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Tag: Ronald Brautigam

Ronald Brautigam, Kolner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens – Weber: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Ronald Brautigam, Kölner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens – Weber: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 55:55 minutes | 947 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © BIS

Carl Maria von Weber wrote music that has been admired by composers as diverse as Schumann, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky. But in his lifetime he was also recognised as one of the finest pianists of the period, with an exceptional technique and a brilliant gift for improvisation. Especially during the 1810s he toured extensively, and like other composer-pianists he wrote works to use as his personal calling cards, among them the two piano concertos recorded here. They were both composed in 1811-12, but while the First Concerto takes Mozart’s concertos as its model, Piano Concerto No. 2 looks towards Beethoven. This change of direction was probably influenced by the fact that Weber had acquired a score of Beethoven’s recently published “Emperor” Concerto. In any case there are some striking similarities between his concerto and Beethoven’s: the use of identical keys, and the inclusion of a slow, subtly orchestrated Adagio and a closing playful rondo in 6/8.

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Ludwig van Beethoven – Ronald Brautigam – Eroica, Variations (2012) [Hybrid-SACD] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Ludwig van Beethoven – Ronald Brautigam – Eroica, Variations (1796-1802)
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,60 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,19 GB | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: BIS # BIS-SACD-1673 | Country/Year: Sweden 2012
Genre: Classical | Style: Classical Period, Piano

The chief reason to buy this disc is for Brautigam’s dazzling performance of the Eroica Variations.

Infrequently played and recorded merely because it’s not one of the numbered 32 sonatas, the Eroica Variations is a clever, virtuoso work from the beginning of Beethoven’s second period. It exhibits the same kind of nervous energy as the 2nd Symphony, which this performance embodies.

Unlike many theme-and-variation pieces which can be a bit pedantic, instead of just stating the theme and going through a few contained variations, Beethoven opens the piece with the bass line to the main theme, puts it through three variations, then states the whole theme, puts it through 15 variations, and finally closes the work with a finale that includes a fugue.

Brautigam’s playing is brash, highlighting the dynamic contrasts of the music. He effectively pounds out the three dotted 8th note section of the theme that are peppered throughout the work. As I said before, the spirit of the 2nd Symphony (completed the same year as the Eroica Variations) permeates this performance.

As for the sound of the fortepiano, it works quite well. In the second variation, for example, its wiry sound is a natural fit with all the 16th notes.

The other variations on the disc date from Beethoven’s first period. While Brautigam and BIS deserve much praise for recording all of Beethoven’s solo keyboard music (has anyone else ever done this?), compared to the Eroica Variations, they are a bit inconsequential.

Like the previous releases in this series, BIS’s sound is excellent. All I can say are the usually adjectives of praise.

Since I received this disc a month and a half ago I’ve probably listened to the Eroica Variations nearly 20 times — like the previous releases, it’s Beethoven played to perfection. SA-CD.net

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Ronald Brautigam, Die Kolner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens – Beethoven: Piano Concertos (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Ronald Brautigam, Die Kölner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens – Beethoven: Piano Concertos (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:37:04 minutes | 2,61 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © BIS

As one of the finest pianists of his era and an improviser of genius, Ludwig van Beethoven’s preferred vehicle for musical exploration was the piano. His earliest composition, from 1782, was a set of piano variations and he continued to compose for solo piano until the last years of his life. His interest in the concerto form diminished as his deafness forced him to retire from performing. Nonetheless, with his five piano concertos composed between 1788 and 1809, Beethoven not only achieved a brilliant conclusion to the Classical piano concerto, but also established a new model for the Romantic era: a sort of symphony with obbligato piano which remained a reference point well into the beginning of the twentieth.

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Ronald Brautigam – Beethoven: The Complete Piano Variations & Bagatelles (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1-96kHz]

Ronald Brautigam – Beethoven: The Complete Piano Variations & Bagatelles (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1-96 kHz | Time – 06:48:16 minutes | 5,32 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © BIS

Between 2003 and 2015, Ronald Brautigam recorded all of Beethoven’s music for solo piano – a huge undertaking resulting in a grand total of 15 highly acclaimed albums. Choosing to perform the works on the fortepiano, Brautigam began with a sonata cycle which caused one reviewer to talk of a challenge to ‘the very notion of playing this music on modern instruments, a stylistic paradigm shift.’ In 2010, after nine albums of sonatas, he went on to record the composer’s variations, bagatelles and other piano pieces – a staggering array of works ranging from a Bagatelle lasting 11 seconds to the monumental Diabelli Variations, and from a charming Rondo in C major composed by a 13-year old Beethoven, to what is often referred to as the composer’s ‘Last Musical Thought’, an Andante maestoso dated 1826. Brautigam’s sonata recordings were released in a box set in 2014, and they are now followed by this 6-album set of the remaining works for solo piano, in the original hybrid format, and with full documentation in the form of the original booklets. Composed over the course of more than 40 years, the music is performed on three different instruments, all by the master builder Paul McNulty, demonstrating the rapid development that the fortepiano underwent during Beethoven’s lifetime.

