Friedrich Gulda plays Beethoven | Documents 600479

Friedrich Gulda plays Beethoven


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Label: Documents

Cat No: 600479

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 10

Release Date: 24th August 2018



What connected Austrian pianist Friedrich Gulda with Ludwig van Beethoven – the rebel, the obstinate, the outsider – was not only the unconditional will to pursue his unique artistic path, but also the fundamental spirit of contradiction.

The exceptional pianist, often referred to as a “Beethoven-confidant” in the music press, set standards with his ingenious interpretations of Beethoven’s compositions, while at the same time posing as a “classics rebel”. Gulda accepted no genre boundaries, snubbed music purists, which he described as “stuck up classics-fools” and liked to shock with his “expanded musical concept”. A music business that focused primarily on the re-creations of dead composers repelled him. “I don’t want to be a living corpse,” he announced and began his extraordinarily fruitful liaison with jazz. The interpretive freedom he had gained from improvised music benefited his playing of 18th and 19th century literature.

“Gulda’s perplexity, his charming distrust of established cultural heritage, his fresh motorical passion, which was inspired by jazz, entered into his interpretation of Beethoven and have lent it an at times truly breathtaking excitement,” attested the music critic Joachim Kaiser. Gulda and Beethoven, an especially winning team, are celebrated in this compilation of original albums from 1951 to 1962. Some of these recordings have achieved a near iconic status, including the recording of the entire compositions for cello and piano, “a must-have for every collector of fine chamber music” (FonoForum).

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