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The Unreleased Beethoven Recital 1959

Claudio Arrau

The Unreleased Beethoven Recital 1959

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: The Lost Recordings
UPC: 0190759820322
Catnr: TLR 2103039
Release date: 23 September 2021
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Label
The Lost Recordings
UPC
0190759820322
Catalogue number
TLR 2103039
Release date
23 September 2021

"Claudio Arrau is considered by many to be one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century"

Pianist, 01-11-2021
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Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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About the album

The Lost Recordings has rediscovered the master tapes of this double recital in the archives of Berlin Radio. The label thus offers, as a world premiere, this Beethoven recital by the great Claudio Arrau, recorded on March 12, 1959 at the Hochschule für Muzik in Berlin, totally unpublished, delivering a breathtaking reading of the Farewells, the Appassionata and the Sonata Op. 110. An exceptional document. When Claudio Arrau took the stage of the prestigious Hochschule für Musik in Berlin on 12 March 1959, he was, at 56, an artist at the very peak of his fame and the pinnacle of his pianistic and intellectual powers. Rarely in pieces other than these solo works for piano, where sentimental confession, mystical revery and the constant concern for form are inextricably entwined, did Beethoven so clearly create a dramatic sound setting to depict common mortals grappling with their confused feelings, doubts and existential contemplation.

His creative genius transcended the contingencies and boundaries of a random condition to attain sublime, monumental heights. Arrau’s recital, imbued with grace, exhibited the perfectly mastered phrasing and weighty sound – driven by an implacable force – that conveys to our innermost selves the metaphysical dimension of these poetic, musical and transparently sincere meditations. Its three movements bear unequivocal names: Das Lebewohl (Farewell), Adagio – Allegro in D flat major; Abwesenheit (The Absence), Andante espressivo in C minor; Das Wiedersehen (The Return), Vivacissimamente in E Flat major. It refers directly to the brief exile of Archduke Rudolph of Austria in 1809, when he had to flee after the Battle of Wagram. It gives a close rendition of Beethoven’s changing moods in reaction to the situation of his student and patron, from his despondency when the leader departed to the joy of their reunion. Arrau delves into the emotional intricacies of the work like a sound designer, clearly accentuating the development and variations to give a narrative dimension to the composition. The slow movement is masterful in its profundity, ineffably melancholic in the variations of shade and subdued lighting. Without any superfluous sentiment, Arrau looks into the depths of the forsaken human soul. He achieves a restrained approach that still overwhelms us with emotion.
The Lost Recordings hat die Masterbänder dieses Doppelkonzerts in den Archiven des Berliner Rundfunks wiederentdeckt. Das Label bietet damit als Weltpremiere dieses Beethoven-Recital des großen Claudio Arrau, aufgenommen am 12. März 1959 in der Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, völlig unveröffentlicht, mit einer atemberaubenden Lesart der Abschiede, der Appassionata und der Sonate op. 110. Ein außergewöhnliches Dokument. Als Claudio Arrau am 12. März 1959 die Bühne der renommierten Hochschule für Musik in Berlin betrat, war er mit 56 Jahren ein Künstler auf dem Höhepunkt seines Ruhmes und dem Höhepunkt seiner pianistischen und intellektuellen Fähigkeiten. Selten hat Beethoven in anderen Stücken als diesen Solowerken für Klavier, in denen sentimentales Bekenntnis, mystisches Schwelgen und die ständige Sorge um die Form untrennbar miteinander verwoben sind, so deutlich eine dramatische Klangkulisse geschaffen, um gewöhnliche Sterbliche darzustellen, die sich mit ihren verwirrten Gefühlen, Zweifeln und existenziellen Betrachtungen auseinandersetzen.

