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The shadow of Beethoven loomed hugely over the composers who followed him; Robert Schumann felt his inescapable influence more strongly than most.

The measured tread of the theme from the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 becomes an obsessive idee fixe in Schumann’s Etude-Variations, a rarely-heard virtuoso barnstormer of fantastical intricacy and imagination. The noble theme of the Geistervariationen from the tragic final months of Schumann’s life was, the composer believed, dictated to him by an angel.

Beethoven was a master of the theme and variation form, and ‘lighter’ sets find him at his wittiest and most relaxed, embroidering popular tunes of the day. Schoenberg and Webern, for their part, continued Beethoven’s discovery of new territories of musical expression at the piano.

This recital itself is a variation on the theme of Beethoven devised by the brilliant pianist Cédric Tiberghien, whose refinement of sound and searching intelligence equip him for the mercurial beauty of this music.

Details correct at time of publication

  • Schumann
    Etudes in Variation Form on a Theme by Beethoven
    Variations, Op.27
    Sechs kleine Klavierstucke, Op.19
    Seven Variations on 'Kind, willst du ruhig schlafen'
    Nine Variations on 'Quant’è più bello'
    Six Variations on a Swiss Air
    Six Variations on 'Nel cor più non mi sento'
    Eight Variations on 'Tändeln und scherzen'
  • Piano
    Cédric Tiberghien