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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: George on July 21, 2007, 06:27:17 PM

Title: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 21, 2007, 06:27:17 PM

Originally, I had the idea of starting a thread about creating a new box set of Beethoven's 32 sonatas by 32 different pianists.

I posted a list of my favorites in each (below) and tried to whittle it down unsuccessfully.

I decided it was too narrow a topic, so I have changed the topic to simply be "Beethoven's 32 Sonatas" so that we can have a thread to discuss anything in regards to these incredible works. Feel free to post reviews, your favorites, questions, etc.  :)


 Early

1. Op 2/1 – Fischer/Schnabel --- Gulda, Kovacevich, Backhaus, Barenboim, Nat, Serkin

2. Op 2/2 – Fischer/Schnabel/Hungerford – Casadesus, Gulda, Gilels, Barenboim, Backhaus, Nat

3. Op 2/3 – Gulda – Gilels, Kempff(m), Backhaus, Barenboim, Solomon(Pearl) Kovacevich, Solomon, Nat

4. Op 7 – Richter – Barenboim, Nat, Gulda, Kempff(m), Hungerford, Gilels, Backhaus, Goode

5. Op 10/1 – Kovacevich – Fischer, Gulda, Gilels, Hungerford, Nat, Yudina, Kempff(m), Backhaus

6. Op 10/2 – Kovacevich – Fischer, Backhaus, Hungerford, Gulda, Schnabel, Serkin, Kempff (m)

7. Op 10/3 – Schnabel – Kovacevich, Gilels, Fischer, Richter, Kempff(m)/Backhaus /Gulda

8. “Pathetique”  Moravec–Serkin(m), Serkin(st),  Fischer,  Gilels,  Nat, Kovacevich, Gulda, Backhaus, Schnabel

9. Op 14/1 – Gulda – Fischer,  Backhaus,  Gieseking,  Kovacevich,  Schnabel

10. Op 14/2 – Barenboim – Richter,  Gulda,  Backhaus,  Kempff(m),  Goode

11. Op 22 – Barenboim – Gulda, Serkin, Gilels, Kempff(m), Richter, Nat, Backhaus

12. Op 26 – Richter – Barenboim, Yudina, Gilels,  Gulda,  Goode,  Backhaus, Nat

13. Op 27/1 – Fischer – Gilels, Gulda, Solomon, Schnabel, Hungerford, Serkin

14. Op 27/2 – “Moonlight” Lupu/Fischer/Roberts – Gilels/Rubinstein/Serkin(m),  Moravec, Gulda, Serkin (st), Solomon, Hungerford, Backhaus, Nat

15. Op 28 – “Pastoral”  Kovacevich – Gulda,  Kempff(st),  Schnabel


   
Middle Period Sonatas

16. Op 31/1 – Fischer – Gulda,  Kempff(m),  Gilels,  Goode,  Yudina, Roberts, Backhaus, Nat

17. Op 31/2 – “Tempest”   Fischer – Richter,  Gilels,  Gulda,  Schnabel,  Nat, Goode,  Backhaus,  Roberts,  Haskil

18. Op 31/3 – Fischer – Goode,  Kovacevich(gpotc),  Kempff(m),  Backhaus,  Haskil

19. Op 49/1 – Gulda – Richter,  Hungerford,  Fischer,  Schnabel,  Barenboim 

20. Op 49/2 – Gulda – Schnabel,  Hungerford,  Kempff(m),  Goode,  O’Conor,  Backhaus, Nat

21. Op 53 – “Waldstein” Serkin (m) - Fischer/Gilels, Horowitz, Schnabel, Backhaus, Nat, Gieseking,  Kempff(m)

22. Op 54 – Fischer – Richter, Solomon, Kempff(m), Yudina

23. Op 57 – “Appassionata” Fischer – Arrau/Richter, Roberts, Goode, Horowitz, Serkin(m), Nat, Kempff(m)

24. Op 78 – Barenboim/Kempff(m)/Serkin(m) – Schnabel, O’Conor

25. Op 79 – Goode/Kempff(m) – Schnabel,  Gilels,  Barenboim,  Gulda

26. Op 81a – “Les Adieux” Gilels/Fischer – Barenboim/Moravec/Serkin (m), Roberts, Rubinstein, Schnabel, Kovacevich



Late Sonatas

27. Op 90 – Fischer – Barenboim/Kempff(m)/Gilels,  Gulda,  Richter, Backhaus, Yudina

28. Op 101 – Fischer – Kempff(st),  Pollini,  Yudina, Gilels,  Barenboim   

29. “Hammerklavier”   Pollini – Gulda, Fischer, Solomon, Serkin, Yudina, Barenboim, Nat, Backhaus, Kempff(m), Gilels

30. Op 109 – Fischer/Pollini/Serkin(m) – Gulda, Schnabel, Barenboim, Richter, Backhaus, Serkin(st), Gilels, Nat, Kempff(m)

31. Op 110 – Serkin(st,1960) - Fischer/Kempff(st)/Gilels/Roberts , Pollini,  Nat, Schnabel,  Barenboim,  Richter,  Backhaus, Hungerford

32. Op 111 – Yudina(studio) - Fischer/Kempff(st)/Gulda,  Pollini/Barenboim/Richter/Schnabel/Serkin(st), Nat, Backhaus, Hungerford



 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 22, 2007, 07:37:28 AM
If I were to try and choose a different pianist for each of the 32, this is what I would come up with (I know, I cheated a bit, Schnabel, Serkin, Kovacevich and Kempff were used twice. To be fair, only the Schnabel was from the same set, as the other three were from different labels/times. Also, these duplicates appear in different periods as well.):


 Early Sonatas

1. Op 2/1 – Schnabel

2. Op 2/2 – Hungerford 

3. Op 2/3 – Solomon (Pearl)

4. Op 7 – Nat

5. Op 10/1 – Kovacevich

6. Op 10/2 – Backhaus

7. Op 10/3 – Gilels

8. “Pathetique”  Moravec

9. Op 14/1 – Gieseking

10. Op 14/2 – Barenboim

11. Op 22 – Serkin

12. Op 26 – Richter

13. Op 27/1 –Solomon

14. Op 27/2 – “Moonlight” - Lupu

15. Op 28 – “Pastoral” - Kempff(st)


   
Middle Period Sonatas

16. Op 31/1 – Goode

17. Op 31/2 – Haskil

18. Op 31/3 – Kovacevich(Philips)

19. Op 49/1 – Gulda

20. Op 49/2 – O’Conor

21. Op 53 – “Waldstein” - Horowitz (Sony)

22. Op 54 – Fischer

23. Op 57 – “Appassionata” – Arrau

24. Op 78 – Barenboim

25. Op 79 – Schnabel

26. Op 81a – “Les Adieux” - Roberts



Late Sonatas

27. Op 90 – Kempff(m)

28. Op 101 – Yudina

29. “Hammerklavier”   Pollini

30. Op 109 – Grimaud (live)

31. Op 110 – Serkin(st,1960)

32. Op 111 – Badura-Skoda (Live)



 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: aquablob on July 22, 2007, 08:22:29 AM
This is crazy... I certainly have my favorites for particular sonatas, but I definitely don't have 32 pianists in the Beethoven piano sonatas!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on July 22, 2007, 08:27:50 AM
This is George's specialism. One in which I expect Todd shares. ;)

Bit like me with Rachmaninov's All-night Vigil: if I so desired, I could choose a different performance for each of the 15 parts. And still have four performances left untouched. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 22, 2007, 11:39:14 AM
This is George's specialism. One in which I expect Todd shares. ;)

So do I, but I find it very difficult - not to say impossible, to name a single favorite in each Sonata. The truth is rarely unambiguous. On the contrary I enjoy all these different interpretations, which throw light upon each other.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 22, 2007, 01:06:55 PM
This is crazy... I certainly have my favorites for particular sonatas, but I definitely don't have 32 pianists in the Beethoven piano sonatas!

Neither do I....yet.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on July 22, 2007, 01:32:11 PM
I’ve got more than 32 pianists in each work, and I wouldn't even try this, especially since some of the pianists would show up multiple times.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: val on July 23, 2007, 12:17:16 AM
For now my choice would be (but with some doubts):

opus 2/1: Schnabel or Arrau

opus 2/2: Arrau or Brendel (VOX)

opus 2/3: Richer (Prague)

opus 7: Michelangeli

opus 10/1: Brendel

opus 10/2: Kempff (1951) or Arrau

opus 10/3: Schnabel (here without any doubt!)

opus 13: Serkin

opus 14/1 and 2: Schnabel

opus 22: Arrau

opus 26: Backhaus or Gulda

opus 27/1: Kempff

opus 27/2: Kempff, Serkin or Arrau

opus 28: Backhaus, Brendel, Kempff

opus 31/1: Gulda, Brendel

opus 31/2: Brendel, Backhaus, Gulda

opus 31/3: Kempff, Haskil

opus 49/1 and 2: Brendel (VOX)

opus 53: Arrau, Schnabel

opus 54: Backhaus

opus 57: Backhaus, Richter (RCA), Richter (Prague)

opus 78: Kempff

opus 79: Gulda, Backhaus

opus 81 A: Serkin

opus 90: Solomon

opus 101: Arrau, Richter (Prague)

opus 106: Gilels, Brendel (VOX), Richter (Prague), Arrau

opus 109: Serkin, Gulda

opus 110: Gulda, Solomon, Schnabel, Backhaus

opus 111: Gulda, Solomon
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on July 23, 2007, 01:54:58 AM
Just like the title says, if you could create a new box set of Beethoven's 32 sonatas by 32 different pianists, who would they be and which works would they play?

