Vienna, winter of 1798. Two titans of the musical world encountered each other in a one of a kind duel. A musical trial of strength in front of a select audience, the objective of which was to choose the winner by the intensity of the applause. The suitable stage for this exclusive event was provided by the friend and benefactor of Mozart, Baron Raimund Wetzlar zu Plankenstern. His palais may today, still be visited close to the gardens of Schönbrunn castle.
At just 28 years old, Ludwig van Beethoven was already well known as a virtuoso of the piano forte and master of improvisation. He had originally come to the glittering capital of music, Vienna, from his hometown Bonn, in order to study with famous composer Joseph Haydn. Beethoven's opponent, 25 year old Johann Joseph Baptist Woelfl from Salzburg, was a student of Leopold Mozart and no less successful in the local musical scene.
Both of them had made their first successful appearances at the age of only seven years and competed to win the favour of the Viennese public. The virtuous battle seems to have resulted in a draw. Contemporary witness, Knight Ignaz von Seyfried, reported that in the end the decision had to remain open, who could possibly have choosen which of the two combatants deserved the palm of victory?
Exceptionally gifted pianist Luisa Imorde reawakens the spirit of this historic battle between the two musical geniuses on her new album "L'Affaire d'honneur". Like Beethoven, Imorde made her first musical steps in the surroundings of Bonn. By the age of seven, she had already performed on stage time and again. Now she has made Salzburg the center of her work and life, like originally Mozart and Woelfl. Her first recording named "Zirkustänze" found high appraisal by the musical press and the public alike. Now she presents her second album.
Mrs. Imorde contrasts the variations of Woelfl and Beethoven over the same musical theme by Salieri "La stessa, la stessissima", they open and finish this recording. In addition to that, Mozart's visionary Adagio and Fugue for two pianos, pave the way to the future. Jacques Rouvier, former teacher of Luisa Imorde at the University of Music Mozarteum, Salzburg, plays the second piano. Then follows Beethoven with his famous "Pathétique". Contrasting to that, Woelfl, who in fact was a great admirer of Beethoven, takes over form and material of the "Pathétique" and tries to even surpass it in his Sonata in C minor.