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beethoven complete piano works

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Showing 1-19 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 14, 2012 9:15:53 PM PST

how many pianists have done all the solo piano works(not just all 32 sonatas as everybody seems to do)i only know of burchbinder, but there must be others but most sets are of only sonatas.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 10:24:36 PM PST
Brautigam has either completed them or is getting darned close on Bis - same for Lewis on Harmonia Mundi. I don't have either of them, but Brautigam has always impressed me. I think Barenboim has done them all too. I like Beethoven a lot, but I really haven't ever been taken in hook, line, and sinker for the solo piano works.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 10:30:14 PM PST
how complete were brendel's first recordings with Vox?

Alfred Brendel: The Complete Vox, Turnabout and Vanguard Solo Recordings [Box Set]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 10:31:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 10:41:16 PM PST
KenOC says:
There are quite a few "minor" piano works, especially from Beethoven's youth. These include WoO 47 through WoO 86. There are also some in the Anhang and Hess numbers. A few are well-known, but not all are found even in "complete" editions, and I know of no pianist who has recorded them all. Some may not be recorded at all!

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 10:35:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 10:37:43 PM PST
for what it is worth, here is from a user review of that brendel vox box.
""" Highlights include Brendel's first complete traversal of Beethoven's solo piano music (the 32 Sonatas, Variations, Bagatelles, etc.), as well as the five piano concertos; """
it implies that whoever wrote that review believes it was 'complete'.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 10:57:29 PM PST
KenOC says:
Well, pJ, my Brilliant "complete" box doesn't have everything for solo piano that Wiki lists:

So Ludwig idly jots down an idea or two on a piece of paper in piano notation. He shortly uses that same piece of paper for quite another purpose, but it doesn't flush completely. It is rescued by a copro-musicologist (a messy but valuable profession) and appears, proudly, in the Wiki list. Should it be included in a box of his "complete works"? ;-)

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 11:30:24 PM PST
<<Should it be included in a box of his "complete works"? ;-) >>>
this has always been a pet peeve of mine.
What counts as 'complete' to one person isn't 'complete' to another.

The label is suspect.
Vox had 'complete' recordings of the solo piano works of both bartok and Prokofiev.
by Sandor, as great as these are(and badly recorded) neither include the transcriptions that the composers did of their own music....I think the piano suite from 'cinderella' or bartok's version for the piano of 'the dance suite' should be part of a 'complete' survey.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 6:05:55 AM PST
scarecrow says:
As with other areas of discussion I've never been a "Complete-This-or-That-Just-for Chat" Sets Kinda Guy. . .It's more interesting to pick n' choose,although Alfred Brendel did speak about the Beethoven complete in one of his Interview Books, they are all interesting, I think they are all collected now. . .Get it!

I like Artur Rubenstein and or Glenn Gould for the early and middle period Sonatas, then Maurizio Pollini brings different things to the latter Sonatas; and or Sviatoslav Richter, and M.Uschida, or Vladimir Ashkenazy;I still like Danny Barenboim, who did all of the Sonatas live in New York City. This was in the Eighties, four-five nights. . .
Theodor Adorno use to know one of the latter Sonatas, the last one, or next to last. . .that he played for friends. . .

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 9:57:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012 10:03:20 AM PST
Ken, many thanks for the term "copro-musicologist (a messy but valuable profession)"!

Your comment about Ludwig's random jottings reminds me of Barry Cooper's very detailed descriptions of Beethoven's early works in general and his early WoO piano works in particular. I had no idea there were so many WoO works. I'm about a third of the way though Prof Cooper's biography of LvB. I read it for hours on end during our flights between Providence and San Francisco this week (we spent a few days in north Oakland visiting family). I agree with the jacket note that this is a great bio for a "determined" reader. I wish I knew more about the evolution of the sonata-allegro form. Actually, I probably will know more once I finish Prof Cooper's book.

We walked around north Oakland (just south of the UCA/Berkeley campus). It's an interesting, urban (and urbane) area. Except that North Oakland/Berkeley CA people don't seem all that eager to curb their dogs. They seem to have a LOT of dogs. You really have to watch where you walk. That was true in Paris, too---except that in Paris the city washes all the sidewalks and all the streets each and every night.

