Search - Alexander Heller, Alain Meunier, Peter Wiley :: Beethoven: Quintet for Piano & Winds, Op. 16; Trio Op. 11; "Kakadu" Variations, Op. 121a

Beethoven: Quintet for Piano & Winds, Op. 16; Trio Op. 11; "Kakadu" Variations, Op. 121a
Alexander Heller, Alain Meunier, Peter Wiley
Beethoven: Quintet for Piano & Winds, Op. 16; Trio Op. 11; "Kakadu" Variations, Op. 121a
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1


      
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Variable Beethoven
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 05/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Variations for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op.121a, are a bit of a mystery, in that no one knows when Beethoven composed them. The song upon which they are based - Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, I am the Tailor Cockatoo - was a hit number from a comic opera of 1794, but Beethoven insisted that the variations be included in the publication of his music as late as 1816. He clearly thought well of them, and I do too. After a brief and ominous prelude, the ten variations are sprightly and colorful, Beethoven in his "unbuttoned" mood.

The Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and Piano was written shortly after Beethoven terminate his studies with Josef Haydn. It's a typical sonata in form, using rondo variations. Fun to hear, fun to play. Bassoonists have cause for loving Herr Beethoven.

The Trio for Piano, Clarinet or Violin, and Cello, op.11, is a straightforward example of Viennese Classical proportion. The third and final movement is also a set of variations on a song from a comic opera, the text of which would have been familiar to listeners then. It tells of the need to eat heartily before attempting any difficult task, such as singing high trills.

Rudolf Serkin has always struck me as a light-touch specialist among the concert pianists of his generation, but this is eminently light-touch music, and he plays it elegantly. Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, is also a musician of charm more than power. Indeed, the whole ensemble seems perfectly suited to performing these diverting, happy-go-lucky compositions by the light-hearted Ludwig van B."