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September 12 , 2005

ECM launches Schiff Beethoven cycle

Beginning in October, and extending over the next three years, ECM is to issue András Schiff’s account of the complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. Schiff, renowned for his superlative performances of Bach, Mozart and Schubert, waited for years before embarking on Beethoven. “You are an interpreter of Bach or Mozart by birth”, Schiff told Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel. “Beethoven though has to be learned. These 32 sonatas always seemed like a suit I still had to grow into.”

The pianist has opted for live recordings of the music, which are being made at the Zürich Tonhalle, well-known for its outstanding acoustics. The complete Beethoven cycle, recorded in chronological order, will be released on ECM New Series in eight volumes. The first volume features Sonatas op. 2, Sonata Nr. 1 f minor op.2/1, Sonata Nr. 2 A major op.2/2, Sonata Nr. 3 C major op. 2/3, Sonata Nr. 4 E-flat major op. 7, and is issued as a double album whose liner notes include an extensive interview with Schiff by Martin Meyer of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Each subsequent volume will also include interviews in which Schiff provides concise introductions to the individual sonatas. In all, the series is essential listening for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Beethoven.

Cover design for the eight volumes of the series incorporates watercolour paintings by Czech artist Jan Jedlička.

Volume I is released on October 7 in most European territories and on September 27 in the USA and Japan.