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“If one thinks of the Beethoven concerti as novels, each offers a deep spiritual journey. Performed together, this definitive anthology gives new light to the power of Beethoven’s genius.” – Jan Lisiecki
16 AUGUST 2019 (TORONTO, ON) - Beethoven has proved a serendipitous theme in Jan Lisiecki’s remarkable rise to international renown. In 2013, he performed the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 with Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart in Bologna, standing in at very short notice. It was this same concerto with which the young Canadian pianist made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin four years later, and his first Beethoven concerto to lead from the piano, at Suntory Hall in Tokyo.
On 13 September 2019, Deutsche Grammophon is set to release Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos. The album follows Lisiecki’s acclaimed Mendelssohn concerto recording earlier this year and marks his fifth recording for the Yellow Label.
Lisiecki believes that the composer did not conceive the piano concertos as a cycle of their own. “In spite of this,” he adds, “they belong together because they reveal such a differentiated picture of Beethoven, starting with the first two, which still honour Mozart’s legacy. Then follow Nos. 3 and 4, both so inherently different in character, and the majestic ‘Emperor’ Concerto forms the finale.” It is this wide-ranging variety that Lisiecki finds fascinating, as it “reveals all the significant and oftentimes contradictory aspects of Beethoven’s music”. At the same time, the works signify a historic change: “Beethoven rewrote the rules of the classical piano concerto and completely reinvented the genre by breaking with traditions.”
The recording is a testament to both Lisiecki’s courage and his commitment: in late 2018, Murray Perahia was forced to pull out of a series of performances at short notice. Jan Lisiecki did not shy away from the challenge and joined the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, leading all five Beethoven concertos from the piano at the Berlin Konzerthaus – three concerts in five days. The musicians of the Academy, who have intimate knowledge of the scores and decades of experience ‘reading’ the collection of works, proved to be ideal musical partners for Lisiecki.
One of his guiding principles is clarity, both in terms of his communication with the orchestra, and as regards their joint interpretation of the works: “Beethoven’s music is the product of different ideas, which the listener should be able to retrace.”
The recording marks a milestone at the break of the Beethoven year 2020 and once again demonstrates that Lisiecki has long secured himself a place among the upper echelon of classical musicians.
An audiovisual release will follow in early 2020.