(I will whittle this list down tomorrow, as I don't have time right now. It's a list I have been compiling of my favorites, in order, left to right. Fischer is Annie Fischer)


 Early

1. Op 2/1 – Fischer/Schnabel --- Gulda, Kovacevich, Backhaus, Barenboim, Nat, Serkin

2. Op 2/2 – Fischer/Schnabel/Hungerford – Casadesus, Gulda, Gilels, Barenboim, Backhaus, Nat

3. Op 2/3 – Gulda – Gilels, Kempff(m), Backhaus, Barenboim, Solomon(Pearl) Kovacevich, Solomon, Nat

4. Op 7 – Richter – Barenboim, Nat, Gulda, Kempff(m), Hungerford, Gilels, Backhaus, Goode

5. Op 10/1 – Kovacevich – Fischer, Gulda, Gilels, Hungerford, Nat, Yudina, Kempff(m), Backhaus

6. Op 10/2 – Kovacevich – Fischer, Backhaus, Hungerford, Gulda, Schnabel, Serkin, Kempff (m)

7. Op 10/3 – Schnabel – Kovacevich, Gilels, Fischer, Richter, Kempff(m)/Backhaus /Gulda

8. “Pathetique”  Moravec–Serkin(m), Serkin(st),  Fischer,  Gilels,  Nat, Kovacevich, Gulda, Backhaus, Schnabel

9. Op 14/1 – Gulda – Fischer,  Backhaus,  Gieseking,  Kovacevich,  Schnabel

10. Op 14/2 – Barenboim – Richter,  Gulda,  Backhaus,  Kempff(m),  Goode

11. Op 22 – Barenboim – Gulda, Serkin, Gilels, Kempff(m), Richter, Nat, Backhaus

12. Op 26 – Richter – Barenboim, Yudina, Gilels,  Gulda,  Goode,  Backhaus, Nat

13. Op 27/1 – Fischer – Gilels, Gulda, Solomon, Schnabel, Hungerford, Serkin

14. Op 27/2 – “Moonlight” Lupu/Fischer/Roberts – Gilels/Rubinstein/Serkin(m),  Moravec, Gulda, Serkin (st), Solomon, Hungerford, Backhaus, Nat

15. Op 28 – “Pastoral”  Kovacevich – Gulda,  Kempff(st),  Schnabel


   
Middle Period Sonatas

16. Op 31/1 – Fischer – Gulda,  Kempff(m),  Gilels,  Goode,  Yudina, Roberts, Backhaus, Nat

17. Op 31/2 – “Tempest”   Fischer – Richter,  Gilels,  Gulda,  Schnabel,  Nat, Goode,  Backhaus,  Roberts,  Haskil

18. Op 31/3 – Fischer – Goode,  Kovacevich(gpotc),  Kempff(m),  Backhaus,  Haskil

19. Op 49/1 – Gulda – Richter,  Hungerford,  Fischer,  Schnabel,  Barenboim 

20. Op 49/2 – Gulda – Schnabel,  Hungerford,  Kempff(m),  Goode,  O’Conor,  Backhaus, Nat

21. Op 53 – “Waldstein” Serkin (m) - Fischer/Gilels, Horowitz, Schnabel, Backhaus, Nat, Gieseking,  Kempff(m)

22. Op 54 – Fischer – Richter, Solomon, Kempff(m), Yudina

23. Op 57 – “Appassionata” Fischer – Arrau/Richter, Roberts, Goode, Horowitz, Serkin(m), Nat, Kempff(m)

24. Op 78 – Barenboim/Kempff(m)/Serkin(m) – Schnabel, O’Conor

25. Op 79 – Goode/Kempff(m) – Schnabel,  Gilels,  Barenboim,  Gulda

26. Op 81a – “Les Adieux” Gilels/Fischer – Barenboim/Moravec/Serkin (m), Roberts, Rubinstein, Schnabel, Kovacevich



Late Sonatas

27. Op 90 – Fischer – Barenboim/Kempff(m)/Gilels,  Gulda,  Richter, Backhaus, Yudina

28. Op 101 – Fischer – Kempff(st),  Pollini,  Yudina, Gilels,  Barenboim   

29. “Hammerklavier”   Pollini – Gulda, Fischer, Solomon, Serkin, Yudina, Barenboim, Nat, Backhaus, Kempff(m), Gilels

30. Op 109 – Fischer/Pollini/Serkin(m) – Gulda, Schnabel, Barenboim, Richter, Backhaus, Serkin(st), Gilels, Nat, Kempff(m)

31. Op 110 – Serkin(st,1960) - Fischer/Kempff(st)/Gilels/Roberts , Pollini,  Nat, Schnabel,  Barenboim,  Richter,  Backhaus, Hungerford

32. Op 111 – Yudina(studio) - Fischer/Kempff(st)/Gulda,  Pollini/Barenboim/Richter/Schnabel/Serkin(st), Nat, Backhaus, Hungerford



  George, what can I say..you are a true Beethoven Specialist.  I can not think of anybody on this forum that knows the Beethoven sonatas quite as well as you do.  I have read your previous threads on the old GMG forum where you have compared all the various recordings of the sonatas ranking them according to ENJOYMENT  :) (this is the sort of ranking method that we need more of on the GMG forum) I followed your advice and picked up the GULDA BOXSET last March....I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!!!

 marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 23, 2007, 02:07:58 AM
  George, what can I say..you are a true Beethoven Specialist.  I can not think of anybody on this forum that knows the Beethoven sonatas quite as well as you do.  I have read your previous threads on the old GMG forum where you have compared all the various recordings of the sonatas ranking them according to ENJOYMENT  :) (this is the sort of ranking method that we need more of on the GMG forum) I followed your advice and picked up the GULDA BOXSET last March....I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!!!

 marvin

I'm very glad to hear you enjoyed the Gulda, it certainly is an incredible bargain!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 23, 2007, 02:17:36 AM

I've decided to expand the scope of this thread to simply be Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. I will change the thread title.

This way, we'll have one place to discuss them in a more general way.


I plan to start listening to my Goode cycle (and some other single and double discs, including Eschenbach's EMI 2fer) for the first time and will post my thoughts here.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 23, 2007, 02:24:10 AM
This is crazy... I certainly have my favorites for particular sonatas, but I definitely don't have 32 pianists in the Beethoven piano sonatas!

I know, I have since changed the topic. I hope that will open up the discussion.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 23, 2007, 02:25:53 AM
So do I, but I find it very difficult - not to say impossible, to name a single favorite in each Sonata. The truth is rarely unambiguous. On the contrary I enjoy all these different interpretations, which throw light upon each other.

You make a great point. I have since widened the focus of this thread so that I hope you and others with post your thoughts about the sonatas.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 23, 2007, 02:30:55 AM
For now my choice would be (but with some doubts):

opus 2/1: Schnabel or Arrau

opus 2/2: Arrau or Brendel (VOX)....


....opus 111: Gulda, Solomon


Thanks for posting this, Val!  :)

I take it Brendel's listings are only VOX where indicated and the others are Philips?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: aquablob on July 23, 2007, 06:54:24 AM
George, you really don't like Gieseking in Opp. 109 and 110, huh?  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 23, 2007, 07:10:08 AM
George, you really don't like Gieseking in Opp. 109 and 110, huh?  ;)

I do, actually, he's just not among my favorites. There is a nice tenderness about his playing. However, I think that the sound limitations hinder the impact of the performance, especially in louder passages. Also in Op. 110, he rushes though the central movement, ruining it for me.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: MishaK on July 23, 2007, 07:28:44 AM
Middle Period Sonatas

...

19. Op 49/1 – Gulda

20. Op 49/2 – O’Conor

IIRC, these two were written by Beethoven much earlier and only published fairly late. But stylistically they should be considered "early" sonatas. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on July 23, 2007, 08:58:29 AM
IIRC, these two were written by Beethoven much earlier and only published fairly late. But stylistically they should be considered "early" sonatas. Correct me if I'm wrong.

You aren't wrong...

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on July 23, 2007, 11:43:07 AM
OK, here's my list based on what I have and have heard. There will be a number of repetitions as I don't have 32 pianists doing the PS

Op 2/1 Richter
Op 2/2 Richter-Haaser
Op2/3 Richter
Op 7 Brendel (VOX)
Op 10/1 Schnabel
Op 10/2 Hungerford
Op 10/3 Argerich (bet that one's a surprise!)
Op 13 Richter
Op 14/1 Barenboim EMI
Op 14/2 Richter
Op 22 Kempff
Op 26 Richter
Op 27/1 Fischer
Op 27/2 Solomon
Op 28 Sokolov
Op 31/1 Renard
Op 31/2 Hungerford
Op 31/3 Rubinstein
Op 49/1 Fischer
Op49/2 Gilels
Op 53 Tomsic
Op 54 Fischer
Op 57 Richter or Rubinstein '45
Op 78 Gulda
Op 79 Schnabel
Op 81a Gilels
Op 90 Moravec
Op 101 Fischer
Op 106 Solomon
Op 109 Levy
Op 110 Hungerford
Op 111 Arrau (DVD)

Fischer is Annie
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: BorisG on July 23, 2007, 01:06:12 PM
I am surpised there is not much mention of Gould.  ???I like him for the earlies and the Hammer. Sprinkeled throughout the remaining, Lortie, Gulda, Kovacevich, Kempff, Gilels, Brendel.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on July 23, 2007, 11:17:05 PM
Originally, I had the idea of starting a thread about creating a new box set of Beethoven's 32 sonatas by 32 different pianists.

I posted a list of my favorites in each (below) and tried to whittle it down unsuccessfully.

I decided it was too narrow a topic, so I have changed the topic to simply be "Beethoven's 32 Sonatas" so that we can have a thread to discuss anything in regards to these incredible works. Feel free to post reviews, your favorites, questions, etc.  :)

Excellent thread George! :)

I'm not very knowledgeable on the LvB sonatas - I've had an episode of several years that I was off piano solo repertoire altogether - but I'm catching up now!  ;D However, now my interest is back, it seems to shift towards HIP performances. As you know, I'm very much into Paul Komen's LvB recordings lately.
All this has not put me of the "regular" piano recordings, but does affect my taste in these.

Browsing to your list I noticed some of my own favourites like Schnabel, Solomon and Kempff. Though my appreciation for Kempff seems to be fading a bit... Annie Fischer is prominently present in your list - I heard her Beethoven a few times and found it very attractive - "Schumannesque" I would say. Need to check her LvB some time!. That goes for Backhaus too - are you refering to his first LvB cycle or his second?

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scriptavolant on July 24, 2007, 03:42:41 AM
I've listened - following George's list - to the late three sonatas interpreted by Schnabel, Gulda Serkin, Pollini, Kempff, Richter, Yudina and Brendel.
Neither of these sounded "wrong" or plain inferior to another one considering the pianist relationship with the music; but if I should rate them on my taste, I'd say that Richter is the only one who almost disappointed me - some passages are blury, he takes the Allegro Molto from Op. 110 with exhausting slowness. Schnabel is the more literally visionary interpreter, so maybe Schnabel's late 3 sonatas may be considered quite philological, considering the adherence to the original poetical issue.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 24, 2007, 04:32:41 AM
Excellent thread George! :)

Thanks!

Quote
I'm not very knowledgeable on the LvB sonatas - I've had an episode of several years that I was off piano solo repertoire altogether - but I'm catching up now!  ;D However, now my interest is back, it seems to shift towards HIP performances. As you know, I'm very much into Paul Komen's LvB recordings lately.
All this has not put me of the "regular" piano recordings, but does affect my taste in these.

