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   Sonatas

Piano Premieres

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CPO 777446-2

Ignaz Brüll
(1846-1907)

Piano Sonata in D Minor, Op. 73 (1893)
Suite #2, Op. 71 (c.1893)
Suite #3, Op. 76: Legend, Saraband (c.1893)
Suite #4, Op. 80: Cavatina (c.1893)

5 Piano Pieces Op. 57: Romanze (1887)
Seven Albumblätter for Youth, Op. 33 (1878)

Alexandra Oehler, piano
CPO 777446-2 72:51

The Austrian composer Brüll began his career as a concert pianist until composition became his main purpose in life. Much of his career was spent in Vienna where he was a friend of Johannes Brahms, a distinction for which he is probably best known. His piano music shows the influence of various composers, notably Robert Schumann and Frédéric Chopin, but less so Brahms. Also of interest are his two piano concertos (Hyperion CDA67069) and a CD containing his Symphony in E Minor and Serenade #1 (Cameo Classics CC9027CD).

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe - HBDirect - JPC ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Electoral Sonatas

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Naxos 8.550255

Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770-1827)

Piano Sonata in E Flat Major, WoO 47 #1
Piano Sonata in F Minor, WoO 47 #2
Piano Sonata in D Major, WoO 47 #3
Sonatina in G Major
Sonatina in F Major
Piano Sonata #15 "Pastoral", Op. 28

Jénö Jandó, piano
Naxos 8.550255 68:34

This CD contains some very early works of Beethoven. Naxos's numbering for the three WoO 47 works are piano sonatas #33-35, although this numbering is not always used in other work lists. The two sonatinas are possibly not by Beethoven, but the Op. 28 sonata certainly is.

The WoO 47 sonatas are collectively called the Kurfürstensonaten (Electoral Sonatas), and are tentatively thought to have been written in about 1783. Each runs about ten minutes and while Mozart and Haydn are his obvious models, there are indications of his later work. The performance of the Sonata #15 is also enjoyable, but the main reason for buying this CD is the rarely-recorded early works.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

A British Rachmaninoff

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Hyperion CDA66838

York Bowen
(1884-1961)

13 Preludes from 24 Preludes, Op. 102 (1950)
Ballade #2, Op. 87 (1931)
Piano Sonata #5 in F minor, Op. 72 (1931)
Berceuse in D Major, Op. 83
Moto perpetuo from Op. 39
Toccata in A minor, Op. 155 (1957)

Stephen Hough, piano
Hyperion CDA66838 77:20

Recordings of Bowen's music have become more frequent and include the second symphony, at least two piano concertos, and concertos for horn, viola & violin. The piano music, while having some affinity with such English composers as Bax and Ireland, more often shows the influences of Scriabin and Rachmaninoff.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Moods and Fancies

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Naxos 8.557713

Richard Strauss
(1864-1949)

Five Piano Pieces, Op. 3 (1880-81)
Piano Sonata in B Minor, Op. 5 (1880-81)
Moods and Fancies, Op. 9 (1882-4)

Stefan Veselka, piano
Naxos 8.557713 67:33

These early piano works of Strauss show the influence of composers such as Schumann, Mendelssohn and especially Liszt. If those composers appeal to you, then this CD will too.

[ Available on CD:
Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Piano Sonatas from Beethoven's Rival

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Naxos 8.570796

Ferdinand Ries
(1784-1838)

Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 11 #2
Piano Sonata in E Flat Major, Op. 11, #1
Sonatina in A minor, Op. 45

Susan Kagan, piano
Naxos 8.570796 50:02

As a close associate of Beethoven, it's no surprise that Ries' music was strongly influenced by the older composer, not that that's a criticism. For a long time, a solitary piano concerto was about the extent of recordings of his music but in recent years, mainly due to CPO, much more has become available.

Susan Kagan, a name Fanfare readers will recognise, has started a series of his piano music for Naxos. The music is immediately attractive and adds to our knowledge of a most interesting composer. The playing time is hardly generous, but at Naxos price, can be forgiven.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music PlusMusicnotes.com ]

Early Romantic Piano Sonatas

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Harmonia Mundi 907324

Joseph Wölfl
(1773-1812)

Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 25
Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 33 #1
Piano Sonata in D minor, Op. 33 #2
Piano Sonata in E Major, Op. 33 #3

Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Harmonia Mundi HMU907324 69:49

A native of Salzburg and apparently friendly rival of Beethoven, Wölfl wrote prolifically during his short life. These sonatas show the influence of Beethoven, Haydn, and Bach. The American pianist Jon Nakamatsu makes an excellent case for the music of one of the less familiar names of the early nineteenth century.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Impromptu Inspirations

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Regis 1224

Jan Václav Voríšek
(1791-1825)

Impromptus, Op. 7
Fantasie, Op. 12
Variations, Op. 19
Piano Sonata in B Flat minor

Radoslav Kvapil, piano
Regis RRC1224 71:56

Voríšek is credited with giving Schubert the idea for his famous impromptus: the two were good friends in Vienna. The impromptus, which take up about half the CD, are strongly reminiscent of Schubert and Beethoven. The Fantasie and the Variations are somewhat more Romantic, and the sonata, which lacks a slow movement, reminds me of the controlled energy of Beethoven's Piano Sonata #18.

Further listening:
Voríšek's best-known composition is his only symphony of which there are a number of recordings.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]
[ Also available from some sources as Unicorn-Kanchana DKP(CD)9145 of which the Regis CD is a reissue:
Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan ]
[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]
Trumpet