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Brahms: Piano Works, Vol. 4 - Scherzo Op. 4; Waltzes Op. 39; Piano Pieces, Op. 76; Rhapsodies, Op. 79 / Hardy Rittner, piano

Audio Samples

>Brahms, Johannes : Rhapsodies (2) for piano, Op. 79
>Brahms, Johannes : Pieces (8) for piano, Op. 76
>Brahms, Johannes : Scherzo for piano in E flat minor, Op. 4
>Brahms, Johannes : Waltzes (16) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 39

Album Summary

>Brahms, Johannes : Rhapsodies (2) for piano, Op. 79
>Brahms, Johannes : Pieces (8) for piano, Op. 76
>Brahms, Johannes : Scherzo for piano in E flat minor, Op. 4
>Brahms, Johannes : Waltzes (16) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 39
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

What a debut! The Scherzo in E flat minor is the first existing composition by Johannes Brahms, and its gloom and bizarre character go beyond even the no-joking-matter models set by Chopin.

Hardy Rittner has recorded this rarity on the fourth installment of his historical Brahms series - for the first time on a 240-centimeter Ignaz Bösendorfer grand piano from 1846. The biting tone of this instrument immediately gets under the skin and forms an exciting contrast to the two J. B. Streicher grand pianos.

The two Rhapsodies op. 79 get things going. Brahms would not have been Brahms if he had not composed these pieces with a compelling formal logic. The second rhapsody bears the heading "Molto passionato," and Hardy Rittner conjures magnificent passion out of the Streicher grand piano from 1868.

In the Piano Pieces op. 76 he spreads out a multicolored kaleidoscope ranging from melancholy to graceful charm and from dancy mirth to eerie gloom - it all is there and can be experienced with special immediacy on this historical instrument.

Brahms composed sixteen waltzes as his ticket to Viennese musical society and dedicated them to the feared critic Eduard Hanslick. This tactic paid off. Hanslick became Brahms's most glowing admirer.

Rittner shows why this was so: simple on the surface, these exquisitely crafted waltzes create their own special cosmos of expressive colors with a wonderfully catchy tune, a racy Hungarian piece, and other masterful intricacies in three-four time.

Once again Hardy Rittner surprises with completely new perspectives on what was thought was all too well known.

Among other distinctions, two ECHO Klassik prizes document this young star's rise to the first pianistic ranks. His acclaimed interpretations combine youthful enthusiasm with profound precision.

Flawless SACD technique in patented three-dimensional 2+2+2 sound also makes his most recent production a feast for musical gourmets.

American Record Guide, May/June 2014
Rittner's Brahms has been an outstanding series. This new volume continues to impress me, not only for its choice of instruments from Brahms's day, but for the pianist's complete mastery of the composer's idiom. The contents are: Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79; Eight Piano Pieces, Op. 76; 16 Waltzes, Op. 39; Scherzo Op. 4.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Mozartsaal der Irnberger Foundation Salzburg (12/06/2012-12/08/2012).



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Works Details

>Brahms, Johannes : Rhapsodies (2) for piano, Op. 79
  • Performer: Hardy Rittner (Piano)
  • Notes: Mozartsaal der Irnberger Foundation Salzburg (12/06/2012-12/08/2012)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1879

>Brahms, Johannes : Pieces (8) for piano, Op. 76
  • Performer: Hardy Rittner (Piano)
  • Notes: Mozartsaal der Irnberger Foundation Salzburg (12/06/2012-12/08/2012)
  • Running Time: 21 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1871-1878

>Brahms, Johannes : Scherzo for piano in E flat minor, Op. 4
  • Performer: Hardy Rittner (Piano)
  • Notes: Mozartsaal der Irnberger Foundation Salzburg (12/06/2012-12/08/2012)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1851

>Brahms, Johannes : Waltzes (16) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 39
  • Performer: Hardy Rittner (Piano)
  • Notes: Mozartsaal der Irnberger Foundation Salzburg (12/06/2012-12/08/2012)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1865