Beethoven - Symphonies (arr. Scharwenka) Vol.2 | Somm SOMMCD0650

Beethoven - Symphonies (arr. Scharwenka) Vol.2


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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD0650

Barcode: 0748871065024

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 15th April 2022



SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce the eagerly-awaited second volume of the Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman Piano Duo’s groundbreaking series exploring Franz Xaver Scharwenka’s transcriptions 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”. Volume 2 features the first recording of Scharwenka’s transcription of Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony for piano duet. Claiming a direct connection to Beethoven via his teacher Franz Kullak, who had studied with Beethoven’s pupil Carl Czerny, Scharwenka provides a virtuosic re-imagining of the Fifth’s tremendous scale, organic growth and seething energy.

The Variations on a Theme of Beethoven by Saint-Saëns show him, RobertMatthew-Walker says in his informative booklet notes, “at his most brilliant and searching… beautiful, imposing and elegant, as well as humorous”. Robert Schumann’s Andante and Variations in B flat reveal Romanticism’s quintessential musical poet at his most emotionally acute: “overhung with a pervading sense of intimacy, the music unfolds as a series of reflections upon the Andante theme, refracted in genuine variation styles of tempo, rhythm, tonalities (beautifully implied) and character”.

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 Duo in 2010, their admired explorations of Scharwenka’s four-hand Beethoven transcriptions on the concert platform began in 2015.

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