Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1/26 Bartok and Rachmaninoff play Beethoven

Bela Bartok
Besides being one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century (and a heck of a musicologist as well), Bela Bartok was also known to tinkle the ivories with his friend Joe Szigeti.  Szigeti was no stranger to Beethoven's music, and here we find a fascinating look at how one of the greatest modern composers of the last century interpreted our favorite piano virtuoso.

Violin Sonata No.9 in A, Op.47 'Kreutzer' (1803)
Piano: Bela Bartok
Violin: Joseph Szigeti
Live, 1940


Sergei Rachmaninoff
Speaking of piano virtuosos, some say Sergei Rachmaninoff was the greatest pianist who ever lived (he also composed a few good tunes as well). Fortunately he was also a big Beethoven fan and recorded a few sides:

32 Variations (in C minor) on an Original Theme WoO.80 (1806)
Turkish March in B flat from The Ruins of Athens Op. 113 (Anton Rubinstein Arr.)
Piano: Sergei Rachmaninoff

Both Bartok and Rachmaninoff are fine composers as well as pianists, and it's well worth checking out the music of these young upstarts...
Bela Bartok Wiki
Sergei Rachmaninoff Wiki

I should probably add a mention to Dmitry Shostakovich's "Sonata for viola and piano, op.147" and the 3rd Movement:  "In Memory of the Great Beethoven: Adagio".
Not a Beethoven work obviously, but apparently he references the Moonlight Sonata in it.
Did "Shosty" play the Grosse Fuge to relax after work?

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