Sein schöpferisches Genie transzendierte die Zufälligkeiten und Grenzen eines zufälligen Zustands, um erhabene, monumentale Höhen zu erreichen. Arraus Rezital, durchdrungen von Anmut, zeigte die perfekt beherrschte Phrasierung und den gewichtigen Klang - angetrieben von einer unerbittlichen Kraft -, die unserem Innersten die metaphysische Dimension dieser poetischen, musikalischen und transparent aufrichtigen Meditationen vermittelt. Die drei Sätze tragen eindeutige Namen: Das Lebewohl, Adagio - Allegro in Des-Dur; Die Abwesenheit, Andante espressivo in c-Moll; Das Wiedersehen, Vivacissimamente in Es-Dur. Es bezieht sich direkt auf das kurze Exil von Erzherzog Rudolph von Österreich im Jahr 1809, als er nach der Schlacht von Wagram fliehen musste. Es gibt Beethovens wechselnde Stimmungen als Reaktion auf die Situation seines Schülers und Gönners genau wieder, von seiner Niedergeschlagenheit bei der Abreise bis zur Freude über das Wiedersehen. Arrau taucht in die emotionalen Feinheiten des Werks ein wie ein Sounddesigner, akzentuiert deutlich die Durchführung und die Variationen, um der Komposition eine erzählerische Dimension zu geben. Der langsame Satz ist meisterhaft in seiner Tiefgründigkeit, unaussprechlich melancholisch in den Variationen der Schattierungen und der gedämpften Beleuchtung. Ohne jedes überflüssige Sentiment blickt Arrau in die Tiefen der verlassenen menschlichen Seele. Er erreicht eine zurückhaltende Annäherung, die uns dennoch mit Emotionen überwältigt.

Artist(s)

Claudio Arrau (piano)