Thread duty: Perhaps these "complete" recordings sets mean to specify the complete recordings made by the pianist. I can't believe that all those ideas Ludwig had in his 20s--and jotted down---have made their way to recordings. Or that we would want to hear them. Or that he wanted us to.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 10:20:24 AM PST
Edgar Self says:
Angelo -- I can't answer the question either. But when Beethoven's works without opus come up, the first ones I think of are the 32 Variations in C minor for piano, and the three quartets for piano and strings that he wrote at about age 15.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 10:33:46 AM PST
KenOC says:
Probably the best known out in the wider world is WoO 59, "Für Elise."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 2:38:38 PM PST
Roeselare says:,_by_opus_number

scroll down to see the listing of WoOs

WoO is an abbreviation of "Werke ohne Opuszahl", German for "Works without Opus number".

and below that, the numbers that were assigned by Willy Hess. Many of the works in the Hess catalog also have WoO numbers

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 4:33:11 PM PST
scarecrow says:
aside from Brendel's various books, and interviews,
there are excellent books on performing Beethoven, as William S.Newman, William Mitchell, Charles Rosen, Donald Francis Tovey,Alan Tyson,
Gunther Schuller, Norman Del Mar. . . .and
Robert Simpson on the Symphonies. . .
Artur Schnabel edited a Beethoven Set, so there are written notes,opinions, in it, if you can find it. . .

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 6:02:11 PM PST
Roeselare says:
the best book on Beethoven I've found is;

A Companion to Beethoven's Pianoforte Sonatas: Analysis (Signature Series (ABRSM))

but remember, I'm weird and I care about such in-depth descriptions. If this book doesn't whet your appetite for more analysis of more catalogs of life works I don't know.. Tovey had such concentration(s) to share, wow..

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 8:36:15 PM PST
KenOC says:
Something to listen to in the car! Adras Schiff's in-depth discussions of the Beethoven sonatas (all of them) delivered from the keyboard, with examples. Lots and lots of good and surprising information here, all free MP3s.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 10:26:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012 10:34:38 PM PST
Scarecrow mentions Schnabel's edition of the scores of the Beethoven piano sonatas (originally published by Simon and Schuster in 1935).

That S&S edition is out of print, but there are reprintings by other publishers, including one by Alfred that I've never seen. If you go to amazon "books" and search for "Beethoven Sonatas Schnabel" you'll see what's available.

Schnabel wrote extensive notes for the sonatas, and, as Harold Schonberg points out, as you get into the later sonatas, Schnabel's notes get more and more extensive. He discusses fingering, phrasing, and much else. Some of his notes are so extensive that they take up a third of the page.

I have the S&S edition because it came with the short-lived RCA LP edition of Schnabel's recordings of the sonatas---13 LPs and the two S&S volumes of the Schnabel edition of the scores, all boxed in the largest and heaviest LP box set I have ever seen, and released in 1955. (A dear friend gave me her set many years after it was released.) In 1956, RCA and EMI ended their recordings-exchange agreement, and RCA deleted all its LPs derived from EMI masters including this Schnabel box. (In the UK, at the same time EMI deleted all its LPs derived from RCA masters).

Here are the original two S&S volumes of the Schnabel edition:

Volume 1: 32 Sonatas for the Pianoforte [Sheet Music for Sonatas 1 - 17] (Volume One)

Volume 2: 32 Sonatas for the Pianoforte [Sheet Music for Sonatas 18 - 32]

These are not the only listings of the S&S edition, so look for lower-priced used copies if this interests you.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 10:45:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012 11:02:25 PM PST
KenOC says:
For listeners, be sure to download (free) Andras Schiff's series of lectures on Beethoven's piano sonatas. These are great whether you're just getting into the sonatas or know them well.

Schiff gives one lecture each for each of the 32 sonatas (two for the Hammerklavier!) They are full of examples played at the keyboard, illustrating how each sonata is built, the often-hidden relations to other sonatas, and so forth. Each of the 33 lectures is 40-45 minutes long!

Suggest you get these before the Guardian pulls them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 2:44:05 AM PST
MacDoom says:
The most complete Beethoven piano survey that I know of is in the giant Beethoven Edition by Deutsche Grammophon. Volumes 5 (sonatas) and 6 (other pieces including organ works and piano 4-hands) comprise all that I've seen listed anywhere else, ever, and more. Well, it did when I last looked. Maybe some copro-musicologist found another sheet of bronco with three brown notes on it?


It's not by one pianist. In fact, it's a bit of a mish-mash by a whole horde. I did get volume 6, and am quite pleased with it in general, though I felt the need for several additional discs where performances where not what I wanted them to be.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 7:38:46 AM PST
Roeselare says:
when I first heard these presentations I was so impressed with Schiff's spontaneous playing that I started downloading his videos off YouTube.



He also does a 6 part 'survey' of Chopin's works (YouTube video).
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  19
Initial post:  Nov 14, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 16, 2012

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