Yes, I hope to get Brautigam's cycle once it is finished.

Quote
Browsing to your list I noticed some of my own favourites like Schnabel, Solomon and Kempff. Though my appreciation for Kempff seems to be fading a bit... Annie Fischer is prominently present in your list - I heard her Beethoven a few times and found it very attractive - "Schumannesque" I would say. Need to check her LvB some time!. That goes for Backhaus too - are you refering to his first LvB cycle or his second?

Q


Hold off on Annie, if you can, as I may be able to help you out there. The Backhaus is from the stereo.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 24, 2007, 04:33:50 AM
I've listened - following George's list - to the late three sonatas interpreted by Schnabel, Gulda Serkin, Pollini, Kempff, Richter, Yudina and Brendel.
Neither of these sounded "wrong" or plain inferior to another one considering the pianist relationship with the music; but if I should rate them on my taste, I'd say that Richter is the only one who almost disappointed me - some passages are blury, he takes the Allegro Molto from Op. 110 with exhausting slowness. Schnabel is the more literally visionary interpreter, so maybe Schnabel's late 3 sonatas may be considered quite philological, considering the adherence to the original poetical issue.

Which Richter did you hear?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scriptavolant on July 24, 2007, 06:26:30 AM
Which Richter did you hear?

Sviatoslav, the pianist.  :D

(It's hard to know, it is a downloaded set including Eroica and Diabelli Variations and some other piano sonata. No dates or labels were added to the set unfortunately.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Larry Rinkel on July 24, 2007, 07:18:48 AM
No mention here so far of Charles Rosen, whose late sonatas I very much like, or Eric Heidsieck.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scriptavolant on July 24, 2007, 09:06:09 AM
Charles Rosen's Beethoven seems very hard to trace. I'm sure George was looking for the Rosen, so did I with no success.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 24, 2007, 09:16:48 AM
Charles Rosen's Beethoven seems very hard to trace. I'm sure George was looking for the Rosen, so did I with no success.

Rosens late LvB sonatas nos: 27-32 incl. are contained in the Sony 60 CD LvB masterworks-box, price 40 Euro´s:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1028313
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: aquablob on July 24, 2007, 09:17:27 AM
Or:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Sonatas-Ludwig-van/dp/B00000291P
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 24, 2007, 09:25:31 AM
Or:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Sonatas-Ludwig-van/dp/B00000291P

But this offer from Amazon is second hand and more expensive ($60). And in the Sony box you get a lot of very interesting recordings in the bargain, e.g. Zinman´s Symphonies, Concertos and Ouvertures.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: aquablob on July 24, 2007, 10:23:01 AM
Good call
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sidoze on July 24, 2007, 12:47:56 PM
Op 111 Arrau (DVD)

There is something indescribably special about watching this performance. Only word I can come up with is the old hackneyed 'spiritual'. It gives a wonderful demonstration of how his hands pretty much knead the keys and the way he uses his arm weight. In fact I think it's one of those performances which will seem revelatory to people who dislike Arrau, just like the 1960 live Chopin Preludes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: aquablob on July 24, 2007, 05:08:11 PM
There is something indescribably special about watching this performance. Only word I can come up with is the old hackneyed 'spiritual'. It gives a wonderful demonstration of how his hands pretty much knead the keys and the way he uses his arm weight. In fact I think it's one of those performances which will seem revelatory to people who dislike Arrau, just like the 1960 live Chopin Preludes.

I've only seen it on YouTube, but I definitely agree (and likewise about the live Preludes).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 24, 2007, 05:23:50 PM
I've only seen it on YouTube, but I definitely agree (and likewise about the live Preludes).

I'm watching it now (didn't know it was on youtube). Nice stuff! Why is it that the video rarely synchs up with the audio on youtube?

Check PM?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Steve on July 24, 2007, 05:36:58 PM
Did Serkin record a complete cycle?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: aquablob on July 24, 2007, 05:46:40 PM
Did Serkin record a complete cycle?

Nope
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Steve on July 24, 2007, 05:57:54 PM
Nope

That's too bad. Thanks for the response, though. Which of them did he put on record?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: BorisG on July 24, 2007, 11:39:59 PM
That's too bad. Thanks for the response, though. Which of them did he put on record?

According to one discography, 17 of them. I do not feel like listing them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 25, 2007, 05:04:23 AM
Did Serkin record a complete cycle?

Link to a thread on the old GMG that should answer your questions... (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,12959.0.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: BorisG on July 25, 2007, 05:07:23 PM
Why is it that the video rarely synchs up with the audio on youtube?


YT malware infestation? ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 09, 2007, 06:01:32 PM
Tomorrow, on my day off form work, I plan to listen to some of Goode's Beethoven cycle (starting at the beginning) and will be posting my reviews here as I progress.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 10, 2007, 12:59:52 PM

Richter plays the hell out of Beethoven's Op. 111, Movement One (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulvJU85U_gA&mode=related&search=)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Haffner on August 10, 2007, 01:03:24 PM
Richter plays the hell out of Beethoven's Op. 111, Movement One (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulvJU85U_gA&mode=related&search=)






Supa-Dupa JA!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on August 13, 2007, 03:11:32 AM
Just simply fantastic.

My library is swelling up nicely. Gilels, some latest Brendel to fill the holes in, some Askhenazy and Pollini, and just recently 14 LPs with Kempff's '64 cycle. The box actually contains the complete piano music, including bagatelles and the Grosse Fuge for 4 hands. Anda and Demus play the non 32-pieces. I'm fine for a while.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 13, 2007, 04:30:42 AM

Richard Goode plays Beethoven

Op. 2, No. 1 - Goode chooses middle of the road tempos with a piano that is slightly too distantly miked for my taste. He plays well within the limits of classical style, more than any other performer I have heard in these works, an aspect that takes some getting used to. However, once I was able to accept that he wasn't going to barnstorm this work like Schnabel or Annie Fischer (my two favorites in this sonata), I was able to sit back and enjoy his solid, elegant playing. What it lacked in excitement, it sure had in beauty, especially in the second movement. Here his style is perfect for the music, with a supple, gentle touch that was only helped by the sonics. In fact, I can't remember if I have ever heard this movement played better. The minuet was absolutely characteristic, so much so that I could picture aristocrats dancing to it. In the finale, he clearly tries to generate more drama, but it fails to convince in the end.     

Op.2, No. 2 - Again, Goode plays well within the classical idiom, only here he is helped by even better sound. As in number 1, his slow movement takes the playing up a couple notches, without reaching the heights of its predecessor. I loved his playfulness in the third movement, with an impressive liquid tone. The finale provides a fitting ending to this interpretation, with a slowish tempo that fits his beautiful tone and style. When the more dramatic moments arrive, he plays convincingly, with a solid technique.     

Op.2, No. 3 - This is the opening movement that I had been waiting for. He plays with power, excitement and beauty. His reliable, solid technique served him well here. He keeps nice breathing room between phrases and outlines the sonata form impressively. It all makes perfect sense, yet is not dull or academic. In the second movement he is just as incredible, conjuring up a spellbinding mood with gorgeous playing married with great brio. In the third movement he has an infectious spark to his playing with great wit and playfulness. The finale is at the same high level, ending this Opus at a much higher level than it began. Only Gulda presents an interpretation that is equal to Goode's masterful interpretation.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on August 14, 2007, 06:50:44 AM
My library is swelling up nicely. Gilels, some latest Brendel to fill the holes in, some Askhenazy and Pollini, and just recently 14 LPs with Kempff's '64 cycle. The box actually contains the complete piano music, including bagatelles and the Grosse Fuge for 4 hands. Anda and Demus play the non 32-pieces. I'm fine for a while.
Right!
Stumbled across a Supraphon LP with Moravec playing op. 90 (PC 4 on the flip side) today. Shall compare.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sidoze on August 14, 2007, 07:52:24 AM
Richter plays the hell out of Beethoven's Op. 111, Movement One (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulvJU85U_gA&mode=related&search=)

compared to the Leipzig recital, that is rather tame.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on August 14, 2007, 11:04:34 AM
Right!
Stumbled across a Supraphon LP with Moravec playing op. 90 (PC 4 on the flip side) today. Shall compare.

Moravec's performance of Op 90 is my favourite
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 14, 2007, 05:16:54 PM
compared to the Leipzig recital, that is rather tame.

If only the price wasn't $999.99 on amazon.  :-[
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mahlertitan on August 14, 2007, 08:29:03 PM
I just want to say that regardless of whoever is playing it, LVB's piano sonatas are brilliant.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on August 14, 2007, 10:12:09 PM
Let me paraphrase Leif Ove Andsnes: Nothing is as dead as sheet music.

I passed on the opportunity to buy a 70s Philips LP with Brendel playing Pathetique, Moonlight and Appasionata (I think it was Appasionata) yesterday. Bad decision?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 15, 2007, 12:45:05 AM
I passed on the opportunity to buy a 70s Philips LP with Brendel playing Pathetique, Moonlight and Appasionata (I think it was Appasionata) yesterday. Bad decision?

I haven't heard anything from that  cycle, but I have sampled his other two. From what I have heard, I'd say that you didn't make a bad decision.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on August 15, 2007, 03:48:24 AM
I passed on the opportunity to buy a 70s Philips LP with Brendel playing Pathetique, Moonlight and Appasionata (I think it was Appasionata) yesterday. Bad decision?


Depends on the style you like.  These particular named sonatas aren't Brendel's strong suit in his 70s cycle.  He's better in the later sonatas in that cycle.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on August 15, 2007, 04:20:25 AM

Depends on the style you like.  These particular named sonatas aren't Brendel's strong suit in his 70s cycle.  He's better in the later sonatas in that cycle.

Isn't Brendel's later cycle generally his best, anyway? Not that I've sampled his earlier cycles, but I was under the impression that this was the consensus... I might be wrong. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on August 15, 2007, 04:26:03 AM
Isn't Brendel's later cycle generally his best, anyway?



No.  Most people seem to prefer his Vox cycle.  I prefer his second cycle overall, though the Vox and even the digital cycle have stronger performances in some works.   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on August 15, 2007, 04:36:45 AM
Ah well. At EUR 5 maybe it was a bad decision. Was it the BOFs at Penguin (I do agree with them sometimes) who preferred Brendel's 70s Moonlight to the other two? Got his Vox anyway, and I like his style of playing. The LPis probably still there.

(Should get that Richter recital with op. 111. Wham Bam is also good in LvB.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on August 15, 2007, 04:44:46 AM


No.  Most people seem to prefer his Vox cycle.  I prefer his second cycle overall, though the Vox and even the digital cycle have stronger performances in some works.   