Claudio Arrau was born in Chillan, Chile on 6 February 1903 into a well-established, highly cultivated family of practising Catholics. He was barely one year old when his father, an ophthalmologist, died after a fatal riding accident. To support her three young children, Claudio’s mother began giving piano lessons. This meant that the small child was lucky enough to grow up to the pleasing sound of the piano notes. Seated on his mother’s lap as she taught, he was initiated him into the mysteries of music theory even before he learned to read and write. At the early age of four, he could play certain Beethoven sonatas on the keyboard. The young prodigy dazzled all who heard him with his...
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Claudio Arrau was born in Chillan, Chile on 6 February 1903 into a well-established, highly cultivated family of practising Catholics. He was barely one year old when his father, an ophthalmologist, died after a fatal riding accident. To support her three young children, Claudio’s mother began giving piano lessons. This meant that the small child was lucky enough to grow up to the pleasing sound of the piano notes. Seated on his mother’s lap as she taught, he was initiated him into the mysteries of music theory even before he learned to read and write. At the early age of four, he could play certain Beethoven sonatas on the keyboard. The young prodigy dazzled all who heard him with his exceptional gift for music. He was barely five years old when he gave his first public recital in Chillan with a programme of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. Just one year later, the President of Chile heard him play at a private recital. So impressed was he that he granted him a special state scholarship to study music in Germany for ten years. In 1911, eight-year-old Claudio, accompanied by his mother and sister Lucrecia, moved to Berlin, where he entered the prestigious Stern Conservatory. After a few unhappy experiences with teachers whose methods were ill-suited to the precocious genius, Arrau met Martin Krauze, the mentor he needed. Krauze had studied with Franz Liszt and befriended all the major musicians of his time. He was thus a prominent figure in the artistic life of Berlin, both a renowned piano teacher – another of his pupils was the legendary Swiss pianist Edwin Fischer – and a revered yet feared music critic. Pupil and master immediately struck up a close relationship. In Arrau, Krauze discerned raw talent that could be shaped according to his rigorous principles; the young boy, so far from his native Chile, found a figure of authority, a substitute for the father he had never known.
Working with Krauze, Arrau so refined his technique that at the age of eleven he could play some of the most demanding pieces of the piano repertoire, such as Liszt’s Transcendental Études and Brahms’ Working with Krauze, Arrau so refined his technique that at the age of eleven he could play some of the most demanding pieces of the piano repertoire, such as Liszt’s Transcendental Études and Brahms’ When in 1918 Krauze died prematurely aged sixty-five, victim of the Spanish flu, Arrau was only fifteen and once again fatherless. Feeling bound by loyalty to Krauze, he refused to study under anyone else and continued his piano studies on his own. Soon after, he made his concert debut at the Royal Albert Hall, and played in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Karl Muck. Arrau undertook his first European tour with illustrious conductors such as Nikisch, Furtwängler and Mengelberg. In the eyes of his fellow musicians, he rivalled with Arthur Schnabel and Edwin Fischer, young pianists who were then revolutionising the art of interpretation.
For two consecutive years, aged sixteen and seventeen, he won the famous International Franz Liszt Piano Competition. Now basking in glory, in 1921 Arrau undertook a major tour of South America, making a triumphal return to Chile with a concert in Santiago. In 1923, he toured the US, giving concerts at Carnegie Hall, in Boston and in Chicago. Back in Europe, at the age of twenty-four he won the prestigious International Geneva Prize in 1927; among the jury members were none other than Alfred Cortot and Arthur Rubinstein. At this time he began making his first recordings. He extended his repertoire considerably, adding composers from Bach to Debussy, and including the great German romantics – Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Schumann as well as Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Schoenberg. Early in the 1930s he toured the USSR twice. In 1935, now thirty-two years old, he further consolidated his reputation by playing a marathon cycle of JS Bach’s entire keyboard works over twelve recitals. This achievement helped restore the great composer’s reputation. In 1936 he played other cycles of complete keyboard works: Mozart, followed by Schubert and then Weber. In 1938, in Mexico, for the first time Arrau performed all Beethoven’s five concertos and thirty-two sonatas, an exploit that he was to repeat on numerous occasions. In fact, in the 1960s and 1980s, he made two recordings of the complete piano works of Beethoven.
In 1937, he married the German mezzo-soprano Ruth Schneider, with whom he had three children: Carmen, born in 1938, Mario, in 1940 and much later, in 1959, Christopher. Increasingly anxious about the war overtaking Europe, Arrau decided to flee Nazi Germany, going first to Chile, where he founded a music school, and then the US, where, after a triumphant tour, he decided to settle in 1941. This was the start of a new life – eventually, in 1979, he took on American nationality in addition to his native Chilean citizenship – as well as a crucial new stage in his career. At the end of the second world war, he began dividing his time between teaching, a very active concert career – with no fewer than some one hundred concerts worldwide every year – and intensive recording of all the major works of the piano repertoire, mainly with Philips.
Arrau was acknowledged as one of the very finest interpreters of Beethoven. He gave numerous public performances of the sonatas and between 1962 and 1966, recorded a first cycle of the complete sonatas that has become a legend. In 1978, deepening his bond with Beethoven, he published an Urtext edition of these sonatas with Peters, the first made by a composer since Arthur Schnabel’s 1935 edition. Such printed editions aim to reproduce the composer’s original interpretations as accurately as possible. In the 1980s, he began a new recording of the complete Beethoven piano works, one he sadly did not manage to complete.
Showered with honours and official awards from the world over, celebrated on the occasion of both his eightieth and eighty-fifth birthdays as one of the twentieth century’s living monuments of piano, Claudio Arrau maintained his usual stamina to his very last day, 9 June 1991. Over the last ten years of his life, he found new momentum that enabled him to make many recordings and return, yet again, to his welltrodden grounds, including the works of Debussy, Liszt, Chopin and Mozart. His last albums, some released posthumously, were recordings of Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy and Bach, whose work he was planning to go back to after a break of several decades. They all continue to ring out today, a rich artistic testament of a pianistic titan cut from a different cloth than that of mere mortals.

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Composer(s)

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include nine symphonies, five piano concertos, one violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio. Together with Mozart and Haydn, he was part of the First Viennese School.    Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and by composer and conductor Christian Gottlob...
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Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include nine symphonies, five piano concertos, one violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, his great Mass the Missa solemnis, and one opera, Fidelio. Together with Mozart and Haydn, he was part of the First Viennese School. Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and by composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe. At the age of 21 he moved to Vienna, where he began studying composition with Joseph Haydn, and gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death. By his late 20s his hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf. In 1811 he gave up conducting and performing in public but continued to compose; many of his most admired works come from these last 15 years of his life.

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Press

Claudio Arrau is considered by many to be one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century
Pianist, 01-11-2021

The rich tone of Arrau and his very specific timbre are recognizable.
Music Emotion, 15-10-2021

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