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Beethoven on Period Piano at the Frederick’s


Yuan Sheng at Frederick Collection (BMInt staff photo)
Yuan Sheng at Frederick Collection (BMInt staff photo)

Perhaps China’s greatest advocate of early pianos, Yuan Sheng of the Central Conservatory in Beijing will return to the Frederick Collection in Ashburnham on Sunday, August 4th, with all-Beethoven benefit recital comprising famous and popular ‘named’ sonatas, the “Pathétique,” “Waldstein,” “Moonlight,” and “Appassionata,” on an instrument of the composer’s time: the Collection’s ca. 1805-1810 Katholnig.

Sheng became a fan of and frequent visitor to the Collection after his first encounter with it. He completed his B.M. and M.M. at the Manhattan School of Music and returns to NYC annually to participate in a festival and play recitals, generally making a trip up to Ashburnham as well. Last year, he offered the Collection a special Debussy and Ravel program [review here] its 1877 Érard extra-grand modèle de concert, the largest model the firm ever made and the Collection’s largest instrument as well. He played an all-Chopin program [review here] in 2011 on the Collection’s 1845 Pleyel during the regular spring series.

That was followed by his recording of the complete Chopin Ballades, Impromptus, Nocturnes, and Préludes on the same instrument (the composer’s favorite make) for a 3-CD set on the Piano Classics label (It is available at or from the Collection for $25), which is some of the finest playing of Chopin that I have ever heard—the sound of the instrument and its appropriateness for the music are unsurpassed.

Nor was that his first A-V project at the Collection; his set of 6 videos of the instruments with demonstrations for his students was also shown on TV in Beijing.

The recital will be at 4 p.m. at the Ashburnham Community Church, 84 Main Street (Rte 12), Ashburnham, MA, at the intersection with Chapel Street. Admission is $25.

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