Interesting... I only have his digital cycle, myself, so I can't offer a personal opinion of how it compares to the others. Regardless, I wouldn't exactly call it bad. :)

Has the Vox cycle been issued on CD, though? Scratch that: I'm blind. :P

Thanks for the recommendation. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 15, 2007, 12:28:44 PM
(Should get that Richter recital with op. 111. Wham Bam is also good in LvB.)

Which one? The one sidoze posted? Is so, please PM me?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on August 15, 2007, 11:42:23 PM
Which one? The one sidoze posted? Is so, please PM me?

The Richter in Leipzig recital is the one I think he is referring to.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: rw1883 on September 25, 2007, 11:55:22 AM
Has anyone bought or heard this set? 

http://www.amazon.com/Dino-Ciani-Rediscovered-Beethovens-Complete/dp/B00018D472/ref=cm_lmf_tit_11/102-9817053-6018502 (http://www.amazon.com/Dino-Ciani-Rediscovered-Beethovens-Complete/dp/B00018D472/ref=cm_lmf_tit_11/102-9817053-6018502)

For $45 it seems like a good bargain.  All I remember is that Ciani died tragically at a young age (32-33?).  There doesn't seem to be many reviews of his work, so any input would really be great.  Thank you...

Paul
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on September 25, 2007, 12:53:41 PM
Dirk has this set so he could let you know. I believe he said that the sound is not that good. The performances may be a different matter.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on September 25, 2007, 04:08:08 PM
Dirk has this set so he could let you know. I believe he said that the sound is not that good. The performances may be a different matter.

Orbital has it as well. I think he feels the same about the sound, but you could certainly PM him.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sidoze on September 26, 2007, 09:53:35 AM
I think it was Distler who said that the sound is like looking at the moon through the wrong end of a telescope.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: orbital on September 26, 2007, 10:09:14 AM
Orbital has it as well. I think he feels the same about the sound, but you could certainly PM him.
I don't have his Beethoven. I have quite a bit of Chopin from him: Etudes (recorded at home), Nocturnes (a single recital), Mazurkas (selection) all live. I think 90% of his output are live recordings.

The Chopin recordings' sound is not very bad though.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on September 26, 2007, 10:21:23 AM
I think it was Distler who said that the sound is like looking at the moon through the wrong end of a telescope.

Not a bad description, I'd say. I have online friends who think this is one of the most amazing Beethoven sets in existence, a veritable treasure trove of unique interpretation. Seriously...one guy I know puts it in the same league with Schnabel and Annie Fischer. For me, however, this set is the very definition of "mixed bag" inconsistency. Yes, some performances are stunningly distinctive, evocative, almost revelatory...but...well, others definitely aren't. The "aren't" selections range from purely quirky to just mundane note-plunking, with abundant finger-slips, etc. I've been through the set one time complete, and I've gone back to certain performances, but all this was MANY months ago, so I won't pretend to recall which are which. And the damn sound pretty much rules it out for anyone who isn't a die-hard Ciani fan. IIRC, these were recorded during a series of live performances, from somewhere in the audience on amateur gear, which explains the mega-distant perspective and sometimes annoying extraneous noise. If I haven't frustrated potential buyers yet, let me state that the current prices being quoted don't impress me, since this set was available a couple of years ago at something like $20 or less; this, in fact, is one reason I'm not personally stewing about the bad sound that much...I got the set super-cheap. IF you can get it that low-priced, I'd say it's worth it just to have Ciani's read on many of these sonatas (I feel much the same way about Nat's set of Beethoven), but be ready for the dreck sound and please do NOT buy this as your introduction to or only copy of Beethoven's sonatas.

*sigh*

I guess it's time to pull this box out and start re-listening, so I can provide a more helpful analysis. If I do so in the near future, I'll come back and give you my refreshed view of this set.

Cheers,

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on September 26, 2007, 12:52:49 PM
The Ciani cycle has possibly the worst sounding recordings I've ever heard.  Some of the sonatas don't even sound like a piano is being played at times.  (Can't remember which; I did a write up on the prior forum, though.)  Ciani's playing is quite fine on a technical level most of the time, and he's artistically compelling in a few works, but mostly he falls flat as an LvB interpreter.  Literally dozens of complete cycles are better.  Also, $45 is a bit steep for the set.  Shop around a bit if you really want it - I picked mine up for $18, shipping included, though I can't recall the shop at present.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: rw1883 on September 26, 2007, 01:26:05 PM
The Ciani cycle has possibly the worst sounding recordings I've ever heard.  Some of the sonatas don't even sound like a piano is being played at times.  (Can't remember which; I did a write up on the prior forum, though.)  Ciani's playing is quite fine on a technical level most of the time, and he's artistically compelling in a few works, but mostly he falls flat as an LvB interpreter.  Literally dozens of complete cycles are better.  Also, $45 is a bit steep for the set.  Shop around a bit if you really want it - I picked mine up for $18, shipping included, though I can't recall the shop at present.

Thanks to Dirk, Todd, and Orbital for their suggestions and ideas.  I'll won't be buying the set anytime soon, unless I find it for $20 or less.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sidoze on September 26, 2007, 01:33:05 PM
The Ciani cycle has possibly the worst sounding recordings I've ever heard.

If one day during your strolls through the aisles of a secondhand CD shop you chance upon the Russian Disc of Sofronitsky playing Prokofiev, please, grab it without hesitation. It is far away the absolute worst sounding piano recording on the planet. I don't have the vocabulary to describe it. Then, after you've heard his 7th sonata, you can sell it for £50 and make a tidy profit :)

His Chopin Nocturnes are wonderful, among the most beautiful caught on record.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on October 10, 2007, 02:28:11 PM
Okay, I'm a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to praise Richard Goode's set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, which I've been listening to for a couple of hours now. Not long, you might think - but I can't usually stomach these works for more than an hour at a time, so Goode must be doing something right to keep me listening.

What I particularly like is that Goode, unlike Fischer and Gulda (okay, so I dipped into my Christmas present while the wife is in hospital ;D), doesn't feel it necessary to bang so damned hard on the keys to create dynamic effects. Rather, he seems simply to lighten his touch at the other end of the scale, so that when keys do go down a little harder, you get the full dynamic range without the thundering pianism favoured by some. Goode's tempi choices agree with my tastes, too, so another point scored there.

I dare say the harder, faster approach adopted by other pianists might be somewhat truer to the spirit of Beethoven, but for me, it seems Goode may be enough.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on October 10, 2007, 03:30:48 PM
Has anyone here ever heard of Yukio Yokoyama?  I never even heard her name until I got that Sony Beethoven Big Box. Casadesus, Oppitz, Rosen, several other name pianists are on there. But the lion's share of the piano works (including the variations and bagatelles) are played by Yukio. I haven't listened to most of them yet, except the Op 2 #1 where she does a creditable job. Just curious if anyone has heard her rather more extensively and cares to give a report. :)

8)

----------------
Now playing: Hummel Op 105 Amusements (3) in the form of a Caprice for Fortepiano - Khouri, John - #2 - "a la Autrichienne"
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on October 10, 2007, 06:03:34 PM
Has anyone here ever heard of Yukio Yokoyama?  I never even heard her name until I got that Sony Beethoven Big Box. Casadesus, Oppitz, Rosen, several other name pianists are on there. But the lion's share of the piano works (including the variations and bagatelles) are played by Yukio. I haven't listened to most of them yet, except the Op 2 #1 where she does a creditable job. Just curious if anyone has heard her rather more extensively and cares to give a report. :)

Oh yes, I own his complete cycle. Rather restrained and understated as to expression I think, but also without idiosyncrasies. I think the early sonatas gain the most from his approach.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 10, 2007, 08:23:57 PM
Okay, I'm a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to praise Richard Goode's set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, which I've been listening to for a couple of hours now. Not long, you might think - but I can't usually stomach these works for more than an hour at a time, so Goode must be doing something right to keep me listening.

What I particularly like is that Goode, unlike Fischer and Gulda (okay, so I dipped into my Christmas present while the wife is in hospital ;D), doesn't feel it necessary to bang so damned hard on the keys to create dynamic effects. Rather, he seems simply to lighten his touch at the other end of the scale, so that when keys do go down a little harder, you get the full dynamic range without the thundering pianism favoured by some. Goode's tempi choices agree with my tastes, too, so another point scored there.

I dare say the harder, faster approach adopted by other pianists might be somewhat truer to the spirit of Beethoven, but for me, it seems Goode may be enough.

Great summary, Mark!

This is a set I greatly admire, as well. It's tops for me even in the face of stiff competition.


 

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: longears on October 10, 2007, 08:58:38 PM
Right up there for me, too.  One of my faves, with great sound.  For more poetry, I'll take Kempf; for more passion, I like Kovacevitch.  I could probably be quite satisfied with just these three--in fact, I rarely choose anyone else.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on October 10, 2007, 10:47:57 PM
Right up there for me, too.  One of my faves, with great sound.  For more poetry, I'll take Kempf; for more passion, I like Kovacevitch.  I could probably be quite satisfied with just these three--in fact, I rarely choose anyone else.

Schnabel? :)

(Though Kempff is by far my own favourite.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on October 10, 2007, 11:15:26 PM
Yukio Yokoyama also did a highly praised set of the Chopin Etudes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on October 11, 2007, 04:23:43 AM
Has anyone here ever heard of Yukio Yokoyama?


Yes.  His LvB sonatas vary in quality, and he tends to be better in the earlier sonatas.  As premont wrote, Yokoyama is understated at times, and at other times he seems at sea (Op 106), but he's never too quirky.  His set of LvB's concertos is better overall - his trills in the Emporer are amazing, for instance, and he tends to play with nice energy and taut tempi. 

Beyond LvB, his Liszt Transcendental Etudes are very good, and his Chopin Nocturnes, though a bit cool, are also quite enjoyable.  His take on Chopin's Ballades and Etudes are technically fine, but lack that last bit of involvement, and his Debussy and Ravel sound a bit a bit too assertive at times, though his transcription of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is worth hearing.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: longears on October 11, 2007, 06:46:17 PM
And do you play, Todd?  How do you come by such critical expertise?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on October 12, 2007, 02:52:36 AM
Todd & premont,
Thanks very much for the input. Oh, premont, one could never have told from the liner notes that this was a person of the male persuasion, so I appreciate that info   :-[    The early sonatas are all I've listened to so far, and they were indeed not bad at all. But maybe that's why the "big names" are used for the later ones. The last 6 are by Rosen, recordings I've wanted to hear for a long time, and now have the chance. I'll post my impressions once I spin them a few times. :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Haffner on October 12, 2007, 03:06:10 AM
I don't play piano, but I think Beethoven is a really cool guy!








laughing like crazy
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 12, 2007, 03:58:31 AM
The last 6 are by Rosen, recordings I've wanted to hear for a long time, and now have the chance. I'll post my impressions once I spin them a few times. :)

8)

I'd appreciate that Gurn, I saw the Rosen late sonatas just the other day in my local used haunt.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Haffner on October 12, 2007, 04:04:03 AM
A friend of mine (initials G.o.G.M.G.) gave me the "name" sonatas as a gift, with Kempff at the helm. I liked it so much I got this, which remains my favorite.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on October 12, 2007, 05:01:13 AM
A friend of mine (initials G.o.G.M.G.) gave me the "name" sonatas as a gift, with Kempff at the helm. ...

