Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 440661 times)

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Offline Marc

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3700 on: September 27, 2017, 02:42:06 AM »
This is precisely what I want to know, since I own the original release and wonder, if a purchase of the new bargain release is justified for the matter of sonic upgrading.

No remastering mentioned.

I did some reading about the Kovacevich recordings during the last years, and some reviewers mentioned the hard, direct and metallic sound. So that's what I expected.
My own experience until now: the early recordings are indeed rather harsh and metallic.
But the later ones sound good on my hifi set. Still direct, but warm and deep.

I think that, in general, the recordings match Kovacevich's own insights.
And I'm happy with the purchase, because it adds something different to my collection so far.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3701 on: September 27, 2017, 03:12:29 AM »
I have 3-4 of the single issues and am rather undecided about them. The low price of the new box is tempting, of course. In my experience the sound was not as bad as some claimed but not good either (and even less pleasant).
And while I generally like fast Beethoven (Gulda/Amadeo is still a great favorite in many sonatas) Kovacevich is sometimes too relentlessly fast and brutal for me. E.g the first movement of op.2/1 mentioned above is way too fast in my opinion. It should feel slower than the finale and while K is fast in the finale he is so faster in the first one. He is also often quite fast in slow movements.

Overall the older Philips recordings (only 8 sonatas + Diabellis and Bagatelles, though) have far more pleasant sound and they are more "balanced" (also more "mainstream") performances. The concertos with Davis are also very good.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 04:09:10 AM by Jo498 »
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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3702 on: September 27, 2017, 03:23:42 AM »
I never had any issue with the sound at all.** In my view any aggression comes from the playing.

**Noting that some of the early recordings of the single issues were replaced by new ones in the box set.
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Offline George

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3703 on: September 27, 2017, 07:55:00 AM »
No remastering mentioned.

I did some reading about the Kovacevich recordings during the last years, and some reviewers mentioned the hard, direct and metallic sound. So that's what I expected.
My own experience until now: the early recordings are indeed rather harsh and metallic.
But the later ones sound good on my hifi set. Still direct, but warm and deep.

That hard, direct, metallic sound is certainly system dependent. And of course, the words themselves are subjective. What matters, I think it whether or not you like the performances and sound. And it sounds like you do.   
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3704 on: September 28, 2017, 06:21:19 AM »
Another new cycle is set to launch: Volume 1, Opp 26, 27, & 28, from Maurizio Paciariello on Da Vinci Classics. 
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3705 on: October 10, 2017, 04:14:45 AM »
Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle Survey updated: Richard Goode's 1993 Nonesuch cycle has been re-issued by Warner -- and, as has been mentioned here -- Kovacevich, too.


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 4, 1990 - 1996

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3706 on: October 22, 2017, 01:15:15 PM »
After relistening to one cycle, and listening to three new (to me) cycles, I've updated my tiers.  This leaves Kazune Shimizu I, Michael Houstoun I, Sequeira Costa, and the soon to be released Martin Rasch as the four cycles I have yet to listen to in their entirety, and then I'll be out of single pianist cycles to hear, save Shoko Sugitani's overpriced set.


Top Tier – The Holy Tetrarchy
Annie Fischer (Hungarton)
Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, mono)
Wilhelm Backhaus (mono)

[Rudolf Serkin; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Top Tier – The Rest of the Top Ten (sort of in order)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, stereo)
Eric Heidsieck
Russell Sherman
Andrea Lucchesini
Emil Gilels
Daniel-Ben Pienaar

[Sviatoslav Richter; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Second Tier (in no particular order)
Artur Schnabel
Bernard Roberts
Claude Frank
Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 2005)
Eduardo del Pueyo
Francois Frederic Guy
Friedrich Gulda (Orfeo)
Maurizio Pollini
Michael Levinas
Paul Badura-Skoda (JVC/Astree; needs A/B with top 10 contenders)
Peter Takacs
Robert Silverman
Rudolf Buchbinder (Unitel)
Seymour Lipkin
Takahiro Sonoda (Denon)
Takahiro Sonoda (Evica; needs A/B with top 10 contenders)
Wilhelm Backhaus (stereo)
Younwha Lee
Yu Kosuge
Yusuke Kikuchi

[Bruce Hungerford; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Third Tier (in no particular order)
Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Mirare)
Akiyoshi Sako
Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1970s)
Alfred Brendel (Vox)
Alfredo Perl
Andras Schiff
Claudio Arrau (1960s)
Claudio Arrau (1980s)
Craig Sheppard
Daniel Barenboim (DG)
Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 1960s)
David Allen Wehr
Dieter Zechlin
Friedrich Gulda (Decca)
Garrick Ohlsson
Gerard Willems
Gerhard Oppitz
Ian Hobson
Ichiro Nodaira (may be second tier stuff – Op 31 is so freakin' good . . .)
Irina Mejoueva
John O'Conor
Kun-Woo Paik
Louie Lortie
Malcolm Binns (borderline tier four?)
Michael Houstoun (Rattle)
Michael Korstick
Paul Badura-Skoda (Gramola)
Pavaali Jumppanen
Peter Rösel
Rudolf Buchbinder (Teldec)
Stephen Kovacevich
Stewart Goodyear
Wilhelm Kempff (1961, King International)
Yaeko Yamane
Yves Nat


