Brahms: Piano Sonata in F Minor, etc.by Evgeny Kissin
Schumann called Brahms's youthful piano sonatas "veiled symphonies," which would make them a natural fit for powerhouse Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin. On this all-Brahms disc, Kissin starts off with the massive F Minor Sonata, Op. 5, whose five movements certainly betray orchestral aspirations. And Kissin brings plenty of Romantic passion to the ardent score, offering a muscular interpretation full of intensity and grandeur, though muddy textures are the price he occasionally pays. Still, Kissin's technique is simply breathtaking -- listen to the brilliant cascades of notes in the Finale, for instance, for some awe-inspiring pianism. For the middle works on the program, Kissin moves on to a pair of miniatures from the Op. 76 collection, the A Minor Intermezzo and B Minor Capriccio, finding poetry in the former's delicate lyricism and in the latter's playful rhythms. But to conclude the disc, he lets his fingers loose again in five of the Hungarian Dances, carrying off these familiar pieces with hot-blooded energy and a dexterity that dazzles. Not for the faint of heart.
- Release Date:
- Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5 - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Intermezzo for piano in A minor, Op. 76/7 - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Capriccio for piano in B minor, Op. 76/2 - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Hungarian Dance No. 1 for piano in G minor - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Hungarian Dance No. 3 for piano in F major - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Hungarian Dance No. 2 for piano in D minor - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Hungarian Dance No. 7 for piano in A major - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
- Hungarian Dance No. 6 for piano in D flat major - Johannes Brahms - Evgeny Kissin
Performance CreditsEvgeny Kissin Primary Artist
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
(1) Brahms’ F Minor piano sonata is one of the longest, most ambitious, and most impressive ever written. Any competent (and, in the wake of the Joyce Hatto scandal, authentic) recording of the work automatically will receive attention from current record-buyers, while any truly magnificent recording will be treasured by present and future generations. This late 2001 recording by Russian virtuoso pianist Evgeny Kissin, while short of “truly magnificent,” is extremely good and may yet come to be regarded as a classic. (2) The most commendable aspect of the recording is that Kissin unerringly maintains a sense of forward momentum in a work that, due to its length and use of repeats, all too easily can become static. Two factors, closely related, account for this: Kissin’s technical prowess, which enables him to blitz through the most demanding passages with hair-raising ease, and his tempo choices, which invariably are quick but never seem rushed. The quick tempos are one reason why Kissin does not find the same depth of expression in the work as does, say, Julius Katchen in his 1960’s stereo recording. The other reason, of course, is Katchen’s singular affinity with Brahms. Kissin, however, convincingly outplays Katchen in the knuckle-busting first movement and in general delivers a performance that does not strike me as superficial. Someday, I hope to compare Kissin’s recording to Katchen’s 1949 mono recording, in which Katchen reportedly attacks the work with unbridled ferocity. (3) Mention of 1949 mono sound brings me to the issue of sound quality on the Kissin recording. Simply put, it is acceptable but should have been better, given the December 2001 recording date. The recording is not at all muddy, but it does seem slightly recessed and also slightly metallic in some fortissimo passages. The sound quality, however, should not dissuade you from acquiring this disc, as Kissin’s performance would merit four stars even with good 1949 mono sound. With acceptable 2001 sound, it merits four and a half stars. Add to that the absolutely superb booklet notes and the interesting fillers, and you have a five-star release. (4) One caveat: the F Minor sonata is a warhorse, so in addition to this Kissin recording you should consider whatever favorably reviewed recordings have hit store shelves in the last three or four years (excluding ones by Joyce Hatto, of course).