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Ries – Piano Concerto in C minor, Concerto Pastoral (FLAC)

Ries - Piano Concerto in C minor, Concerto Pastoral (FLAC)
Ries – Piano Concerto in C minor, Concerto Pastoral (FLAC)

Composer: Ferdinand Ries
Performer: Christopher Hinterhuber
Orchestra: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Uwe Grodd
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Naxos
Size: 293 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Concerto Pastoral in D, Op. 120
01. Allegro
02. Andantino
03. Allegro

Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 115
04. Allegro
05. Molto adagio
06. Allegretto

07. Introduction et Rondeau Brillant, WoO54

Pronounced Rise, Rees, or Reese?

Of course I know the answer because I had 2 years of German in college, but I won’t tell you! Ha! I rate everything Ries composes a five star because he is the best thing since Beethoven. He sounds like Beethoven and that should be no surprise since he was, at least for a while, Beethoven’s student. And he survived! Though it is no problem for virtually any listener who knows Beethoven’s music to see the similarity, the music is fresh, not a copy of big B, just similar. From the early 18th to early 19th centuries a composer either had to sound like Beethoven or to be completely unlike Beethoven. If you were in the second group you were not played because you didn’t sound like Beethoven. If you did sound like Beethoven you were a copy cat and they would just listen to Beethoven. Either way these composers lost. However Reis did enjoy some success in his life and we are lucky that he was rediscovered just for us. Naxos recording is wonderful as usual. Listen to this many times and you will be happy!

A kinder, gentler Beethoven

Ferdinand Ries is best remembered today (if at all) as Beethoven’s personal assistant. Although he served that role well – securing performances, publication deals and more – that wasn’t originally why their paths crossed. Ries came to Beethoven in 1803 to study composition. Like his mentor, Ries was a piano virtuoso as well as a composer. His piano concertos were written primarily for his own use, to provide material he could use in performance – a standard practice of the day for any touring virtuoso.

Naxos has released four volumes of Ries’ concerti, the most recent featuring two of these works plus a shorter fantasia for piano and orchestra. So what does Ries’ music sound like? Sort of like a kinder, gentler Beethoven. His works have the same general structure, with some of the same harmonic turns that Beethoven favored. You’ll also hear big orchestral chords hammering away at important cadence points. But there the similarities end.

Ries is more concerned with tuneful melodies than delivering pronouncements from on high. His motifs are light and appealing. While the solo piano part is challenging technically, it’s more about taking the listener along on a thrilling melodic journey rather than fully exploring the potential of either the instrument or the motifs.

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