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Ronald Brautigam – W.A.Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23 (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

W.A.Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23 / Ronald Brautigam (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 50:00 minutes | 888 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical.com | Digital Booklet

In just two years, between 1784 and 1786, Mozart composed no less than twelve piano concertos – a staggering number. Often described as one of the most light-hearted and buoyant among these is the Concerto in F major K459, sometimes called ‘the second Coronation Concerto’. The nickname comes from the fact that Mozart would later choose to perform it, along with the ‘Coronation Concerto’ in D major, during the festivities surrounding the coronation of Emperor Leopold II in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1790. Its companion work on this fourth disc in Ronald Brautigam’s survey hails from the same period: begun in 1784, the Concerto in A major K488 was completed in March 1786, at the same time as Mozart was putting the finishing touches to his opera Le nozze di Figaro. It is one of only three piano concertos in which Mozart uses clarinets in the orchestra, resulting in a very particular sound world, especially in the magical slow movement. Mozart clearly held the work in high regard, and described it as one of his most select compositions ‘which I keep just for myself and an élite circle of music lovers’, and later audiences have agreed with him. Ronald Brautigam has been described as ‘an absolutely instinctive Mozartian… with melodic playing of consummate beauty’ (International Record Review), and he is once again supported by the period orchestra Die Kölner Akademie conducted by Michael Alexander Willens in a partnership which more than one reviewer has termed ‘ideal’.

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W.A. Mozart – Ronald Brautigam – Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23 (2013) [Hybrid-SACD] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23
Ronald Brautigam / Die Kölner Akademie / Michael Alexander Willens
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 2,30 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 806 MB | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: BIS # BIS-1964 SACD | Country/Year: Sweden 2013, 2012
Genre: Classical | Style: Viennese School, Piano

What a versatile pianist Ronald Brautigam is! I have recently been enjoying his RBCD set of Rachmaninov Preludes, played on a modern Steinway, and here he serves up the next episode in his on-going set of Mozart Piano Concertos on a Viennese Walther Fortepiano of c. 1795 (Paul McNulty replica). Die Kölner Akademie as usual provide sterling orchestral support on period instruments, under the direction of Michael Alexander Willens.

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Ronald Brautigam – Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Ronald Brautigam – Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:14:02 minutes | 1,22 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © BIS

This is the ninth installment in Ronald Brautigam’s series of the complete piano concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As on previous discs, Brautigam whose ‘muscular yet sensitively nuanced command of Mozartian discourse’ (BBC Music Magazine) is supported by Die Kölner Akademie under Michael Alexander Willens. The opening work on this installment is the C major concerto, K 415, which was first performed on 23rd March 1783 in the presence of Emperor Joseph II. K 415 was composed in conjunction with the Concerto No. 11 in F major, K 413, which in contrast is a more intimate creation, especially in its Larghetto middle movement, in which Mozart achieves some of his most memorable writing, with the various textures of the orchestra providing a cushion of sound for a delicious cantabile aria for the piano a model that was to become almost a trademark of his later concerto slow movements. The disc closes with Concerto No. 8 in C major, K 246, composed some six years earlier. Mozart wrote it for Countess Antonia Lützow, one of his father’s pupils, and in terms of technical difficulty, it is among the least demanding of his piano concertos which nevertheless didn’t stop Mozart from performing it himself on several occasions.

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Ronald Brautigam – Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonatas Opp. 81a, 90 & 106 (2009) {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Ludwig van Beethoven – Ronald Brautigam – Hammerklavier Sonatas Opp. 81a, 90 & 106
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,12 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,02 GB | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: BIS # BIS-SACD-1612 | Country/Year: Sweden 2009
Genre: Classical | Style: Viennese School, Piano

BBC Music Mag., Nov 2009:
“… a fine recital, & the most impressive instalment so far in Brautigam’s Beethoven cycle. The warm-sounding reproduction Graf piano from around 1819 has been very well recorded.”

Ronald Brautigam, one of Holland’s leading musicians, is remarkable not only for his virtuosity & musicality but also for the eclectic nature of his musical interests. In 1995 he began what has proved a highly successful association with the Swedish label BIS. Among the more than 30 titles released so far are Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertos & the complete piano works of Mozart & Haydn on the fortepiano. The year 2004 saw the release of the first of a 17-CD Beethoven cycle, also on the fortepiano.

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Isabelle van Keulen, Ronald Brautigam – Strauss, Rota, Respighi – The violin sonata around 1900 (2009) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD128/5.64MHz]

Isabelle van Keulen, Ronald Brautigam – Strauss, Rota, Respighi – The violin sonata around 1900 (2009)
DSF Stereo DSD128/5.64 MHz | Time – 02:14:20 minutes | 5,28 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Booklet, Front Cover |  © Challenge Records

At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century the violin sonata experienced a considerable renaissance. A fundamentally conservative genre, it suddenly sparkled with vitality. Mozart developed its classical formula: violin and piano are two equal partners in dialogue with neither the piano being reduced to a mere accompanist nor the violin being reduced to mere colouring of the melody voice; a three-movement-pattern; the first movement being based on the so called sonata form with two themes of clearcut atmospheric contrast and their developement.

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Isabelle van Keulen, Ronald Brautigam – Grieg, Elgar, Sibelius – Music for violin & piano (2007) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD128/5.64MHz]

Isabelle van Keulen, Ronald Brautigam – Grieg, Elgar, Sibelius – Music for violin & piano (2007)
DSF Stereo DSD128/5.64 MHz | Time – 01:00:50 minutes | 4,8 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front Cover |  © Challenge Records

The acclaimed Dutch violinist Isabelle van Keulen is joined here by award-winning pianist Ronald Brautigam in a fascinating program of chamber music from Grieg, Elgar and Sibelius. The year 2007 marks an anniversary for each of these great composers.

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