The first release from Ivo Varbanov on ICSM Records features the last piano works by Ludwig van Beethoven (Bagatelles Op. 126), Robert Schumann (Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133), and the piano transcription of Ferruccio Busoni of 6 of the 11 Choral Preludes for organ Op. 122 by Johannes Brahms.
Beethoven’s Bagatelles, written three years before his death, were considered by the composer the best things of their kind that he had done, a true cycle of miniatures. Schumann’s Morning Songs, with their visionary intimacy inspired by the great German poet Friedrich Hölderlin, were written just a few months before Schumann’s tragic attempt to drown himself in the Rhine, due to his mental illness; his content is in stark contrast to his early piano works. As for Brahms’s Chorale Preludes, written after the death of his beloved Clara Schumann, they are works of lonely self-communing and consolation, the ultimate fruit of Brahms’s lifetime immersion in early music. In these rarely performed transcriptions, Busoni has re-imagined them in the style of Brahms’s own late piano pieces.