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Beethoven

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, New Biography by Jan Swafford

51mBQbHwtGLI’d not come across a good, thorough biography of Beethoven (at least not currently in print). It’s good to see this huge (1,100 page) book just out by Jan Swafford, whose biography of Charles Ives I found very interesting. I’ve ordered it, and I’m looking forward to dipping into it to learn more about Beethoven and his times; a fascinating man, in a pivotal period for music.

Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon UK.

DVD Review: Barenboim on Beethoven

Buy from Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon FR

Daniel Barenboim owns Beethoven! Watching this set of DVDs and listening to his magnificent performances shows why Barenboim is clearly the pre-eminent performer of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. While many will disagree – after all, there are countless recordings by dozens of performers – what comes through after seeing these recitals is the deep familiarity that Barenboim has with the music. Playing these sonatas for some fifty years, they have become a part of him.

This set contains a series of eight recitals that Barenboim performed in Berlin in 2005, together comprising all 32 of the sonatas. Each recital lasts about an hour and a quarter or an hour and a half, and contains four sonatas, early, middle and late. The programs themselves work well, but any selection of sonatas played by Barenboim would be fine. The camera work is among the best I’ve seen for this type of performance; there are enough different camera angles to keep it from being repetitive, and the intensity of watching Barenboim perform is enough to trump the limits of filming. The sound is in PCM stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1; the surround mix is excellent.

Daniel Barenboim’s Beethoven for All: the Symphonies

Decca has released the first in a series of collections of Beethoven’s major works by Daniel Barenboim. With three groups of works planned between now and the end of the year – the symphonies, the 32 piano sonatas, and the 5 piano concertos – this is a major project to provide new recordings of the […]