Chandos CHAN 10695
Beethoven: complete works for piano and orchestra – Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North, Howard Shelley (pianist and conductor)
The piano remained the main instrument of Beethoven throughout his life, and this download represents his entire and sizeable output for piano and orchestra, starting with the early Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4 – a work of tremendous energy and great technical demands, which Beethoven wrote when he was just twelve years old – and ending with Piano Concerto No. 5, the only one that, due to his developing deafness, Beethoven never performed himself in concert.
Howard Shelley was awarded an OBE for services to classical music in the 2009 New Year Honours. Here he conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North from the piano. Shelley has recorded extensively for Chandos over the years, and he has combined the role of solo pianist and conductor on numerous occasions, most recently with the Orchestra of Opera North in piano concertos by Schumann, Saint-Saëns, and Grieg (CHAN 10509), but also with the London Mozart Players, with whom he has recorded works by Cramer, Hummel, Mendelssohn, and Mozart. All his recordings have received superb reviews.
Beethoven wrote the Triple Concerto in 1803 during a lull in the composition of his opera Fidelio. Works for violin, cello, and piano were fairly common at the time – but combining them with orchestra was, as Beethoven himself observed, something entirely new, and no other concerto of this kind from this period is known today.
In this work, Howard Shelley is joined by the violinist and exclusive Chandos artist Tasmin Little, who won the Critics’ Choice Award at this year’s Classic BRITS, and by the cellist Tim Hugh, of whom The Times said: ‘Mr Hugh is much more than just a Cellist, he is a musician with a compelling insight into the creative urge behind the notes.’