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Brahms - Piano Music, Vol. 4

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Catalogue numberBIS-2137 SACD
Release date2017-01-10
Discs1
Orig. sample rate96000 Hz
Total time82:08

The theme of Paganini’s 24th Caprice for solo violin has tempted a number of composers to elaborate on it – from Liszt to Lutosławski and Andrew Lloyd Webber. In 1863, Johannes Brahms was one of the first to take on the challenge, with his virtuosic Paganini Variations. Playing the set has famously been described as requiring ‘fingers of steel, a heart of burning lava and the courage of a lion’ and possibly the demands that they place on the performer is the main reason why Brahms organized his 28 variations into two books of 14 each. For the fourth instalment in his series of Brahms’s piano music, Jonathan Plowright has chosen to place the two books at either end of the programme.
Between them we are presented with works spanning almost 40 years of Brahms’s life. Of the four Ballades from 1854, it is only for the first, the so-called ‘Edward’ Ballade, that a model in literature is known – a Scottish ballad about the murder of a father. The set has nevertheless been compared to the slow movements in Brahms’s three piano sonatas, composed around the same time, and all with literary references.
25 years later, Brahms had entered a phase where his works for piano were growing ever shorter and more concise, but with his Op. 79 Rhapsodies he made something of a return to the grandeur and passion of his early piano writing. This development was short-lived, however, and the following works for solo piano, of which the four piano pieces of Op. 119 from 1893 would be the last, have been compared to ‘the golden lustre of parks in autumn and the austere black and white of winter walks’. Previous discs in Jonathan Plowright’s survey have received critical acclaim worldwide, and the series has already been dubbed ‘the benchmark Brahms survey for some time to come’ in Gramophone.

 
  • STUDIO QUALITY
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  • CD QUALITY | MP3
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$ 19.63
 
Extra material for download
 
  Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35 Book 1 14:24
01 Thema 00:31 $ 0.12 USD
02 Variation I 00:28 $ 0.11 USD
03 Variation II 00:31 $ 0.12 USD
04 Variation III 00:34 $ 0.14 USD
05 Variation IV 01:20 $ 0.32 USD
06 Variation V 00:48 $ 0.19 USD
07 Variation VI 00:31 $ 0.12 USD
08 Variation VII 00:27 $ 0.11 USD
09 Variation VIII 00:27 $ 0.11 USD
10 Variation IX 01:27 $ 0.35 USD
11 Variation X 01:19 $ 0.32 USD
12 Variation XI 01:30 $ 0.36 USD
13 Variation XII 01:34 $ 0.38 USD
14 Variation XIII 00:34 $ 0.14 USD
15 Variation XIV 02:23 $ 0.57 USD
 
  Ballades, Op.10 24:58
16 I. Andante - Poco più moto - Allegro (ma non troppo) -
Tempo I
04:53 $ 1.17 USD
17 II. Andante - Allegro non troppo - Tempo I 06:22 $ 1.53 USD
18 III. Intermezzo 04:04 $ 0.98 USD
19 IV. Andante con moto - Più lento - Tempo I - Adagio 09:39 $ 2.32 USD
 
  Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79 14:44
20 I. Agitato 08:43 $ 2.09 USD
21 II. Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro 06:01 $ 1.44 USD
 
  Piano Pieces, Op. 119 16:11
22 I. Intermezzo. Adagio 04:28 $ 1.07 USD
23 II. Intermezzo. Andantino un poco agitato - Andante grazioso
- Tempo primo
04:58 $ 1.19 USD
24 III. Intermezzo. Grazioso e giocoso 01:20 $ 0.32 USD
25 IV. Rhapsody. Allegro risoluto 05:25 $ 1.30 USD
 
  Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35, Book 2 11:31
26 Thema 00:29 $ 0.12 USD
27 Variation I 00:51 $ 0.20 USD
28 Variation II 00:34 $ 0.14 USD
29 Variation III 00:39 $ 0.16 USD
30 Variation IV 00:37 $ 0.15 USD
31 Variation V 00:29 $ 0.12 USD
32 Variation VI 00:25 $ 0.10 USD
33 Variation VII 00:23 $ 0.09 USD
34 Variation VIII 00:40 $ 0.16 USD
35 Variation IX 00:46 $ 0.18 USD
36 Variation X 00:47 $ 0.19 USD
37 Variation XI 00:34 $ 0.14 USD
38 Variation XII 01:14 $ 0.30 USD
39 Variation XIII 01:04 $ 0.26 USD
40 Variation XIV 01:59 $ 0.48 USD
 
  Album total 82:08
PianoPlowright, Jonathan

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