Ronald Brautigam

Beethoven: Complete Works for Solo Piano, Vol. 14

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The complete cycle of Beethoven piano music by fortepianist Ronald Brautigam has been widely and rightly acclaimed: Brautigam has fused his Walter fortepiano copies (by American-Czech builder Paul McNulty) with an expressive style that seems to draw on the instrument's capabilities, not struggle against them. The whole series can be heartily recommended. This said, the contents of this 14th album in the series have generally been explored by serious lovers and students of Beethoven; they range from unusual in recital to downright obscure (which is hard to find when it comes to Beethoven). Most were never published. The largest pieces on the program are variation sets, two of which use the most familiar of British themes, God Save the King and Rule Britannia, as themes. Each of these works is underrated, both for what they show of Beethoven's attitude toward England and for their sheer technique; the more common 32 Variations on an Original Theme, WoO 80, was not recognized as his own by Beethoven when it was played for him later in life. The program is filled out by short pieces, mostly student works and bagatelle-like items that offer plenty to interest the Beethoven buff. If there's a hidden gem it's the pair of waltzes at the end, WoO 84 and WoO 85, both quite short but both representative of the composer's late style (both postdate the Symphony No. 9). Sample the Waltz in E flat major, WoO 84 (track 38), and note how its already wide space between the left and right hands is stretched into transcendence in the subdominant middle section. This is pure late Beethoven. Not the one to start with in Brautigam's series, but recommended either for those acquiring the whole thing or those interested in the truly deep levels of the Beethoven discography.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sechs Variationen in F major, Op. 34 über ein eigenes Thema
1 01:41 Amazon
2 01:32 Amazon
3 01:02 Amazon
4 01:13 Amazon
5 01:17 Amazon
6 01:54 Amazon
7 04:44 Amazon
Sieben Variationen in C major, WoO78 über "God save the King"
8 00:57 Amazon
9 00:43 Amazon
10 00:43 Amazon
11 00:47 Amazon
12 00:48 Amazon
13 01:11 Amazon
14 00:50 Amazon
15 01:54 Amazon
Fünf Variationen in D major, WoO79 über "Rule Britannia"
16 00:40 Amazon
17 00:35 Amazon
18 00:34 Amazon
19 00:33 Amazon
20 00:35 Amazon
21 01:22 Amazon
22 09:40 Amazon
Sechs Variationen in D major, Op. 76 "Die Ruinen von Athen"
23 00:39 Amazon
24 00:37 Amazon
25 00:35 Amazon
26 00:44 Amazon
27 00:43 Amazon
28 00:37 Amazon
29 01:59 Amazon
Zwei Präludien Durch Alle Dur-Tonarten for piano or organ, Op. 39
04:33 Amazon
02:13 Amazon
32 01:41 Amazon
33 02:24 Amazon
34 01:53 Amazon
35 01:29 Amazon
36 00:38 Amazon
37 03:20 Amazon
38 02:08 Amazon
39 01:10 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick