Piano Duet – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

We are delighted to announce Maxability’s online concert for February 2021: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, transcribed for Piano Duet by the composer Franz-Xaver Scharwenka and brilliantly performed by Tessa Uys anbd Ben Schoeman. Read on for details about how to access this remarkable recording.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Opus 125, was premiered to an overwhelmingly enthusiastic audience in Vienna in May 1824, three years before the composer’s death. All nine Beethoven Symphonies have been faithfully transcribed for Piano Duet by Franz-Xaver Scharwenka. Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman are currently preparing performances of the entire set, which Maxability will offer as YouTube videos as they become available. 

In an age when CDs, iPods, Spotify and YouTube were unknown, and live concerts had been the prerogative of the wealthy, transcriptions like the ones in today’s performance reflected what most people in the 19th century knew of this and, indeed, of countless other orchestral masterworks.  To quote Tessa and Ben:

“Working on the 9 Symphonies transcribed by Franz Xaver Scharwenka has been a journey of exploration and inspiration. To be able to hear and discover the intricate weaving of all the internal harmonies and melodic lines that one knows are there, but that tend to get submerged in a large orchestral ensemble, has been a revelation.”

Scharwenka travelled widely as a piano virtuoso and scored a considerable success in England in both this capacity and that of composer. Scharwenka was an inspiring teacher, and a composer of symphonies, piano concerti and an opera, as well as a quantity of instrumental music, including the transcriptions for piano duet of all 9 Symphonies of Beethoven.

Our Performers

Tessa Uys was born in Cape Town and gave her first public performance at the age of seven. She first studied with her mother Helga Bassel. As a winner of several international prizes Tessa has performed in many different countries and broadcast frequently for the BBC. She has given recitals in the City of London and at Wigmore Hall. Since discovering Scharwenka’s transcriptions for four hands of all Beethoven’s Symphonies among her mother’s scores, Tessa and fellow South African Ben Schoeman have presented the 9th Symphony to great acclaim in the City of London and they have been invited to play the work in many other venues in London and beyond. 

Ben Schoeman has won prizes in international Piano competitions, and has given solo, chamber music and concerto performances in many of the world’s the most prestigious concert halls – including Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Cadogan, LSO St Luke’s, Queen Elizabeth Hall (in London), Carnegie Hall in New York, Konzerthaus in Berlin, and many other concert venues in Edinburgh, Lisbon, Turin, Milan, Bucharest and Ottawa, Canada. His solo album, featuring works of Franz Liszt, was released by TwoPianists Records. 

To buy access to this remarkable concert recording, please send us a booking email, and we will send you the bank transfer details to make your donation of £15, followed by a link to view the concert video.

Many thanks, as ever, for your support.