This recording justifies your attention.
Repertoire: Piano Concerto No.1; Six Bagatelles, Op.126
Artists: Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bremen/Piotr Anderszewski (pf)
Label: Virgin Classics 502 1112
These works come from the extreme ends of Beethoven’s composing life. The Bagatelles, which are played first, date from 1824, and from the outset were conceived as a group. Piotr Anderszewski plays them as a young man’s music, tearing into No.4 with something like ferocity, but he manages gentleness elsewhere. The concerto, written in 1795 and revised five years later, also gets the vigorous treatment: just listen to the trumpets’ rising arpeggio in the opening tutti, not to mention the timpani thwacks in the Rondo. Anderszewski quite properly emphasises Beethoven’s numerous sforzando markings. Whether you find it exhilarating or exhausting, this performance is worth giving a go.