Andrew von Oeyen plays Bach and Beethoven with directness, virility, determination, and sheer willpower

“Something about this music just seemed to make sense now, when so little else did. Immersing myself in Bach’s pure universe offered a tabula rasa, a chance to musically reset as an unravelling catastrophe, compelling us to slow down and re-evaluate all kinds of basic things in our lives: priorities, careers, relationships, even where and how we live…If Bach served as my first musical mooring in confinement, I returned to Beethoven… Indeed, the directness, virility, determination, and sheer willpower of Beethoven … aligned with my own growing resolve to transcend this trial. As with Bach, Beethoven’s goal-oriented approach and universal vision, devoid of extraneous content, appealed especially at this urgent time.”

Thus writes pianist Andrew von Oeyen about the music of Bach and Beethoven he plays with the directness, virility, determination, and sheer willpower of which he so eloquently speaks in his annotations to his all-Bach and Beethoven album for Warner Classics.

In it he combines precision, technical impeccability, superb musicality and a perfect blend of intellectual acuity and heart, devoting 8 tracks to Bach’s Overture in the French Style, BWV 831, and two more to the Wilhelm Kempff arrangements for piano of the Siciliano from Sonata No. 2 in E-flat for flute and harpsichord, BWV 1031 and the Largo from the Concerto No.5 in F minor for harpsichord, strings and basso continuo, BWV 1056.

The remaining seven tracks – gloriously executed – are taken up by Beethoven’s Sonata No. 13 “Quasi Una Fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 1, and the Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”. This is a remarkable collection featuring a superb artist at the peak of his powers and only in need of the kind of music making for which we all long: a live performance in front of a live audience: a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Rafael de Acha             All About the Arts