Erich Appel, piano
Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Klauspeter Seibel
In 1965 the Beethoven House in Bonn decided to send one of its most sacred relics to Nuremberg to have it restored by the firm of J.C. Neupert: this was the Graf piano to which Beethoven had entrusted his final musical thoughts, and which had become unplayable.
For a brief moment, unique production facilities were made available to Colosseum, and these were then gradually put to good use by the best artists and technicians. Elly Ney, long since a legend in her own lifetime, was reluctant to be parted from the instrument and captured a few particularly famous pieces on it for posterity (COL 9013.2), while her younger colleague Erich Appel, in the few hours during which he too was allowed to touch the hallowed keys, recorded Beethoven’s Bagatelles op. 33 and the Piano Concerto no. 1 op. 15, in which he was accompanied by the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra with Robert Seiler conducting.
The long-playing records that carried this event into the outer world have since, of course, been digitalised and reissued on CD because on closer examination this historic encounter belongs to the category of “world cultural heritage”. We can still today sense the aura of sanctity emanating from Beethoven’s instrument and the reverence with which those involved approached this treasure in order to catch an echo of sounds that have vanished beyond recall.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto no. 1 in C major, op. 15
 I Allegro con brio 14:29
 II Largo 12:03
 III Rondo. Allegro scherzando 9:07
Seven Bagatelles op. 33
 I Andante grazioso, quasi allegretto 3:50
 II Scherzo allegro 3:01
 III Allegretto 1:59
 IV Andante 3:01
 V Allegro, ma non troppo 3:12
 VI Allegretto quasi Andante. Con una certa espressione parlante 3:14
 VII Presto 2:03