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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 28 & 29
     

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 28 & 29

by Mitsuko Uchida
 
It's hard to pin down Mitsuko Uchida's performances of Beethoven's "A major Sonata, Op. 101," and "B flat major Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106." Of course, there's no debating her sparkling tone or dazzling technique. Since her first recordings in the mid-'80s, Uchida's pianistic mastery has always been amply evident. What's debatable is

Overview

It's hard to pin down Mitsuko Uchida's performances of Beethoven's "A major Sonata, Op. 101," and "B flat major Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106." Of course, there's no debating her sparkling tone or dazzling technique. Since her first recordings in the mid-'80s, Uchida's pianistic mastery has always been amply evident. What's debatable is Uchida's artistic temperament. She is sometimes intimately lyrical as in the opening "Etwas lebhaft" of the "A major Sonata" and sometimes immensely monumental as in the opening movement of the "B flat major Sonata." She can march irresistibly forward in the central "Lebhaft" of the A major or linger to contemplate the profundities of the central Adagio sostenuto of the "B flat major Sonata." She may bend the bar lines at times in her "B flat major Sonata"'s impetuous Assai vivace Scherzo, ignore them altogether in her "A major Sonata"'s passionate "Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll," or hammer them home with fingers of steel in her "B flat major Sonata"'s fugal finale. For some listeners, these contradictions may resolve themselves in Uchida's fiery and poetic sensibility; for others, her interpretations may seem willful and perhaps even arbitrary. But whatever one ultimately thinks of her artistic personality, there's no denying the overwhelming power of Uchida's performances, and at least while the disc is playing, her Beethoven sonatas are wholly persuasive. Recorded in spring 2007 in La Salle de Musique, Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by producer Everett Porter and engineer Sebastian Stein, the sound, the very touch and feel, of Uchida's piano is palpable.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
An especially choice account of the Op. 106 "Hammerklavier." The long Adagio is spun out as a pensive exploration, which gives way to a final movement propelled by centripetal force.
Dallas Morning News - Scott Cantrell
[Grade: A] There's sheer magic in the very first notes of the A major Sonata (Op. 101).... Luminous, spacious recorded sound.
The Guardian - Andrew Clements
Uchida has...come up with something totally exceptional.... It is her account of the Hammerklavier that is so overwhelming, and perhaps the finest to appear on disc since Emil Gilels'.... In a year that has been blessed with a number of outstanding discs of piano music, this has to be one of the very finest.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/14/2007
Label:
Philips
UPC:
0028947586623
catalogNumber:
000941902
Rank:
119074

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
  2. Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major ("Hammerklavier"), Op. 106

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