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December 7 , 2005


“If the first volume (Op 2 Nos 1-3 and Op 7, superbly recorded and annotated by ECM) is anything to go by, this Beethoven cycle will not only provoke and illuminate but give lie to those who wonder if there is room for yet another”, writes Jeremy Nicholas in the December issue of Gramophone, on the launch of pianist András Schiff’s complete recording of the 32 Beethoven sonatas. In the German weekly Die Zeit Wolfram Goertz echoes this sentiment: “This is a cycle that deserves our undivided attention: the start is spectacular”. Despite the strong competition in this repertoire field, the international press is united in its praise for Schiff’s interpretations.

Meanwhile ECM continues to document Schiff’s Beethoven recitals in the Tonhalle Zürich, a venue renowned for its outstanding acoustics. On Sunday December 4th, the program included the sonatas Op 31 Nos 1-3 and the famous Waldstein sonata.

Following this matinee concert, Schiff, producer Manfred Eicher, sound engineer Stephan Schellmann, and writer Martin Meyer (whose erudite interviews with Schiff are included in the CD booklets for the series), met with press and friends in Irene Preiswerk’s art gallery “semina rerum” in Zürich, to celebrate the opening of an exhibition of works by Czech-Swiss artist Jan Jedlička. Jedlička’s subtle watercolours provide cover art for each of Schiff’s volumes in the Beethoven series.

Volume 1 of The Beethoven Sonatas is out now.
Volume 2 is scheduled for release in March 2006.