Ignaz von Beecke: Piano Concertos

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You can’t really go wrong with this collection of piano concertos from the long-forgotten Beecke. If your new year resolution was to get some classical music in your collection, this is easy to listen to and approachable. If you’re fan of Mozart and Haydn, he’s not at that class but it’s still a pleasure to listen to.

Wikipedia reports that in 1775, von Beecke met the 19-year-old Mozart in Munich and the two had a piano playing competition. Poet and composer Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart later wrote that von Beecke played “far better” than Mozart: “In Munich last winter I heard two of the greatest clavier players, Mr Mozart and Capt von Beecke. Mozart’s playing had great weight, and he read at sight everything that we put before him. But no more than that; Beecke surpasses him by a long way.” Beecke was 42 and Mozart 19, it has to be said.

The sleeve notes say that today nothing remains of Beecke’s renown. Many of his works have been forgotten and this CD is one of the first commercial releases of works.

Born in 1733 he served in the Bavarian Dragoon Regiment of Zollern from 1756, during which time he fought in the Seven Years’ War and was promoted to captain. He was known at the time chiefly for his great skill in playing the harpsichord. In 1759, he made his way to the Wallerstein court as an adjutant to Hereditary Prince Kraft Ernst von Oettingen-Wallerstein. It was there that he celebrated his first successes as a pianist and wrote his first compositions. In 1773, Oettingen-Wallerstein inherited his title and placed Beecke in charge of court music, the musician’s military duties apparently now being very light. The music is equally light, stylish and listenable, with the playing bringing out the charm.

It is performed by Natasa Veljkovic on the piano, with Johannes Moesus conducting the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra.

Out on CPO, 777 827-2.



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