Beethoven: The Complete Variations, Bagatelles & Clavierstucke / Brautigam

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Between 2003 and 2015, Ronald Brautigam recorded all of Beethoven’s music for solo piano – a huge undertaking resulting in a grand total of 15 highly acclaimed albums. Choosing to perform the works on the fortepiano, Brautigam began with a sonata cycle which caused one reviewer to talk of a challenge to ‘the very notion of playing this music on modern instruments, a stylistic paradigm shift.’ In 2010, after nine albums of sonatas, he went on to record the composer’s variations, bagatelles and other piano pieces – a staggering array of works ranging from a Bagatelle lasting 11 seconds to the monumental Diabelli Variations, and from a charming Rondo in C major composed by a 13-year old Beethoven, to what is often referred to as the composer's ‘Last Musical Thought’, an Andante maestoso dated 1826. Brautigam’s sonata recordings were released in a box set in 2014, and they are now followed by this 6-album set of the remaining works for solo piano, in the original hybrid format, and with full documentation in the form of the original booklets. Composed over the course of more than 40 years, the music is performed on three different instruments, all by the master builder Paul McNulty, demonstrating the rapid development that the fortepiano underwent during Beethoven’s lifetime.


This is a wonderful set, in which Ronald Brautigam excels in his conclusion to his survey of the complete solo piano music of Beethoven. I appreciate that some people do not like the sound of the fortepiano, but the instruments chosen for this set and edition as a whole, show the breadth of sound that was available at the time, and some people will be surprised by just how full a sound it is. Brautigam’s choice of tempos is well-measured and thoughtful, and his playing is nuanced throughout, resulting in this set being one that I have found difficult to take off my CD player. The performances certainly mark Brautigam out as a leading interpreter of Beethoven’s music regardless of the style and type of piano used.

– MusicWeb International

Brautigam’s fortepiano survey is magnificent, comprising four full discs of variations (including Eroica and Diabelli), the complete bagatelles, rondos and other miscellaneous pieces. Disc 1 begins with a charming rendition of the Op 33 set followed by a tranche of pieces dating mainly from the 1790s; the late sets Opp 119 and 126 are delivered with a sense of simplicity that can only come from depth of knowledge.

– International Piano

Product Description:

  • Release Date: September 20, 2019

  • Catalog Number: BIS-2403

  • UPC: 7318599924038

  • Label: BIS

  • Number of Discs: 6