- Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49/1
- Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49/2
- Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14/1
- Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14/2
- Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22
Three volumes into his long-awaited survey of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, it's clear that András Schiff is matching, and even exceeding, the stellar level of his Schubert sonata cycle from the 1990s, to name just one of his notable achievements on record. Proceeding chronologically, this volume takes us up to the breaking point of the year 1800, finishing off the early sonatas in which Beethoven explored the limits of the musical forms he had inherited. While it should be even more interesting to hear Schiff's take on the next group of sonatas -- where Beethoven progressively began to blow those forms wide open -- the five works on this disc are no less essential. Don't let the opus numbers fool you: The two sonatas Op. 49, often considered Beethoven's "easy" sonatas intended for young players, were written prior to Op. 14 and 22 but only published years later. Easy or not, Schiff is the pianist to play them with full respect for their inward-looking emotional nuances; as with any Beethoven, there's more depth to these works than a novice could be expected to uncover, and Schiff excels at getting to the heart of their eloquent lyricism. In the two sonatas Op. 14 -- especially the second -- Schiff brings out Beethoven's undeniable wit, too. Surprising twists and turns abound in the central variations and final Scherzo of the G Major Sonata, and Schiff performs as if spontaneously discovering it for the first time. With the Sonata No. 11, Op. 22 -- by far the longest work on this disc, and the only one to span a grand four-movement form -- a more familiar Beethoven comes to the fore, even approaching at times the heroic mode of his later works. It's hard to imagine a better guide than Schiff to this work, or to any of the others featured here: With each turn of phrase, it's evident how carefully he's considered every aspect of this music, yet also how fresh and expressive it remains every time he sits down at the keyboard to play.
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Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
For years, I've felt that Beethoven's piano sonatas are one of the most amazing bodies of musical work in existence. I own the complete cycle performed by Barenboim (the first time he did them back around 1970, not the later set). But I am now in the process of replacing it all with Andras Schiff's performances. I first became aware of these recordings through an e-mail from ECM (I'm on their mailing list, as I am a long-time fan of their jazz/contemporary offerings). I then found a fascinating series of lectures Schiff gave on Beethoven's sonatas (http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/page/0,,1943867,00.html). After listening to a couple of the lectures, I decided to buy one of the ECM Schiff CDs. I was completely blown away! At this point, I'm just a couple of CDs away from owning the entire sonata cycle by Schiff. I have not been disappointed by any of them so far. Hearing the fresh interpretations (and ECM's crisp production) in these performances has been a revelation. Schiff's pacing and dynamics just "feel right" to me. (Not that I had a problem with Barenboim... at least not until hearing Schiff's versions!) Very highly recommended.