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Cat. No. CHAN 10695(4) Price: £31.5 No. of discs: 4
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CHAN 10695 - Beethoven: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra
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Available From: 15 October 2011

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.’


"...This performance sets the seal on an outstanding collection, worthy to stand up to any equivalent set that has appeared in recent years... four good value CDs which have been crammed full of excellent music in great performances. It’s this one that I’ll be coming back to again and again, to rekindle a love of music well known and to open my eyes anew to the genius that Beethoven displays on every page.
Simon Thompson - Musicweb-international.com - 1 May 2012

Riccardo Risaliti - Musica magazine - April 2012

"Very nice sound density. Excellent piano-orchestra balance"
Stéphane Friédérich - Classica magazine - April 2012

"...Shelley is an excellent pianist. There is enough worthy of attention on these discs to warrent a solid recommendations."
Burthon Rothleder - Fanfare - March/April 2012

Alain Steffen - Pizzicato magazine - March 2012

       Repertoire *****      Sound *****
Arnd Richter – Fono Forum – March 2012 

“Editor’s Choice”
“... what makes this set so unique and appealing is the commitment and freshness Shelley brings to the lesser-known works. Tasmin Little and Tim Hugh are the stars in the Triple Concert, and its good to see that the pianist is not afraid to take himself out of the limelight...” *****
Marius Dawn – Pianist magazine – February-March 2012

"...Howard Shelley directs as well as plays, but there’s no slackness in terms of orchestral response... this is svelte, affectionate orchestral playing, with a particularly seductive principal oboe. And Shelley knows just when to step back when Beethoven’s solo line slips into note-spinning mode, letting his Leeds players sing... This is a wonderful box ... Buy it."
Graham Rickson - theartsdesk.com - 21 January 2012

               Record of the Month
“... As a one-stop collection it is unbeatable, and we are truly fortunate that is also happens to be a superlative choice with no also-ran ‘fillers’ and no real weak points in just about every aspect of its production.”
Dominy Clements – Musicweb-international.com – January 2012

"...The playing is clean throughout and free of any eccentric tempi or phrasing. The Choral Fantasy is especially enjoyable ..."
Christopher Breunig - Hi-Fi News - February 2012

"...Here is all of the great Ludwig’s music for piano and orchestra played and conducted by one of the most stylish pianists around, Howard Shelley. His crisp elegance is a constant joy; he can also probe and energise. These are unaffected and deeply satisfying performances, expressively modulated and beautifully recorded, fully capturing the orchestra of Opera North’s sensitive, lucid and full-bodied contribution... A special set of performances – for a lifetime’s enjoyment." *****
Colin Anderson – Time Out – 24-30 November 2011

"...This is the most comprehensive set of Beethoven’s music for piano and orchestra available, in performances that are vital, deeply considered and immensely satisfying."
Nigel Simeone - International Record Review - December 2011

             Critics Choice
Gramophone- December 2011

             ‘Disc of the Month
“Howard Shelley is both soloist and conductor in this sensational new recording of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos.” *****
James McCarthy – Classic FM Magazine – December 2011


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