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<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    BEETHOVEN UNBUTTONED?


It is a relief to turn to the German Dances, which are harmless but pleasing trifles dating from Beethoven's early years in Vienna. They were not published until July 1814, when they may well have been revised. Their appearance was timely, as the Congress of Vienna was to begin its sessions in September, more ready to dance, it seemed, than to make progress. Beethoven shows himself an accomplished miniaturist in a set of pieces that could delight any drawing-room if hardly the halls frequented by the conference grandees. Here violin and keyboard are more in equilibrium, which results in happy music-making [listen -- track 6, 0:00-1:19].

The main discovery of this CD's exploring is the Mayseder sonata. He was violinist enough to have played second fiddle in Schuppanzigh's quartet when only fifteen and gone on to renown as an outstanding chamber musician in Mozart, Haydn and early Beethoven. What of his ability as a composer? If this work is anything to go by, he had considerable melodic gifts, could convincingly organise a large-scale work, was not afraid to demand bravura flights from both instruments, and indulged in tonal manipulations that were both playful and successful. The sonata is an impressive achievement and is finely presented by the team [listen -- track 10, 1:47-2:47].

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Copyright © 14 April 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


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