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Beethoven: Bagatelles, Opp. 33, 119 & 126 / Steven Osborne, piano

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelles (7) for piano, Op. 33
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelles (11) for piano, Op. 119
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelles (6) for piano, Op. 126
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Allegretto quasi andante for piano in G minor, WoO 61a
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Allegretto for piano in C major ("Bagatelle"), WoO 56
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in C minor, WoO 52
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in B flat major, WoO 60
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Allegretto for piano in B minor, WoO 61
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in A minor ("Für Elise"), WoO 59
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Following up his highly acclaimed release of Beethoven sonatas, Hyperion's Gramophone-award-winning pianist Steven Osborne turns his talents to Beethoven's complete Bagatelles. Though the composer himself referred to these thirty short piano works, which he penned throughout his life, as 'trifles,' these are nonetheless trifles from the mind of a genius. In this polished album, Osborne lends his remarkable artistry to everything from the Six Bagatelles of Op 126, which at times occupy the same rarefied spiritual world as the late quartets and were the very last works Beethoven ever wrote for the piano, to the composer's most famous stand-alone piano piece, the mysterious little A minor Bagatelle known to all the world as Für Elise.

"[Beethoven's] Leipzig publisher complained that they were such insignificant trifles no one would believe they were by Beethoven: not only slight but on the whole easy too. The joy of having a player of Steven Osborne's spare, rhythmically incisive brilliance shows the idiocy of the publisher's words." -The Observer

"Vigorously and sparklingly played by Steven Osborne, who must bring his pianistic intelligence to bear on elementary and virtuosic performance levels alike." -The Sunday Times

"The range is enormous...Osborne encompasses this transition in masterly fashion. This disc follows on from his one of Beethoven sonatas, and it ignites a similar joy in the way that he conveys ideas so lucidly and with such subtle shades of tone, distilling the essence of each miniature with potency and freshness." -The Daily Telegraph

Gramophone Magazine
It's a part of [Osborne's] personal excursion to seek the individual potency of each Bagatelle...Osborne has delved deep to extract so much from cameos that pack emotional enormity within small spaces.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
This release includes, I gather, many if not all of Beethoven's little pieces for piano: some were composed as souvenirs (for instance, the masterly and compact WoO 61a in G minor, written in 1825 for Charles Burney's daughter). Indeed, Osborne seems most comfortable with the later and more unclassifiable ones. WoO 61a explores a somewhat austere two-voice contrapuntal terrain - in 32 seconds - while WoO 60, composed around the same time as the Hammerklavier Sonata, breathes some of the same uncomplicated but still rarefied air as passages from that work. Some of the earlier pieces (Op. 33, for example) and even certain numbers of Op. 119 seem too bland, too straightforward. Both Mr Chakwin and Mr Linkowski have recommended Stephen Kovacevich's recordings, and I would look for those if I wanted to add to my collection. But Osborne satisfies my needs for now.

International Record Review, June 2012
The air of faux naivete Osborne brings to these trifles is particualrly persuasive, with understatement providing the perfect setting and foil for Beethoven's droll humour...Whatever preconceptions you may bring to these pieces, the crystal clarity of Osborne's exquisitely polished pianism is an unalloyed joy to the ear...Osborne's new recording will take its place without apology in any company.

MusicWeb International, July 2012
Despite playing on a modern grand, Osborne's attack, tone and phrasing suggest an awareness of period performance practice. Climaxes are powerfully telling, yet always remain within "classical" parameters...[Osborne is] captivating, with a gentle touch that produces an astonishing inwardness.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011).



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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelles (7) for piano, Op. 33
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1802

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelles (11) for piano, Op. 119
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1822

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelles (6) for piano, Op. 126
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1823

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Allegretto quasi andante for piano in G minor, WoO 61a
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1825

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Allegretto for piano in C major ("Bagatelle"), WoO 56
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1803

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in C minor, WoO 52
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1797

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in B flat major, WoO 60
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1818

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Allegretto for piano in B minor, WoO 61
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1821

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in A minor ("Für Elise"), WoO 59
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (07/26/2011-07/28/2011)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1810