Andy, was that the DGOriginals disk? If so, it has been and remains my single favorite Beethoven sonatas disk. If I could only keep one...  :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Haffner on October 12, 2007, 05:04:22 AM
Andy, was that the DGOriginals disk? If so, it has been and remains my single favorite Beethoven sonatas disk. If I could only keep one...  :)

8)




Terrific interpretations, a fine purchase for anyone interested, imho.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on October 12, 2007, 06:24:50 AM



Terrific interpretations, a fine purchase for anyone interested, imho.

Both his earlier and later cycle, I'll add. In fact, I have a slight preference for the earlier one, myself; but both are terrific, from a truly masterful pianist and interpreter. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on October 23, 2007, 08:54:04 AM
A friend of mine (initials G.o.G.M.G.) gave me the "name" sonatas as a gift, with Kempff at the helm. I liked it so much I got this, which remains my favorite.
That's the full set I got hold of on LP (1970 DGG LvB Edition) this summer. Very nice. Note the left hand boogie-woogie in the Moonlight finale!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Drasko on October 31, 2007, 09:24:28 AM
I probably listen to Beethoven Sonatas less often than most of other posters in this thread but been listening to this one lately and quite liking it.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Xz-%2BzVSmL._AA240_.jpg)

For me there are two highlights, first being first movement of Waldstein - it's pure and simple joy listening to pianist who can play at these speeds without slightest compromise of articulation or lost in beauty of tone for a single moment. The other and absolute highlight of the disc is arioso dolente of op.110, so achingly beautiful, sad but more melancholy than despair, with phrasing that sounds perfectly right, gets me wobbly in the knees everytime. Actually all of op.110 is stunning. First movement floats effortlessly, fast second with sharp dynamic contrasts, both fugues flawless, crescendo towards the end is mighty without becoming bangy  (his tone never hardens). This one has becoming quickly my preferred version within my modest collection.

Which brings me to the point, wanted to add couple more recordings of op.110 to ones I already have (Kempff, Solomon, Richter, Freire). Decided on Gieseking and Fischer but there is the question - which transfer for Fischer? APR has more appealing couplings than Pearl but I generally like Pearl transfers. Does anyone have both? Or how is APR sounding?

Fischer is Edwin.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Expresso on November 14, 2007, 07:11:18 AM
I'm thinking about buying a complete set of these sonatas. I already have a cheap 10 CD set with Schnabel and some individual sonatas by other pianists.
Now i'm looking for a set with good better sound quality than Schnabel.

Which one should i check? Gulda?Barenboim?
There is a set with Gulda on eloquence records and another on brilliant. Any differences on those two?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: gmstudio on November 14, 2007, 07:33:55 AM
I'm thinking about buying a complete set of these sonatas. I already have a cheap 10 CD set with Schnabel and some individual sonatas by other pianists.
Now i'm looking for a set with good better sound quality than Schnabel.

Which one should i check? Gulda?Barenboim?
There is a set with Gulda on eloquence records and another on brilliant. Any differences on those two?

I bought this one about two years ago.  Couldn't beat the price ($34!) or quality...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MJNT2N5GL._AA240_.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Sonatas-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000037B3/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1195054350&sr=8-29
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don on November 14, 2007, 09:08:16 AM
I bought this one about two years ago.  Couldn't beat the price ($34!) or quality...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MJNT2N5GL._AA240_.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Sonatas-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000037B3/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1195054350&sr=8-29

I'd recommend a little caution about the Roberts set.  Although it was the first Beethoven set I ever acquired and have very warm feelings about it, he's a little restrained and polite.  In his live recordings, he's much more visceral.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 09:20:38 AM
I'm thinking about buying a complete set of these sonatas. I already have a cheap 10 CD set with Schnabel and some individual sonatas by other pianists.
Now i'm looking for a set with good better sound quality than Schnabel.

Which one should i check? Gulda?Barenboim?
There is a set with Gulda on eloquence records and another on brilliant. Any differences on those two?

The Eloquence has the concertos as well. As for your other questions:

Do you want fast and technically proficient in good sound? Then Gulda's your man.

Do you want Romantic and beautiful played and sound with many fast movements that are played slower than usual? Barenboim (DG) is your man.

Do you want incredible power, depth in the slow movements and good sound? Annie Fischer's your woman. (Expensive though absolutely worth it)

Do you want great sound, great depth in the slow movements with great consistency throughout? Can you tolerate missing a few sonatas and some slowish fast movements? Then Gilels is your man.

Do you want a solid cycle by a man who lived and breathed with these works, recording the set twice? Then Backhaus (stereo) is your man.

FWIW, I think that Gulda probably provides the best contrast to Schnabel. The price is right and the sound is good. 

Also, FWIW, The Bernard Roberts set as a whole is not very good. Some of the performances are excellent, but not enough to warrant getting the cycle.

The four sets that I would recommend for performance, consistency and sound quality are Annie Fischer, Gulda (Brilliant/Amadeo/Eloquence), Gilels and Backhaus (stereo), in that order.  :)

 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 09:22:10 AM
George, you break my heart. What about Richard Goode? :'(
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 09:23:15 AM
George, you break my heart. What about Richard Goode? :'(

I haven't worked though the set, but I can already say he doesn't beat Annie or Gulda.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 09:23:47 AM
I haven't worked though the set, but I can already say he doesn't beat Annie or Gulda.

IYO. 0:) ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 09:25:04 AM
IYO. 0:) ;)

IYO?  ???
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 09:28:51 AM
IYO?  ???

In your opinion. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 09:30:38 AM
In your opinion. ;D

Well the OP didn't ask me for your opinion.  :P


 ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 09:31:11 AM
Well the OP didn't ask me for your opinion.  :P


 ;)

Touche, my friend. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: locrian on November 14, 2007, 09:53:13 AM
I thought the '50s Kempff was the box to get.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 09:54:28 AM
I'm thinking about buying a complete set of these sonatas. I already have a cheap 10 CD set with Schnabel and some individual sonatas by other pianists.
Now i'm looking for a set with good better sound quality than Schnabel.

Which one should i check? Gulda?Barenboim?


I have heard the Barenboim and it's absolutely fine - straight down the middle, you could do worse. I have heard most of Ashkenazy's and he is my favourite - but then he can do no wrong for me. The only full set I have is the Brendel - and that's also very good. Another favourite is Kempff. If you don't have to have a set, and I admit that's a nice cost effective way of obtaining them all, you could try Pollini.

I also have some of the "remastered" Schnabel discs. I had heard the box set was hiss heaven so plumped for the individual ones. They ARE hiss heaven so god knows how bad the box set must be = what are your thoughts on the sound quality of it?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on November 14, 2007, 09:59:21 AM
I also have some of the "remastered" Schnabel discs. I had heard the box set was hiss heaven so plumped for the individual ones. They ARE hiss heaven so god knows how bad the box set must be = what are your thoughts on the sound quality of it?

You will have to name the labels - individual ones on Naxos, box on EMI? :)

A previous thread on the matter: Schnabel's Beethoven Getaway (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,8895.0.html) (old forum).

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don on November 14, 2007, 10:01:07 AM
My top recommendations are Gilels, Sherman, Gulda and Brendel.  I also love the late sonatas set from Pollini.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 10:39:47 AM
You will have to name the labels - individual ones on Naxos, box on EMI? :)

A previous thread on the matter: Schnabel's Beethoven Getaway (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,8895.0.html) (old forum).

Q

The individual "re-masters" are in this series
http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/Schnabel22-29.htm
(see the bottom of the page for an explanation regarding the preparation of the discs)

This is the box set
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Complete-Sonatas-Ludwig-van/dp/B000002S29/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1195065504&sr=1-1
I read somewhere (not sure where) that this was very bad for hiss, hence the reason I went for the "re-masters"
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on November 14, 2007, 10:44:54 AM
The Eloquence has the concertos as well. As for your other questions:

Do you want fast and technically proficient in good sound? Then Gulda's your man.

Do you want Romantic and beautiful played and sound with many fast movements that are played slower than usual? Barenboim (DG) is your man.

Do you want incredible power, depth in the slow movements and good sound? Annie Fischer's your woman. (Expensive though absolutely worth it)

Do you want great sound, great depth in the slow movements with great consistency throughout? Can you tolerate missing a few sonatas and some slowish fast movements? Then Gilels is your man.

Do you want a solid cycle by a man who lived and breathed with these works, recording the set twice? Then Backhaus (stereo) is your man.

FWIW, I think that Gulda probably provides the best contrast to Schnabel. The price is right and the sound is good. 

Also, FWIW, The Bernard Roberts set as a whole is not very good. Some of the performances are excellent, but not enough to warrant getting the cycle.

The four sets that I would recommend for performance, consistency and sound quality are Annie Fischer, Gulda (Brilliant/Amadeo/Eloquence), Gilels and Backhaus (stereo), in that order.  :)

 

  I would just like to say that last March I took George's advice and bought the Gulda set and as far as the Beethoven sonatas are concerned I have been happy ever since  :).  thanks George

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on November 14, 2007, 10:52:53 AM
The real expert on this question is Todd. I asked him and he recommended the almost brand-new set of Mr Andrea Lucchesini - recorded live just a few years ago - on the Italian label Stradivarius. I could not be happier. Lucchesini has (as Todd promised) a uniquely beautiful piano tone, a gentle lyricism that you will either love or hate, depending on how you like your Beethoven. (He's not for all tastes, probably.) He is not, however, afraid to put in the full force when necessary. And the sound is marvelous. And the price is dirt cheap - you might be able to find it for around $45.

I also listen regularly to Jeno Jando's recordings, and love them. His No. 32 is growing on me rather rapidly.

Todd's review of Lucchesini (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,4089.0.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 10:59:58 AM
Doesn't Todd also have some great things to say about Robert Silverman's set?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 11:52:53 AM
  I would just like to say that last March I took George's advice and bought the Gulda set and as far as the Beethoven sonatas are concerned I have been happy ever since  :).  thanks George

  marvin

My pleasure.

