca, and last in 1967 for Amadeo; the third was subsequently reissued by Brilliant. The extraordinary achievement of recording these sets in such rapid succession inspires awe and invites comparisons, which Gulda would not have minded, for he was aware that different recordings offer various insights and appeal to listeners for many valid reasons. Before this set came to light, listeners only knew the Decca and Amadeo recordings, so having this early cycle provides yet another view of this extraordinary pianist's thinking about Beethoven. The 32 Piano Sonatas are central to Beethoven's development, and in them one can find his Classical roots and the growth of his Romantic outlook, so the music accommodates many divergent interpretations, from controlled and intellectually rigorous to wreckless and emotionally explosive. Gulda's Beethoven belongs in the former category, for his playing is always transparent and his expression stays well within acceptable Classical bounds. This is not to say that Gulda isn't impassioned where appropriate, but his concern for accuracy trumps other considerations, and clarity is uppermost in his approach. The box set also includes Gulda's 1957 recordings of the Eroica Variations, Op. 35; the Diabelli Variations, Op. 120; and the Six Bagatelles, Op. 126, so Beethoven's core works for piano are brought together in this nine-CD collection.

Track Listing - Disc 9

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
15 Variationen Es-Dur mit einer Fuge über ein eigenes Thema op. 35 "Eroica-Variationen"
1 3:15
2 0:32
3 0:48
4 0:37
5 0:36
6 0:37
7 0:34
8 0:37
9 0:44
10 0:35
11 0:33
12 0:36
13 0:36
14 0:35
15 1:22
16 4:19
17 2:03
18 2:47
33 Veränderungen über einen Walzer op. 120 "Diabelli-Variationen"
19 0:43
20 1:33
21 1:22
22 1:25
23 1:01
24 0:45
25 1:27
26 0:51
27 1:30
28 1:50
29 0:32
30 1:00
31 0:53
32 0:43
33 3:25
34 0:35
35 0:50
36 0:53
37 1:21
38 0:56
39 1:48
40 1:09
41 0:37
42 0:49
43 1:59
44 0:41
45 1:12
46 1:02
47 0:58
48 1:02
49 2:03
50 3:59
51 2:41
52 3:05
blue highlight denotes track pick