Fourth Tier (in no particular order)
Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Forlane)
Aldo Ciccolini
Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1990s)
Andre De Groote
Anton Kuerti
Christian Leotta
Dino Ciani
Georges Pludermacher
Idil Biret
Ikuyo Nakamichi
Jean Bernard Pommier
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
Jean Muller
Jeno Jando
John Lill
Mari Kodama
Maria Grinburg
Melodie Zhao
Paul Lewis
Richard Goode
Ronald Brautigam
Robert Taub
Rudolf Buchbinder (RCA)
Steven Herbert Smith
Steven Masi
Timothy Ehlen
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Walter Gieseking (Tahra)
Yukio Yokoyama


Bottom Tier (in sorta particular order)
[Glenn Gould; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]
HJ Lim
Rita Bouboulidi
Tatiana Nikolayeva
Anne Oland
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 06:24:29 AM by Todd »
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Offline Marc

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3707 on: October 22, 2017, 01:22:30 PM »
After relistening to one cycle, and listening to three new (to me) cycles, I've updated my tiers.  This leaves Kazune Shimizu I, Michael Houstoun I, Sequeira Costa, and the soon to be released Martin Rasch as the four cycles I have yet to listen to in their entirety, and then I'll be out of single pianist cycles to hear, save Shoko Sugitani's overpriced set.


Top Tier – The Holy Tetrarchy
Annie Fischer (Hungarton)
Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, mono)
Wilhelm Backhaus (mono)

[Rudolf Serkin; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]

[...]

That's funny. I'm downloading one of your 'top tiers' right now (Kempff mono).
I already love the Kempff stereo, and I just couldn't resist.
He was my 'invitation to Ludwig', many many years ago. Concertos and the 3 'famous' sonatas (opp. 13, 27/2 and 57). Dad's vinyl.
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Offline San Antonio

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3708 on: October 22, 2017, 02:54:59 PM »
After relistening to one cycle, and listening to three new (to me) cycles, I've updated my tiers.  This leaves Kazune Shimizu I, Michael Houstoun I, Sequeira Costa, and the soon to be released Martin Rasch as the four cycles I have yet to listen to in their entirety, and then I'll be out of single pianist cycles to hear, save Shoko Sugitani's overpriced set.


Top Tier – The Holy Tetrarchy
Annie Fischer (Hungarton)
Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, mono)
Wilhelm Backhaus (mono)

[Rudolf Serkin; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Top Tier – The Rest of the Top Ten (sort of in order)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, stereo)
Eric Heidsieck
Russell Sherman
Andrea Lucchesini
Emil Gilels
Daniel-Ben Pienaar

[Sviatoslav Richter; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Second Tier (in no particular order)
Artur Schnabel
Bernard Roberts
Claude Frank
Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 2005)
Eduardo del Pueyo
Francois Frederic Guy
Friedrich Gulda (Orfeo)
Maurizio Pollini
Michael Levinas
Paul Badura-Skoda (JVC/Astree; needs A/B with top 10 contenders)
Peter Takacs
Robert Silverman
Rudolf Buchbinder (Unitel)
Seymour Lipkin
Takahiro Sonoda (Denon)
Takahiro Sonoda (Evica; needs A/B with top 10 contenders)
Wilhelm Backhaus (stereo)
Younwha Lee
Yu Kosuge
Yusuke Kikuchi

[Bruce Hungerford; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Third Tier (in no particular order)
Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Mirare)
Akiyoshi Sako
Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1970s)
Alfred Brendel (Vox)
Alfredo Perl
Andras Schiff
Claudio Arrau (1960s)
Claudio Arrau (1980s)
Craig Sheppard
Daniel Barenboim (DG)
Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 1960s)
David Allen Wehr
Dieter Zechlin
Friedrich Gulda (Decca)
Garrick Ohlsson
Gerard Willems
Gerhard Oppitz
Ian Hobson
Ichiro Nodaira (may be second tier stuff – Op 31 is so freakin' good . . .)
Irina Mejoueva
John O'Conor
Kun-Woo Paik
Louie Lortie
Malcolm Binns (borderline tier four?)
Michael Houstoun (Rattle)
Michael Korstick
Paul Badura-Skoda (Gramola)
Pavaali Jumppanen
Peter Rösel
Rudolf Buchbinder (Teldec)
Stephen Kovacevich
Stewart Goodyear
Wilhelm Kempff (1961, King International)
Yaeko Yamane
Yves Nat