 :)

The individual "re-masters" are in this series
http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/Schnabel22-29.htm
(see the bottom of the page for an explanation regarding the preparation of the discs)

This is the box set
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Complete-Sonatas-Ludwig-van/dp/B000002S29/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1195065504&sr=1-1
I read somewhere (not sure where) that this was very bad for hiss, hence the reason I went for the "re-masters"

The EMI filters out the hiss, the high frequencies and if low noise is your only requirement, you'd be very happy with them. Naxos strikes a nice balance between filtering and SQ, IMO. Pearl's hiss level is incredibly high, but you really hear Schnabel's tone in all its glory. If you don't like the Naxos (because of the noise), don't mess with the Pearl. However, try to keep in mind that these performances were recorded over seventy years ago. Considering that, the quality of these recordings is incredible. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on November 14, 2007, 11:57:14 AM
I have complete sets by Barenboim (EMI), Schnabel and Annie Fischer. Of the three the Fischer is the one that I like the best. There is not really a 'dud' sonata amongst them (unlike the other two) and while they took a while to grow on me I"m glad I perservered.

That said, the Barenboim is a fine set and an inexpensive way to start on the '32'.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 11:58:44 AM
My pleasure.

 :)

The EMI filters out the hiss, the high frequencies and if low noise is your only requirement, you'd be very happy with them. Naxos strikes a nice balance between filtering and SQ, IMO. Pearl's hiss level is incredibly high, but you really hear Schnabel's tone in all its glory. If you don't like the Naxos (because of the noise), don't mess with the Pearl. However, try to keep in mind that these performances were recorded over seventy years ago. Considering that, the quality of these recordings is incredible. 

I agree - the quality, sans hiss, is good. The trouble is, depending on my mood, sometime I can mentally filter out the hiss and other times it's all I can hear. It is the most prominent of all historic recordings I own. I can usually put up with all foibles due to age.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 12:11:25 PM
I agree - the quality, sans hiss, is good. The trouble is, depending on my mood, sometime I can mentally filter out the hiss and other times it's all I can hear. It is the most prominent of all historic recordings I own. I can usually put up with all foibles due to age.

Yes, I totally agree, there are days when I only hear the performance and other days when I only hear the noise.  :)

In fact, I have both the Naxos and the Pearl sets because to me, the Naxos is fine anytime, while the Pearl I have to be in the right frame of mind (or ears?).  ;D

I recommend not listening to historical stuff on headphones though.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on November 14, 2007, 12:12:53 PM
The four sets that I would recommend for performance, consistency and sound quality are Annie Fischer, Gulda (Brilliant/Amadeo/Eloquence), Gilels and Backhaus (stereo), in that order.  :)

While I might rearrange the order slightly, these are all very good options. In the "almost/not quite complete" category (with Gilels), I would add Solomon. And in the "nowhere near complete" category (more's the pity), Richter.

But of course, YMMV.

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 12:14:04 PM
While I might rearrange the order slightly, these are all very good options. In the "almost/not quite complete" category (with Gilels), I would add Solomon. And in the "nowhere near complete" category (more's the pity), Richter.

But of course, YMMV.

Dirk

Yes and Serkin as well, but their unfortunately their performances are spread out over 20 CDs.  :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 12:15:40 PM


I recommend not listening to historical stuff on headphones though.  :-\

Quite
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sean on November 14, 2007, 12:33:48 PM
The Schnabel set is as extraordinary as often claimed, very subtley structured and touching in details as in ideal imagination.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Expresso on November 14, 2007, 12:34:57 PM
I also have some of the "remastered" Schnabel discs. I had heard the box set was hiss heaven so plumped for the individual ones. They ARE hiss heaven so god knows how bad the box set must be = what are your thoughts on the sound quality of it?

There are many Schnabel sets... i have this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Sonatas-Germany-Artur-Schnabel/dp/B000AAVCYS

It's from a company called "Membran music". I haven't heard the other sets from EMI or Pearl so i can't compare, but on membran the hiss is quite prominent. Not bad for a 30's recording though.



The Eloquence has the concertos as well. As for your other questions:

Do you want fast and technically proficient in good sound? Then Gulda's your man.

Do you want Romantic and beautiful played and sound with many fast movements that are played slower than usual? Barenboim (DG) is your man.

Do you want incredible power, depth in the slow movements and good sound? Annie Fischer's your woman. (Expensive though absolutely worth it)

Do you want great sound, great depth in the slow movements with great consistency throughout? Can you tolerate missing a few sonatas and some slowish fast movements? Then Gilels is your man.

Do you want a solid cycle by a man who lived and breathed with these works, recording the set twice? Then Backhaus (stereo) is your man.

FWIW, I think that Gulda probably provides the best contrast to Schnabel. The price is right and the sound is good. 

Also, FWIW, The Bernard Roberts set as a whole is not very good. Some of the performances are excellent, but not enough to warrant getting the cycle.

The four sets that I would recommend for performance, consistency and sound quality are Annie Fischer, Gulda (Brilliant/Amadeo/Eloquence), Gilels and Backhaus (stereo), in that order.  :)

 

Judging by those standards, Gulda would be closer to my liking.

On the Eloquence label the recording is remastered... are there any improvements on the sound quality?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don on November 14, 2007, 01:25:42 PM

I recommend not listening to historical stuff on headphones though.  :-\

That can be problematic, but I do listen often to historical keyboard recordings on my headphones.  Takes some adjusting, but I get used to it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 01:46:03 PM
How do folks think Barenboim's DG set stacks up against his EMI outing? I have the former, and while there's much I like about it, I can't seem to fall in love with it. :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 01:46:42 PM
That can be problematic, but I do listen often to historical keyboard recordings on my headphones.  Takes some adjusting, but I get used to it.

That would be unbearable if you had tinnitus as well - hiss in quad
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 01:49:19 PM
That would be unbearable if you had tinnitus as well - hiss in quad

Don't joke: I suffer with mild tinnitus in my right ear. Gets louder when I'm tired or stressed, but as it's very high-pitched, it generally doesn't interfere with my musical enjoyment. I only discovered I had it this year - was quite distressing at the time, but I'm used to tuning it out now. And headphones (to come to my point) were probably to blame: I've always done 95% of my listening through cans. Usually (and stupidly) too loud. :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 01:56:14 PM
Don't joke: I suffer with mild tinnitus in my right ear. Gets louder when I'm tired or stressed, but as it's very high-pitched, it generally doesn't interfere with my musical enjoyment. I only discovered I had it this year - was quite distressing at the time, but I'm used to tuning it out now. And headphones (to come to my point) were probably to blame: I've always done 95% of my listening through cans. Usually (and stupidly) too loud. :-\

I started with it last year - mine manifests itself as a pulse which gets louder under certain circumstances, just in one ear also. I meet another chap whilst out walking my hound and his drives him nuts. He is even in a group for sufferers.
I have stopped listening with phones due to worries about the long term health of my hearing. Deafness would not be the best ailment for a music lover, obviously.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 02:00:14 PM
Deafness would not be the best ailment for a music lover, obviously.

Quite. Though I'm addicted to headhone use - it's when I connect most to the music. I guess it's my funeral if I lose the sense I love so much. Mind you, they can now repair certain types of hearing loss which was once considered terminal, so things aren't all bad. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Great Gable on November 14, 2007, 02:03:01 PM
Quite. Though I'm addicted to headhone use - it's when I connect most to the music. I guess it's my funeral if I lose the sense I love so much. Mind you, they can now repair certain types of hearing loss which was once considered terminal, so things aren't all bad. :)

I ceased to use my phones when I got to a certain stage with my main Hi-Fi. It sounds so wonderful now that I won't use phones. The expansive soundstage, both in width and depth is a real joy. (Sorry - not meaning to rub it in)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 14, 2007, 02:08:51 PM
(Sorry - not meaning to rub it in)

;D

I'll always use cans, as I can never truly decide what I think of a CD until I've listened to it through headphones at least twice.

Anyway, we're OT. My apologies. :-[
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on November 14, 2007, 02:23:41 PM
This is a big question, and of course one’s personal preferences as to style will have a big impact on what one likes.  I tend to prefer a more intense, faster, leaner approach, though other styles work well.  Hence Kempff, Lucchesini, and Sherman on my favorites list.

My top four are pretty much set at this point – Annie Fischer, Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo), Wilhelm Kempff (mono), and Wilhelm Backhaus (mono).  All are indispensable, and no one else matches up to them for me.

But of course, there are many other fine sets.  Close behind are Robert Silverman, Russell Sherman, Artur Schnabel, Eric Heidsieck, Emil Gilels, Claude Frank, Seymour Lipkin, Andrea Lucchesini, and Barenboim’s DVD cycle, all for different reasons. 

(Another winner is Akiyoshi Sako’s cycle on Camerata, which I’ve just about completed.  About “normal” in terms of tempi, Sako plays with a broad dynamic range, and shows a muscular (but not too much so) style, with excitement where it’s needed and coolness where appropriate.)

If one must work within a tight budget, I’d say Gulda (Amadeo), Heidsieck, Frank, or Lucchesini are all good places to start.  If one wants a more “popular” (or historically lauded, anyway) approach, then Kempff and Schnabel are hard to beat.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 02:29:52 PM
That can be problematic, but I do listen often to historical keyboard recordings on my headphones.  Takes some adjusting, but I get used to it.

Me, I can handle the noise but I get headaches after awhile.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on November 14, 2007, 02:34:27 PM
If one must work within a tight budget, I’d say Gulda (Amadeo), Heidsieck, Frank, or Lucchesini are all good places to start.  If one wants a more “popular” (or historically lauded, anyway) approach, then Kempff and Schnabel are hard to beat.
Though I remain very happy with the Lucchesini box (as mentioned previously) and have supplemented it with a couple superb performances by Jando, that Gulda is incredibly tempting. And at $35 ... it may be in this shopper's future.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 14, 2007, 02:43:17 PM
Judging by those standards, Gulda would be closer to my liking.

On the Eloquence label the recording is remastered... are there any improvements on the sound quality?

I think I read somewhere that the Eloquence remastering and the Brilliant remastering are one in the same.

You can read a review here:

https://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=9625
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on November 14, 2007, 02:43:58 PM
And at $35 ... it may be in this shopper's future.


