10 perfect Beethoven-themed gifts for the piano lover in your life


By Ellie Palmer

08 July 2020

Why not treat the pianist in your life to a Beethoven 250 anniversary gift? Whether it's the latest Beethoven releases, a detailed biography of his life, and even a cup shaped as a moody Beethoven... this list has it all

Igor Levit – Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas

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This was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2019, as shown by its inclusion in the New York Times' 25 Best Classical Music Albums of 2019.

It'll certainly keep you busy for at least a few weeks; counting up each movement of each of the 32 Sonatas, there are 102 recordings in total on this album. Definitely worth the investment in our opinion.

For further reading, Igor talks in-depth about the sonatas, and indeed his love for Beethoven, inside issue 112 of Pianist. 

 

Boris Giltburg – Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2; Rondo, WoO 6

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If you're going to purchase any Beethoven album this year, THIS is the one. It featured as Editor's Choice inside issue 112 of Pianist and was given five stars. Pianist reviewer Warwick Thompson comments, "His [Boris'] trademark clarity of articulation is fully in place, as is his directness and unsentimentality... He also invests the music with irresistible energy, focus and momentum."

 

 

Jan Lisiecki – Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos 1-5

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If you'd prefer the full set of concertos, Jan Lisiecki's release is a greatly recommended alternative. The First and Fifth Concertos stand out as the two winners of this album; fiery and impetuous respectively. 

Pair this album up with a purchase of Igor's Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas, and you'll be set for a while.

 

 

Peter Hill and Benjamin Frith – Works for Piano Four Hands

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Did you know that Beethoven had written piano music for four hands? Us neither. Peter Hill and Benjamin Frith introduce us to the delightful world of Beethoven music for four hands, with five works in total on this album. All performances were recorded on a Steinway D in Cardiff University's concert hall, so you are certainly guaranteed high quality.

 

 

Beethoven Around the World – Bӓrenreiter

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Jean Kleeb has re-arranged 9 Beethoven piano solos into different styles, all of which are suitable for Grade 5-7 pianists. The rearrangements are inspired by Tango, Gamelan, Samba, Balkan, Oriental, Scottish and African music. 

One thing is for sure; you are guaranteed to have fun learning these pieces!

 

 

Best of Beethoven – Schott

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Included in this book – published by Schott and arranged by Hans-Günter Heumann – are 30 of Beethoven's most famous pieces for piano. The first half of the book contains 20 piano solos ranging from short dances around Grade 3 to most substantive works around Grade 8 such as 'Rage Over a Lost Penny'. The remaining pieces are Heumann's own arrangements.

 

 

Two Easy Piano Sonatas – G. Henle Verlag

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The word 'Easy' in the title might confuse some; they will be too difficult for beginner pianists, but they do represent a perfect entry point into Beethoven music sitting at around a Grade 5-7 level.  The composer rarely delved into the world of writing for the beginner, which is why the title needs to be clarified.

This selection – published by G. Henle Verlag – is very affordable as well. It'll pinch just £6.50 from your bank account.

 

 

Piano Sonatas Vol I – Wiener Urtext

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Can you manage 300 pages of Beethoven? Wiener Urtext's latest release is somewhat of an eye-catcher, if not for its glorious bright cover.

The volume includes eleven sonatas from Op 2 to Op 22. There are also plenty of critical notes included throughout the book, provided in both German and English.

It may be hundreds of pages thick, but the supple binding allows for easy folding.

 

 

Beethoven: The Man Revealed – John Suchet

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This Sunday Times bestseller has recently been updated in view of Beethoven's 250th anniversary. Inside, author John Suchet gives a full account of Beethoven's life in accordance with current scholarship and research.

It is a truly fascinating read, and one that we highly recommend.

Plus, if you own a kindle, you can download it for a mere 99p.

 

 

Beethoven mug

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What would an article like this be without something fun and silly?

Here we have a rather moody Beethoven mug. We can only laugh at the thought of being frowned down at by Beethoven as we sip our morning coffee.

We're tempted to get one ourselves.

 

Issue 112 of Pianist celebrates the life of Beethoven in this, his 250th anniversary year. Download it straight to your phone, iPad, laptop or computer for instant access.