CD (12 items)
✓ in stock
06 April 2018
A stunning 12-CD box set, Beethoven Unbound, will be released to mark the completion of Llŷr Williams’ monumental Beethoven cycle at Wigmore Hall and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) – recorded live at Wigmore Hall over three years and nine recitals.
As well as the complete piano sonatas, the box set also features other works including the 32 Variations in C minor, Eroica Variations, Opus 126 Bagatelles and the Diabelli Variations, a total of almost 14 hours of music. This is Williams’ fourth album on Signum Classics. Beethoven Unbound is presented in a beautiful hinged box with extensive notes by Misha Donat, and personal notes by Williams and the album’s award-winning producer Judith Sherman, with whom Williams worked previously on his Wagner Without Words release.
Williams comments on the box set and the partnership with Sherman: “Rather than adopt the chronological approach, I have arranged the works roughly in the order that I played them in the concerts, and each CD has been devised as a mini-recital programme. This has sometimes allowed for creativity in putting the pieces together. Working with Judy on this project has been a joy and a privilege. It was sad to reach the end – but at least we still have a Schubert cycle to look forward to!”
Williams has developed a reputation as one of the finest exponents of Beethoven, since giving his first Beethoven cycle in Perth in 2010, and winning a South Bank Sky Arts Award in 2012 for an epic two-week marathon in Edinburgh. The Guardian said of one of his RWCMD cycle recitals in 2016: “Williams’ already considerable stature as a Beethoven interpreter seems to grow with every performance” (Rian Evans, 25 March 2016) and The Independent commented on a Wigmore recital: “Williams treats it [the keyboard] as an extension of his body, and with the three Opus 10 sonatas plus the Diabelli Variations he took us onto an altogether higher plane” (Michael Church, 12 October 2016). 2017 saw the conclusion not only of the solo series at Wigmore Hall and the RWCMD, but also of a complete concerto cycle with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams is widely admired for his profound musical intelligence and the expressive and communicative nature of his interpretations. He has worked with orchestras including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru, I Pomeriggi Musicali, Meininger Hofkapelle, Berner Kammerorchester, and the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg. A regular performer in the Wigmore Hall’s main piano series, Williams has also appeared at the BBC Proms in London, Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in the USA, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse and the Edinburgh International Festival. He is a regular performer at the East Neuk Festival in Scotland and is currently Artist-in-Association at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Artist-in-Residence at the Cowbridge Festival in Wales.
Williams is an acclaimed performer of Beethoven with several complete piano sonata cycles under his belt. Following a successful first cycle in Perth, Williams subsequently performed a complete cycle during an epic two-week marathon in Edinburgh that won him the prestigious South Bank Show Award. He later completed two cycles as a nine-recital project at the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff between 2014 and 2017. In January 2017 he completed a successful collaboration with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in performances of all five Beethoven piano concerti.
The 2018-19 season included his debut with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and returns to the Royal Philharmonic and BBC National Orchestra of Wales as well as a highly successful Canadian recital debut at Salle Bourgie in Montreal, with the critic of Le Devoir describing Williams as ‘un secret trop bien gardé’. The 2019-20 season sees Llŷr Williams continuing his collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, as well as his debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne. Williams also returns to the Edinburgh Festival in August 2019, while for the Beethoven anniversary season he will offer a complete sonata cycle at the Festival Cultural de Mayo in Guadalajara, Mexico and partial cycles in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Llŷr Williams’ eclectic taste is reflected in his discography. April 2018 saw the release of ‘Beethoven Unbound’, a 12-CD Box set of the Wigmore Hall Beethoven cycle, on Signum Records, which was BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Recording of the Month’ in August 2018. His previous critically acclaimed CD, Wagner Without Words (Signum, August 2014) reflects Williams’ intimate relationship with operatic music. Other recordings by Williams include two solo albums for Signum, as well as William Mathias’ second Piano Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on Welsh label Tŷ Cerdd.
Born in Pentrebychan, North Wales, Llŷr Williams read music at The Queen’s College, Oxford and went on to take up a postgraduate scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music where he won every available prize and award. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and in 2017 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Wales. He was an active member of the Live Music Now! scheme for several years, was selected for the Young Concert Artists Trust in 2002. From 2003-2005 he was a BBC New Generation Artist and in 2004 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust award.