I paid around $90 for my set (the Australian packaging with the concertos included), and even then I think it's a tremendous bargain.  It close to the holidays, so treat yourself.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on November 14, 2007, 03:17:18 PM

I paid around $90 for my set (the Australian packaging with the concertos included), and even then I think it's a tremendous bargain.  It close to the holidays, so treat yourself.
I just discovered I have free access to the Annie Fischer set through my university (Naxos Music Library). Perhaps that treat for myself will come at no price tag whatsoever.  8)

EDIT: Come to think of it, Naxos Music Library is a good investment for the sonata-seeker. You get to stream (though not download, unless you record them using freeware like Audacity) the complete cycles of Fischer, Ohlsson, Oppitz, Jando, Brendel (Vox), Kuerti, Houstoun,  and, if you live outside of the USA, Schnabel. You also get the ongoing cycles of Brautigam (fortepiano) and Korstick. Granted, after one or two listens you'll only want to return to a few of these cycles (Fischer, Jando, Brendel, Schnabel, Brautigam, perhaps Ohlsson), but for sheer quantity it's hard to beat!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 14, 2007, 06:47:02 PM
Goode rates tops for me. Supple, finely shaded, with more nuance - bar for bar - than anybody. Though not lacking in heft by any stretch.

Next is Gilels. Wrought with chiseled beauty.

I'd also rate Richter. Though tantalizingly incomplete.

Both Annie Fischer and Kempff (mono) have interesting insights but I've yet to be 100% won over by either of them. Annie's touch lacks a certain grace I look for in Beethoven while Kempff has a sort of 'airy' quality that has me wishing he'd just crank it!! sometimes. Let his hair down, or something...



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on November 15, 2007, 12:07:42 AM
I just discovered I have free access to the Annie Fischer set through my university (Naxos Music Library). Perhaps that treat for myself will come at no price tag whatsoever.  8)

EDIT: Come to think of it, Naxos Music Library is a good investment for the sonata-seeker. You get to stream (though not download, unless you record them using freeware like Audacity) the complete cycles of Fischer, Ohlsson, Oppitz, Jando, Brendel (Vox), Kuerti, Houstoun


Are we talking Michael Houston here? His LvB cycle is very good indeed but I can't imagine how you would be able to hear it via Naxos Music Library. If, however, this is the case, then how do I sign up?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on November 15, 2007, 12:44:46 AM
I've seen a few Anton Kuerti sets on LP lately (forget the label). Are these worth having? Are they out on CD?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Expresso on November 15, 2007, 12:48:39 AM
I think I read somewhere that the Eloquence remastering and the Brilliant remastering are one in the same.

You can read a review here:

https://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=9625

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=81236

Here it says that the mastering is different. Eloquence always uses a technology called AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging technology).
I have some CD's from eloquence, i'll give them another spin to see what this AMSI is all about.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on November 15, 2007, 01:01:04 AM
Goode rates tops for me. Supple, finely shaded, with more nuance - bar for bar - than anybody. Though not lacking in heft by any stretch.

Amen. 0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: val on November 15, 2007, 02:04:07 AM
My choice would be Gulda (BRILLIANT CLASSICS). Only one weak point: the Sonata opus 53.

But there are some other extraordinary versions:

Arrau (PHILIPS), sometimes heavy and artificial, but with extraordinary moments: the opus 2/2, 10/1, 22, 53 and 101.

Schnabel (NAXOS), violent, full of energy and enthusiasm, but also extraordinary in the slow movements (the Largo e mesto of the opus 10/3 is a model that no one ever reached).

Backhaus (DECCA), severe, with a remarkable architecture of the works. He is always more concerned with the global movement that with the details. Some of his great moments are the opus 26, 28, 31/2, 57, 79, and a sublime opus 110.

Kempff (DG, 1951), a splendid sound, very poetic. In certain works, however, I wish he had more greatness (opus 53, 57, 106). The versions of the opus 2/3, 27/1 and 2, 28, 78 and 90 are very beautiful.

The first version of Brendel (VOX) very simple and natural, almost fragile sometimes, is also very interesting (in any case, more than his later versions to PHILIPS).

Regarding more recent versions, I heard some interpretations of Richard Goode. He seems too pale and absent in some moments but the slow movements in general are good.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don on November 15, 2007, 02:57:01 AM
Are we talking Michael Houston here? His LvB cycle is very good indeed but I can't imagine how you would be able to hear it via Naxos Music Library. If, however, this is the case, then how do I sign up?

Houstoun's cycle is on the Morrison Music Trust label, and this label is part of the Naxos Music Library. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on November 15, 2007, 05:53:58 AM
Houstoun's cycle is on the Morrison Music Trust label, and this label is part of the Naxos Music Library. 
Seconded, and thank you Holden for the recommendation. Having discovered the riches available on NML I am ready to go sonata-crazy!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 15, 2007, 06:54:47 AM
http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=81236

Here it says that the mastering is different. Eloquence always uses a technology called AMSI (Ambient Surround Imaging technology).
I have some CD's from eloquence, i'll give them another spin to see what this AMSI is all about.

I have the Eloquence and Decca versions of 4 of Backhaus stereo LvB sonatas and remember comparing them side by side. What I remember from what came out of that is that the Eloquence sounded more "produced," while the Decca sounded more natural.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Lethevich on November 16, 2007, 04:35:55 AM
The real expert on this question is Todd. I asked him and he recommended the almost brand-new set of Mr Andrea Lucchesini - recorded live just a few years ago - on the Italian label Stradivarius. I could not be happier. Lucchesini has (as Todd promised) a uniquely beautiful piano tone, a gentle lyricism that you will either love or hate, depending on how you like your Beethoven. (He's not for all tastes, probably.) He is not, however, afraid to put in the full force when necessary. And the sound is marvelous. And the price is dirt cheap - you might be able to find it for around $45.

I also listen regularly to Jeno Jando's recordings, and love them. His No. 32 is growing on me rather rapidly.

Todd's review of Lucchesini (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,4089.0.html)

I got the Lucchesini thanks to Todd's opinion of it as well - I was looking for a modern SQ recording to suppliment my others, and this has been perfect.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jwinter on December 17, 2007, 11:18:23 AM
Over the weekend I had some time to kill (in-laws in the house  ;D ), so I ripped some fairly modern Beethoven sonata sets (Goode, Kovacevich, Brendel III, Barenboim DG) for my iPod, there to reside with Kempff, Gilels, & the usual suspects.  Which prompted me to ask:

What is your favorite sonata set recorded in the last 20 years, and why? 

If you have listened to many sets (Hi Todd & George!), do you think that the level of Beethoven interpretation, on average, has improved over time?  Gotten worse?  Are there any trends? Ie, are most of your personal top 10 by pianists who have long since shuffled off the mortal coil?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 17, 2007, 11:35:00 AM
What is your favorite sonata set recorded in the last 20 years, and why? 

If you have listened to many sets (Hi Todd & George!), do you think that the level of Beethoven interpretation, on average, has improved over time?




From the last 20 years, only Russell Sherman and Robert Silverman currently crack my Top 10 (though it's not carved in stone).  For reasons, you can read my write-ups of those two cycles.  Andrea Lucchesini almost makes the cut, too, and Seymour Lipkin isn't far behind.  Michaël Levinas’s cycle is turning out to be an excellent one, but I still have to sample some late sonatas to be able to rate him, and Akiyoshi Sako’s playing sounds better with each successive hearing.  And even Barenboim’s newest cycle has some formidable strengths.

As to whether the playing has gotten any better, and so on, I’d have to say: Not really.  But it hasn’t really gotten any worse, either.  The old Legends deserve their reputations, but some newer/younger pianists have better techniques and are less prone to individual excesses (Sherman aside!), and some can really plumb the depths.  One heartening thing, at least for me, is that the best of newer/younger pianists make the music sound fresh and vital, which is really what counts. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 17, 2007, 02:47:56 PM
Over the weekend I had some time to kill (in-laws in the house  ;D ), so I ripped some fairly modern Beethoven sonata sets (Goode, Kovacevich, Brendel III, Barenboim DG) for my iPod, there to reside with Kempff, Gilels, & the usual suspects.  Which prompted me to ask:

What is your favorite sonata set recorded in the last 20 years, and why? 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (pun not intended), I will paste the review I posted on amazon.com:
_____________________________________________

I happen to know for a fact that there are a number of you out there who are finding it hard to decide to pay the asking price for this set. Therefore, I shall try to explain why you should do so, immediately.

First of all, I will say that I own complete cyles by Gulda, Fischer, Schnabel, Kempff (mono), Kovacevich and Backhaus (stereo). Of these, Annie's is my favorite complete set. Easily. I also own single/double discs by Serkin, Richter, Moravec, Horowitz, Gilels, Goode, O'Conor, Pollini, Kempff (stereo), Arrau, Brendel, Jando and Rubinstein. Annie also trumps many of these as well.

Secondly, I must say that Annie's cycle is remarkably consistent, I think she does excellent or superb on 25 of the 32. In the others, she is fair or good. In my experience, this is no small feat, in fact only Gulda equals her in consistency, though not in quality. Gulda tends to rush through these works, a which doesn't always come off well and even when it does, he still lack's Fischer's depth. Schnabel's legendary set, now available on Naxos from European sellers with excellent transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn, is of course very consistent and superbly played. However, many will likely pass on this set due to the historical sound. Kempff plays these works on a smaller scale that doesn't always work for me, though few can match his tone and beauty. Backhaus's more masculine approach is more to my liking, though his fast slow movements, like Gulda, lack depth. Kovacevich's set is more agressive than even Annie's, who is surprisingly agressive when needed and deeply touching and sensitive when appropriate. She handles all three of the main periods of Lvb's works with equal achievement, an incredible feat.

Third, the quality of her playing simply has to be heard to be believed. The opening to her Appassionata sonata dispels all worries that you might have that she isn't up the job. You can listen here at Amazon on the page that hold the single disc from this set. It sounds like thunder from the heavens, as does the finale here and in the Moonlight Sonata. She finds young energy in the early works and confident strength and power in the heroic middle sonatas. Her Op. 31 is easily my favorite, combining a great sense of rythm, drama and beauty. Her Late Sonatas are incrdibly profound and gorgeous. Without resorting to some of the more extreme tempo choices others have made, she finds a style all her own that works magnificently. In fact, her tempo choices are almost always just right, never rushing, nor letting the tempo sag.

Fourth, when compared to her closest rivals, Schnabel, Gulda, and Kempff, her set has superior sound. She plays a gorgeously dark sounding Bosendorfer that was recorded remarkably well. Her recordings were made in the 70's and 80's and the close miking arccurately conveys her sweet tone and powerful fortes. Sure, Goode and Kovacevich may have better sound, but IMO they don't play at her level. Goode's interpretations lack excitement at times, while Kovacevich seems to focus a bit too much on excitement.

