This is an encounter with two legends – the great Elly Ney playing Beethoven’s last piano in the Beethoven house in Bonn, where it has now stood under a glass cover for many decades.
Elly Ney, piano
Anyone visiting the Beethoven house in Bonn in the 1960s or 1970s saw, alongside manuscripts, paintings and monstrous ear trumpets, a few 7” gramophone records that were considered absolutely essential to own at the time. Elly Ney had been allowed to breathe new life into the great man’s last piano – an instrument from the workshop of Conrad Graf in Vienna – with a few short pieces and his final piano sonata. Looking back today, that was an almost unique privilege. From that day to this, it has never been touched again, and never will be.
In the context of a grand retrospect of Elly Ney’s career, Colosseum has brought together her recordings, made on various vinyl discs, into a CD set that is “unique” ( a word with many different meanings), the remastering of which was an even more challenging task than the reissue of the usual studio recordings. This is because the delicate, literally fragile instrument, with its characteristic sound, unusual for our ears today, demanded a particular sensitivity in the transfer to today’s sound reproduction technology.
The result was worth the effort. The variations on “Nel cor più non mi sento”, the Andante favori and the immortal “Für Elise” have lost nothing of their delicacy of touch, and the piano sonata in C minor op. 111 has an even more provocative effect when played on this piano, which even Beethoven found “almost impossible”. And thanks to a discreet extension of the recording space, the sound picture remains consistent even with today’s high-tech equipment.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
 Andante favori WoO 57 F-dur in F major (1804) 7:52
 Albumblatt für Elise WoO 59 a-moll in A minor (1810) 2:56
 Six variations (in G major) for piano based on the duet “Nel cor più non mi sento” 4:50
Sechs Variationen für Klavier über “Nel cor più non mi sento“ (1795)
Sonata No. 32 in C minor, op. 111
 I Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato 10:18
 II Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile 18:56