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Beethoven: Symphonies, Vol. 3

Beethoven: Symphonies, Vol. 3

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SOMM Recordings announces Volume 3 of the Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman Piano Duo’s ground-breaking series exploring Franz Xaver Scharwenka’s arrangements of Beethoven Symphonies. A composer of no mean stature in his own right, Scharwenka’s transcriptions were once widely admired, his treatments of Beethoven’s symphonies a high-watermark of the genre. Volume 1 (SOMMCD 0637) met with universal acclaim; Gramophone praising the “mastery” of the performances, BBC Music finding it “utterly beguiling”, and MusicWeb International declaring “I was blown away by this magnificent recording”. Of Volume 2 (SOMMCD 0650), Gramophone hailed it as “a thoroughly rewarding, often revelatory view of this over-played and over- recorded masterpiece [Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony]”. BBC Music Magazine said: “In terms both of precise co-ordination and engaging interplay, the performances are state-of-the-art”.

Volume 3 couples perhaps the least known of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, No. 2 in D major, and the extraordinary scale and innovation of No. 7 in A major. As Robert Matthew-Walker points out in his informative booklet notes, perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the Second Symphony, composed during a period of crippling self-doubt and encroaching deafness, is that it is “so positive and full of life, tingling with vitality and energy”. Of the Seventh Symphony, he writes, “Beethoven poses further challenges to his interpreters – technical as well as musical … Nothing like this had ever been expressed in music before.”

Born in Cape Town and a Royal Academy of Music Associate, Tessa Uys has an impressive reputation as a concert and broadcasting performer, appearing at major venues around the world. Her multi-prize-winning South African compatriot Ben Schoeman has a busy international profile and is currently a senior lecturer in piano and musicology at the University of Pretoria. First playing as a London-based Duo in 2010, their admired explorations of Scharwenka’s four-hand Beethoven transcriptions on the concert platform began in 2015.

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    • UPC/Barcode: 748871066625
    • Item Number: SOMMCD 0666