Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 27 No. 1, Op. 31 No. 2, Op. 79, Op. 109

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 27 No. 1, Op. 31 No. 2, Op. 79, Op. 109

by Angela Hewitt

CD

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Overview

Canada's Angela Hewitt would be on anybody's list of the world's great pianists, but she has been known as a Bach specialist. Her cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas on Hyperion has, to an extent, been what you might expect: technically precise, individualistic, a bit idiosyncratic. What listeners may not have been prepared for is how high the highs are. Here it is absolutely essential to stick around through the whole program. Hewitt's "Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (Tempest)," has odd features: violent accents in the outer movements, and a curious de-emphasis of the octave ornament figure that plays such an important structural role in the slow movement. Her "Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27, No. 1," is elegant but light, and the easy "Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major" in Hewitt's hands is given a weight in the finale that it can't quite support. None of this matters when the "Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109," comes around with its ecstatic and perilously difficult finale. Hewitt's free thinking serves her well here: she takes the unusual step of giving the opening movement (and to a degree the middle one) a heft to balance the giant variation set at the end. And what a variation set it is! In the dense variations at the climax, Hewitt gives a very strong sense of pushing herself to the limit. Yet everything remains clear: the contrapuntist Hewitt is very much in evidence. Taken together, this is a landmark "Piano Sonata No. 30," and the album is very much worth your money for this sonata alone. The Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin is not quite the right place for these exertions, but at least it does no damage to Hewitt's stunning accomplishment. ~ James Manheim

Product Details

Release Date: 06/01/2018
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571281995
catalogNumber: 68199
Rank: 103361

Tracks

  1. Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
  2. Piano Sonata No. 25 in G major ("Cuckoo"), Op. 79
  3. Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major ("Quasi una fantasia"), Op. 27/1
  4. Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor ("Tempest"), Op. 31/2

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