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Krystian Zimerman Releases Beethoven’s Complete Piano Concertos

Krystian Zimerman and Simon Rattle’s landmark recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra is out now.

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Krystian Zimerman photo
Pianist Krystian Zimerman. Photo: Deutsche Grammophon/Bartek Barczyk

Krystian Zimerman and Sir Simon Rattle’s landmark recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra is out now. Their outstanding performances, streamed on DG Stage from LSO St Luke’s and recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon in December 2020, were described as “history in the making” by The Times in their five-star review which noted, “Zimerman is in terrific form and Rattle alert to every nuance in the pianist’s playing.” Bachtrack observed, “Purity and clarity are hallmarks of Zimerman’s playing and there was an almost aristocratic composure to his phrasing and a velvet touch …Everything was meticulous, not …a quaver out of place.”

Win a 5-LP vinyl boxset signed by Krystian Zimerman

Krystian Zimerman’s recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Concertos, released today, is available digitally, as a 3-CD digipack and a 5-LP boxset. For your chance to win a 5-LP vinyl boxset of this recording, signed by Krystian Zimerman, click here. A deluxe edition (3 CDs and 1 Blu-ray) including exclusive video footage of all five concertos and a special Dolby Atmos mix of the complete audio and video recordings will be released on 5 November 2021.

To mark the release of Krystian Zimerman’s recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Concertos Deutsche Grammophon’s online platform DG Stage is streaming the original three-concert cycle again. Watch Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 on 9 July, Concertos Nos. 2 and 4 on 10 July, and Concerto No. 5 on 11 July.

Beethoven’s five piano concertos trace a path from Classicism to Romanticism and are masterpieces of a genre he revolutionised. Beethoven first made his name as a virtuoso pianist and he premiered all of them apart from the Fifth Concerto, as his deafness was so serious by then that he could no longer confidently perform in public.

“To these concertos, Beethoven belongs”

The 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth provided the perfect reason for Krystian Zimerman to return to Beethoven’s piano concertos. “I had not played these pieces for a few years and I miss them,” he said. “Some concertos you can play all your life and still feel hungry for them. To these concertos, Beethoven belongs.”

Krystian Zimerman, Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra were originally scheduled to perform all five concertos in one evening at the Barbican Centre in London on Beethoven’s birthday however the event was cancelled due to the lockdown. Their performances were moved to LSO St Luke’s where the musicians were able to work within the safe limits of Covid-19 restrictions. What they achieved together, socially distanced yet fully immersed in the music, was miraculous.

“Sometimes it feels like blowing smoke signals over a mountain, but there’s something about the effort that almost suits Beethoven. The struggle is part of his style,” explained Simon Rattle.

“Beethoven’s music always asks for more than you can give, to go deeper into yourself than you could ever imagine,” he added. “After all the anxiety and uncertainty that the pandemic gave us, it was such a release and such a joy for us to play Beethoven again. We were able to do this at a time when so many musicians had been prevented from working. It’s something I think we will never forget.”

Krystian Zimerman’s recording of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Concertos with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra can be bought here.

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