Daniel Barenboim has announced he will release his new recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas and the Diabelli Variations on 30 October 2020. Earlier this year Daniel Barenboim marked the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by recording his thirty-two piano sonatas and the Diabelli Variations at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal for Deutsche Grammophon. Daniel Barenboim has been exploring Beethoven’s music for more than seven decades and his fifth complete survey of the sonatas arose from a period of deep immersion in Beethoven’s scores due to the cancellation of public concerts because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was delighted that, thanks to Deutsche Grammophon and its partners, hundreds of thousands of listeners around the world were able to share in the live-streamed concerts we gave in April from the Pierre Boulez Saal,” explained Daniel Barenboim. “To have the chance to record Beethoven’s sonatas so soon after for the Yellow Label felt like the ideal response to the pandemic. At no point during the last fifty years has there been a period when I’ve had time to spend three whole months just playing the piano.”
“There is no other musician who exemplifies and embodies Beethoven’s humanistic philosophy as much as Daniel Barenboim”
Throughout his career, as both pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim has remained closely associated with both Beethoven’s music and his outlook on life. Few musicians have engaged with Beethoven’s music as intensively and over such a long period. “There is no other musician who exemplifies and embodies Beethoven’s humanistic philosophy as much as Daniel Barenboim,” observes Anne-Sophie Mutter in her introduction to this new recording. “Barenboim’s Beethoven is uncompromising and filled with hidden depths, contrapuntally stirring, while at the same time rhapsodising about the distant beloved with the tenderness of the gentlest of breaths.”
“Beethoven’s music is always multidimensional: whenever it laughs, it laughs and cries at the same time”
During the coronavirus pandemic, and in the extraordinary circumstances that hit humanity so hard this year, Daniel Barenboim returned to Beethoven and reimmersed himself in the scores of his piano sonatas. “Beethoven’s music is always multidimensional: whenever it laughs, it laughs and cries at the same time,” observed Daniel Barenboim. Beethoven’s piano sonatas form one of the most important collection of works in the history of music and represent the most far-reaching overview of the development of his musical style.
Barenboim’s continuous preoccupation with Beethoven is also reflected in his new recording of the composer’s last great work for the piano, the Diabelli Variations, which is considered to be one of the greatest sets of variations for the keyboard along with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Daniel Barenboim’s desire, despite his vast experience of playing these works, was to approach the sonatas and the Diabelli Variations “from scratch”. His mature vision of these momentous works is a legacy for his contemporaries and future generations.
Daniel Barenboim’s new recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas and the Diabelli Variations also includes two bonus discs featuring the prodigiously talented young pianist’s 1958-9 recordings for the Westminster label of the Pathétique, Moonlight, Appassionata, Waldstein, Hammerklavier and op.111 sonatas.
“No matter how many times you play them there are always fresh personal perspectives waiting to be discovered”
Beethoven’s piano sonatas have a power that goes far beyond words. “No matter how many times you play them,” explained Daniel Barenboim, “there are always fresh personal perspectives waiting to be discovered for the performer and for listeners. Beethoven’s sonatas, especially the late works – and the Diabelli Variations too, his last major work for the piano – lift us high above our daily cares and worries to a place where we can begin to see things as they really are, to understand what it truly means to be human.”
Daniel Barenboim’s new recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas and the Diabelli Variations will be released on 30 October 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.