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You need to hear Anton Kuerti's new Beethoven record

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Robert Rowat

Anton Kuerti has surprised us with a new all-Beethoven record.

The iconic Canadian pianist, now 79, has been noticeably absent from the concert stage since suffering a stroke in 2013. How exciting, then, to learn that he has released a new album.

Beethoven Piano Masterworks, recorded in November 2011 in Brisbane, Australia, is a double CD comprising three sonatas — "Waldstein," "Appassionata" and "Les Adieux," all streaming until Sept. 27 in the player to your left — and the Diabelli Variations, the subject of a companion DVD entitled Profound Passion. The CD and DVD are available exclusively on Kuerti's website.

"Someone I know through my masterclasses had a recording studio and thought it might help his business if I was one of their artists," explains Kuerti via email. "While I wasn’t that eager to record more Beethoven, I saw this as the opportunity to create a film about the Diabelli Variations, which included my usual lecture and the performance."

Beethoven figures prominently in Kuerti's catalogue. He recorded the Beethoven sonata cycle in 1974-5, which was digitally remastered in 1996. He also re-recorded Beethoven's last five sonatas in 2003, with improved digital quality.

"Returning to record the 'Waldstein,' 'Appassionata' and 'Les Adieux' sonatas was an easy decision. These are Beethoven’s most virtuosic middle-period sonatas, full of colour, drama, dazzling explorations, and emotional content," he reflects. "They capture Beethoven stretching the pianistic landscape into sounds and shapes totally unheard of at the time and perhaps still never equalled."

Kuerti tells us he's still playing. "Although I take my practice time at a more casual pace," he notes.

Order Beethoven Piano Masterworks and Profound Passion here and watch the promotional video below:

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