First of all: “Beethoven Explored – Volume 6: The Chamber Eroica“ is fortunately not the umpteenth recording of the popular Symphonie Nr.3 “Eroica“ by Ludwig van Beethoven without providing new substance. It also is not a new recording of the already well known piano quartet reduction of one of Beethoven’s students, Ferdinand Ries, in fact it is a world premiere of a transcription which was commissioned by Beethoven himself in 1807. Possibly it was by one of Beethoven’s close acquaintances, Franz Clement (violinist in the world premiere of his violin concerto) and, as suggested by the quality of the arrangement, it is likely that the master from Bonn was involved in its creation as well. Whoever the originator: this version for piano quartet delivers a refreshingly purified and, with its rich detail, a surprising new perception of the (assumed) homage to Napoleon Bonaparte.
The pianist Aaron Shorr, violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, viola player Dov Scheindlin and cellist Neil Heyde play this transcription with such verve and energy, that the orchestra is almost never missed. The finely spun dialog between piano and string trio enables an intimate look at the skillfully transferred main and secondary themes of the symphony. Notably, the prominent brass voices in the original version were transferred with great finesse and originality. Thanks to the outstanding, well-rehearsed and well-balanced quartet – this line-up has been performing this version for the past 5 years – the devoted Beethoven-fan can take an exciting new look at the beloved and brilliant symphony.