SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce the eagerly-awaited second volume of the Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman Piano Duo’s ground-breaking series exploring Franz Xaver Scharwenka’s transcriptions of Beethoven Symphonies.
A composer of no mean stature in his own right, Scharwenka’s transcriptions were once widely admired, his treatments of Beethoven’s symphonies a high-watermark of the genre.
Volume 1 (SOMMCD 0637) met with universal acclaim; Gramophone praising the “mastery” of the performances, BBC Music finding it “utterly beguiling” and MusicWeb International declaring “I was blown away by this magnificent recording”. Volume 2 features the first recording of Scharwenka’s transcription of Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony for piano duet. Claiming a direct connection to Beethoven via his teacher Franz Kullak, who had studied with Beethoven’s pupil Carl Czerny, Scharwenka provides a virtuosic reimagining of the Fifth’s tremendous scale, organic growth and seething energy.
The Variations on a Theme of Beethoven by Saint-Saëns show him, Robert Matthew-Walker says in his informative booklet notes, “at his most brilliant and searching… beautiful, imposing and elegant, as well as humorous”. Robert Schumann’s Andante and Variations in B-flat reveal Romanticism’s quintessential musical poet at his most emotionally acute: “overhung with a pervading sense of intimacy, the music unfolds as a series of reflections upon the Andante theme, refracted in genuine variation styles of tempo, rhythm, tonalities (beautifully implied) and character”.
Born in Cape Town and a Royal Academy of Music Associate, Tessa Uys has an impressive reputation as a concert and broadcasting performer, appearing at major venues around the world. Her multi-prize-winning South African compatriot Ben Schoeman has a busy international profile and is currently a senior lecturer in piano and musicology at the University of Pretoria.
First playing as a Duo in 2010, their admired explorations of Scharwenka’s four-hand Beethoven transcriptions on the concert platform began in 2015.
On This Recording
- I Allegro con brio
- II Andante con moto
- III Scherzo. Allegro
- IV Allegro
- Andante and Variations in B-flat major, Op.46
- Variations on a Theme of Beethoven in E-flat major, Op.35
Symphony No.5 in C minor arr. Franz Xaver Scharwenka for piano duet
Andante and Variations in B-flat major, Op.46
Variations on a Theme of Beethoven in E-flat major, Op.35