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Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) was one of the greatest pianists of his time and a composer of exceptional abilities. Ries studied pianoforte (but not composition) with Beethoven in Vienna and the two men remained on cordial terms for the rest of their lives. In the last year of his life Ries co-wrote a book of Beethoven reminiscences that remain one of the most valuable sources of information about his life and character. Ries composed prolifically in many genres and unsurprisingly left an important body of works for pianoforte and orchestra. The Introduction and Polonaise, Op.174 is a late work, composed in 1833 while Ries was visiting Rome. It was issued by Dunst in Frankfurt who also printed an arrangement for piano duet which has not survived. Unusually for Ries, no further editions of the work appeared, a sign perhaps that his popularity was beginning to wane. The Introduction, although not overly long, contains the typically Riesian juxtaposition of rugged grandeur and delicate sensitivity. The link to the Rondo Polacca is deftly handled and the gravity of the work's opening is immediately forgotten as the soloist launches into the sprightly rondo theme. Allan Badley