Fourth Tier (in no particular order)
Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Forlane)
Aldo Ciccolini
Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1990s)
Andre De Groote
Anton Kuerti
Christian Leotta
Dino Ciani
Georges Pludermacher
Idil Biret
Ikuyo Nakamichi
Jean Bernard Pommier
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
Jean Muller
Jeno Jando
John Lill
Mari Kodama
Maria Grinburg
Melodie Zhao
Paul Lewis
Richard Goode
Ronald Brautigam
Robert Taub
Rudolf Buchbinder (RCA)
Steven Herbert Smith
Timothy Ehlen
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Walter Gieseking (Tahra)
Yukio Yokoyama


Bottom Tier (in sorta particular order)
[Glenn Gould; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]
HJ Lim
Rita Bouboulidi
Tatiana Nikolayeva
Anne Oland

Jonathan Biss has completed six volumes in his projected complete cycle.  Any thoughts yet on where his would fall?

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3709 on: October 22, 2017, 03:00:05 PM »
Jonathan Biss has completed six volumes in his projected complete cycle.  Any thoughts yet on where his would fall?


Third tier.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3710 on: October 22, 2017, 07:11:54 PM »
In reviewing my list of cycles, the below are the cycles that I have never been able to find copies of, and/or I'm not sure if they exist.  I'm hoping some are reissued in 2020.


Unsure of status
Yoshihiro Kondo (complete?)
Paul Badura-Skoda I (Westminster - does it exist?)

Exist but can't find
Robert Riefling (aka, The Holy Grail)
Hiroaki Ooi
Michael Steinberg
Walter Gieseking (Columbia/EMI, incomplete)
Daniela Varinska
Gotthard Kladetzky
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Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3711 on: October 22, 2017, 07:20:40 PM »
In reviewing my list of cycles, the below are the cycles that I have never been able to find copies of, and/or I'm not sure if they exist.  I'm hoping some are reissued in 2020.


Unsure of status
Yoshihiro Kondo (complete?)
Paul Badura-Skoda I (Westminster - does it exist?)

Exist but can't find
Robert Riefling (aka, The Holy Grail)
Hiroaki Ooi
Michael Steinberg
Walter Gieseking (Columbia/EMI, incomplete)
Daniela Varinska
Gotthard Kladetzky

Why is Riefling the Holy Grail?

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3712 on: October 22, 2017, 07:31:43 PM »
Why is Riefling the Holy Grail?


Of the remaining complete sets that I don't own, it's the one I want to hear the most, and based on his late career Simax LvB disc, I have a hunch it will be above average qualitatively.  If the PBS Westminster set does exist, that probably becomes the Holy Grail. 
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Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3713 on: October 22, 2017, 07:43:45 PM »
Are the 3 sonatas in this set part of the cycle?

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3714 on: October 22, 2017, 07:48:03 PM »
Are the 3 sonatas in this set part of the cycle?



No, those are later.  His cycle was released in 1969/70 on Valois. 
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3715 on: October 22, 2017, 10:54:05 PM »
I do not have conclusive evidence but I am pretty sure that there was no complete Badura-Skoda on Westminster

According to the following there was a mid-50s cycle on Intercord/MHS, though:

http://www.badura-skoda.cc/en/discography_1_b.html
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The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3716 on: October 23, 2017, 04:23:41 AM »
Listened to Riefling's live 1979 Op. 111 on YouTube last night and holy cow is it good. You've got me hooked, too.

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3717 on: October 23, 2017, 05:25:02 AM »
I do not have conclusive evidence but I am pretty sure that there was no complete Badura-Skoda on Westminster

According to the following there was a mid-50s cycle on Intercord/MHS, though:

http://www.badura-skoda.cc/en/discography_1_b.html


My misstatement, that is the phantom cycle I am referring to.  I used the contact feature on the website to see if the set existed, but never heard back.  I've found some used LPs from the cycle, but never the whole thing.  The same holds true for the Riefling cycle.


Listened to Riefling's live 1979 Op. 111 on YouTube last night and holy cow is it good. You've got me hooked, too.


The late career LvB I referred to is even later.  I have to hear the late 70s stuff now.

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3718 on: October 27, 2017, 06:46:33 AM »
In reviewing my list of cycles, the below are the cycles that I have never been able to find copies of, and/or I'm not sure if they exist.  I'm hoping some are reissued in 2020.


Unsure of status
Yoshihiro Kondo (complete?)
Paul Badura-Skoda I (Westminster - does it exist?)

If all goes well, I'll have a series of conversations with PBS later this year -- I'll definitely plan to dig into his discography with him. He's got records of almost everything he did; so I should find out about it.

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #3719 on: October 27, 2017, 06:53:53 AM »
If all goes well, I'll have a series of conversations with PBS later this year -- I'll definitely plan to dig into his discography with him. He's got records of almost everything he did; so I should find out about it.


Sweet.  It is a disservice to humanity if a cycle languishes in a vault somewhere. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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