Ferdinand Ries. Complete Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas.
Widely known for his reminiscences of Beethoven, Ferdinand Ries belonged to a family which, like Beethoven’s, had a long connection with the musical establishment of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne in Bonn. Ries studied briefly in Munich and then spent a period in Vienna, where he received piano lessons from Beethoven himself.
This 6-disc box set of Ries’ Complete Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas complements the release earlier this year of his Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra.
Ferdinand Ries was a friend and pupil of Beethoven and was praised by Robert Schumann for his ‘remarkable originality’. He was also one of the great piano virtuosos of his age and perfectly placed to compose works for his instrument that honour the Classical tradition of Haydn and Mozart while foreshadowing the Romanticism of Schubert and Chopin. In Susan Kagan, an acknowledged authority on the composer, these works have found an interpreter of sympathy and eloquence who brings the composer’s fluency, poignancy and drama fully to life: ‘Ries could not have asked for a better pianist and proponent than he has found in Susan Kagan.’ (Fanfare).
Christopher Hinterhuber, Piano New Zealand Symphony Orchestra • Gävle Symphony Orchestra Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra • Uwe Grodd
Ferdinand Ries’ works for piano and orchestra stand alongside those of Hummel as the finest and most important of their kind from the early decades of the 19th century. Ries was long remembered as Beethoven’s friend, pupil and secretary, but these recordings reveal the intense lyricism and rugged Beethovenian grandeur of this pianist-composer’s piano concertos. A rich variety of companion pieces renowned for their brilliant juxtapositions of ravishing beauty and exceptional pianistic virtuosity are also included.
Listen to an extract from Piano Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 42: III. Rondo: Allegro non troppo
About the Artists
Pianist, author and educator Susan Kagan recently retired from the faculty of Hunter College in New York City, where she taught music history. In 1995 she founded the New York Chapter of the American Beethoven Society. She is the author of Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven’s Patron, Pupil, and Friend (Pendragon, 1988) and was a critic for Fanfare magazine. Kagan is on the Advisory Board of the American Beethoven Society.
Vassily Primakov entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of 11; he subsequently moved to New York to pursue piano studies at The Juilliard School, aged seventeen. In 2007 he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year. In 2009 his Chopin mazurkas recording was named Best of the Year by National Public Radio and in the same year he began recording the 27 Mozart piano concertos in Denmark.
Born in Austria, Christopher Hinterhuber is a prizewinner of leading international piano competitions in Leipzig, Saarbrücken, Pretoria, Zurich and Vienna. He frequently gives masterclasses in Asia and Europe and has been professor of piano at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna since 2010. His recordings for Naxos include works by CPE Bach, Haydn, Hummel, Ries, Schubert and Zemlinsky.
Uwe Grodd is a New Zealand-based German conductor and flautist who has performed and recorded internationally for over 25 years. He is an associate professor of conducting and flute at the University of Auckland. His editions of music by Vaňhal, Beethoven and Ries, published by Artaria Editions, are increasingly in demand. A graduate of Mainz University, Germany, he attributes his musical success to the guidance of two of Europe’s renowned musicians: Robert Aitken and Maestro Sergiu Celibidache.