Fifth, you will notice that the price changes from time to time by some of the marketplace sellers, buying it now saves you from paying more for it later. More importantly, there may not even be a later, for this set is hard to find as it is. This can certainly suggest that it may not stay in print. With talent like this, why gamble? This is mostly a matter of taste of course, I suggest that you listen to the samples here and compare for yourself. I really don't think that you'll be sorry if you choose Annie, though! 

______________________________________________________

Quote
If you have listened to many sets (Hi Todd & George!), do you think that the level of Beethoven interpretation, on average, has improved over time?  Gotten worse?  Are there any trends? Ie, are most of your personal top 10 by pianists who have long since shuffled off the mortal coil?

Hey jwinter!  :) To answer this question, I need to check a few things when I get home tonight or tomorrow morning. I'll post more then.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 17, 2007, 04:04:03 PM
Annie Fischer's cycle was recorded mostly in the 70s with some touch up work thereafter.  I thought jwinter was basically asking about digital sets, not older analog sets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mark on December 17, 2007, 04:36:01 PM
Wasn't the Annie set never intended for release? And is it true that it's made up from multiple edits recorded across a large number of sessions?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 17, 2007, 04:37:39 PM
If you have listened to many sets (Hi Todd & George!), do you think that the level of Beethoven interpretation, on average, has improved over time?  Gotten worse?  Are there any trends? Ie, are most of your personal top 10 by pianists who have long since shuffled off the mortal coil?

My personal top 10:

Annie Fischer
Rudolf Serkin
Sviatoslav Richter
Emil Gilels
Friedrich Gulda
Wilhelm Backhaus
Artur Schnabel
Wilhelm Kempff
Maria Yudina
Bruce Hungerford
 
Other than Annie, none of these (I am not sure about Hungerford) were either alive or at their peak in the last 20 years. So no, things haven't improved IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 17, 2007, 05:16:51 PM
That's not true


I’m well aware of what the liner notes say – I’ve had the cycle far longer than you have, and I’ve done some investigation of the cycle.  Every sonata displays analog hiss more or less throughout (if you can identify the ones that don’t, let me know which ones they are), and Hungaroton moved to all digital in the early 80s.  This very clearly demonstrates that very little of the cycle was recorded in the last 15-20 years.  Beyond that, other sources have more or less stated the same thing I did – that most of the recordings were made in the 70s, with touch-ups and some minor retakes being made thereafter.  Her other playing from the 80s does not display the same technical command as in the studio cycle, and some of those are live-in-studio recordings, indicating that she could have and most likely did use multiple takes even then.  I suppose you can include her Hungaroton cycle in those from the last 20 years, but I find that lazy and disingenuous.  It is one of the greatest of cycles, but it’s not a modern cycle.




No, they were, but Annie was "reluctant" about releasing them.


That is partially true, or partially incorrect, depending on how one looks at it.  Fischer apparently “approved” certain takes on the sonatas, or so the liner notes say, but the recordings were never released during her lifetime.  One can attribute that to "reluctance," I suppose, but given that she approved other recordings at other times, I’m not completely sold on the official story in the liner notes.  It appears to be another case of a label capitalizing on an artist against the artist’s wish, though I’m glad they did.  (Revised)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 17, 2007, 05:56:34 PM
Thanks for your observations, but I'm going with what the liner notes say on this one. Maybe someday I'll find out from her 3rd cousin that they were recorded in 1963?


If you want to be lazy and disingenuous, believe liner notes so wholeheartedly, and don’t want to actually back up your de facto assertion that some of the recordings are modern (ie, digital), fine.  But claiming a cycle that started in the 70s is modern is ridiculous.  And note that I didn’t write about the sound being limited – though it is a bit harsh at times – just that it is clearly analog.  There’s quite a bit of difference there.



Do people go into studios and record entire sets of sonatas for other reasons than for them to be released?


Alfred Cortot apparently did.  Michelangeli and Pollini have left recordings unreleased in DG’s vaults.  Other artists have made other recordings that never got released.  It has happened quite a bit.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 18, 2007, 09:42:44 PM
I probably listen to Beethoven Sonatas less often than most of other posters in this thread but been listening to this one lately and quite liking it.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Xz-%2BzVSmL._AA240_.jpg)

For me there are two highlights, first being first movement of Waldstein - it's pure and simple joy listening to pianist who can play at these speeds without slightest compromise of articulation or lost in beauty of tone for a single moment. The other and absolute highlight of the disc is arioso dolente of op.110, so achingly beautiful, sad but more melancholy than despair, with phrasing that sounds perfectly right, gets me wobbly in the knees everytime. Actually all of op.110 is stunning. First movement floats effortlessly, fast second with sharp dynamic contrasts, both fugues flawless, crescendo towards the end is mighty without becoming bangy  (his tone never hardens). This one has becoming quickly my preferred version within my modest collection.

Which brings me to the point, wanted to add couple more recordings of op.110 to ones I already have (Kempff, Solomon, Richter, Freire). Decided on Gieseking and Fischer but there is the question - which transfer for Fischer? APR has more appealing couplings than Pearl but I generally like Pearl transfers. Does anyone have both? Or how is APR sounding?

Fischer is Edwin.

Check PM.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don Isler on December 18, 2007, 10:34:32 PM
The 22 sonatas done by Hungerford were recorded between 1968 and 1976. He died in 1977 without completing the rest of the cycle. No one I know of ever heard him play the Hammerklavier (some of the sonatas he never performed before recording them, others he'd played many times) but visitors to his studio on the afternoon after which he was killed in an auto accident found the score of Op. 106 open on the piano.

Op. 110 was a speciality of his, and his tempo for the first movement of the Waldstein was breathtaking, faster, as an interviewer once pointed out to him, than Horowitz.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on December 18, 2007, 11:28:03 PM
The 22 sonatas done by Hungerford were recorded between 1968 and 1976. He died in 1977 without completing the rest of the cycle. No one I know of ever heard him play the Hammerklavier (some of the sonatas he never performed before recording them, others he'd played many times) but visitors to his studio on the afternoon after which he was killed in an auto accident found the score of Op. 106 open on the piano.

Op. 110 was a speciality of his, and his tempo for the first movement of the Waldstein was breathtaking, faster, as an interviewer once pointed out to him, than Horowitz.

Don - did he ever have the Appassionata in his repertoire?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jwinter on December 19, 2007, 06:58:39 AM
*pokes head out of foxhole*

"That Annie Fischer is OK, but she's no Lang Lang."

*pokes head back into foxhole, and reaches for K-Ration popcorn*


 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 19, 2007, 07:06:43 AM
"That Annie Fischer is OK, but she's no Lang Lang."

 ;D

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don Isler on December 19, 2007, 08:11:41 AM
No Ric, he didn't.

The sonatas Hungerford didn't live to record, and, I'm pretty sure, never performed are:

Op. 2, No.3
Op. 22
Op. 28
Op. 31, No. 1
Op. 54
Op. 57
Op. 81a
Op. 90.
Op. 101
Op. 106

Unlike Claude Frank and Daniel Barenboim, who recorded their 32 sonata cycles within a fairly short time for the Beethoven Bi-Centennial year (1970) (there is an interesting article in a 1969 edition of High Fidelity Magazine about these three pianists' cycles) the Hungerford cycle, even in its uncompleted form, was spread out over eight years. Something that didn't speed up the process was that he sometimes did what everyone else (at the recording sessions) considered perfectly fine takes of everything, then rejected his own concept, and insisted on doing another round of sessions, which, in the end, produced even better results!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: bassio on December 20, 2007, 11:12:33 AM
Hey guys, I am new here. How are you doing? I am an amateur pianist. You may find some info about me in the Introduction forum.

I noticed the marathonic survey by George and everyone. And I would like to share, but I will have to relisten to give you my judgement.

But the ones I remember where my preferences:

Op.2 No.1 - Arrau
Op.2 No.3 - Richter (Prague)
Op.10 No.3 - Kempff (mono) - definitive
Pathetique - Brendel (70s maybe not sure) - Horowitz
Moonlight - Difficult to say - but I remember Arrau did quiet a fine job
Appassionata - Brendel
Op.111 - Arrau (definitive)

Serkin is a great contender too - I only listened to 3 sonatas by him.
I wish to listen more.

Not my type: Rubinstein (avoid) - Kovachevic (EMI I guess)

Have not listened to Fischer, Frank, although I read good things about them.  :D

But wait for me relistening - careful listening may take days. Details may follow.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 20, 2007, 11:33:21 AM
Hey guys, I am new here. How are you doing?


Welcome!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: longears on December 21, 2007, 03:55:47 PM
Not my type: Rubinstein (avoid)
:o Oy!

Welcome anyway, bassio!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: bassio on December 21, 2007, 06:09:09 PM
:o Oy!

Welcome anyway, bassio!


Hey, wait a minute  :o .. I only meant his Beethoven.

Also to avoid: Horowitz's Beethoven .. except for a very good Pathetique and a reasonable Moonlight (as my memory serves)

Some also say the Emperor but I have not heard that.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Josquin des Prez on December 21, 2007, 06:20:21 PM
Emil Gilels (everything)

Vladimir Feltsman (late sonatas)

Ivan Moravec (Moonlight, Pathetique, Appassionata)

Stephen Kovacevich (late sonatas and Diabelli only)

I wish Krystian Zimerman would do a complete set, before he kicks the bucket that is (why Gilels, why?!??).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on December 21, 2007, 07:25:16 PM
Hey, wait a minute  :o .. I only meant his Beethoven.

Also to avoid: Horowitz's Beethoven .. except for a very good Pathetique and a reasonable Moonlight (as my memory serves)

Some also say the Emperor but I have not heard that.

I actually like Rubinstein in Beethoven though I am willing to admit that there is the odd dud recording of his out there. His Appassionata from 1945 is just jaw dropping and you can get an idea of how it was by watching the Stage 6 recording that was posted. Remember that AR was 80 when this was recorded so imagine him 35 years younger. I also like his approach to Op 13 and his Op 31/3 is very good indeed. Then you get to the concertos and his way with the G major 4th is a favourite of mine.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: op.110 on May 29, 2008, 10:33:19 PM
I'm sure there have already been tons of posts on the topic; could someone kindly guide me in the right direction?

If not (which I highly doubt), post away your suggestions. And if you have nothing better to do, or want to repeat yourselves, feel free to help out.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: springrite on May 29, 2008, 10:37:06 PM
Most people (me included) would suggest that for optimal results, get them individually. But the one set I am very happy about is Annie Fischer's on Hungariton.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 29, 2008, 10:51:19 PM
I have to agree. I've heard a number of LvB sonata cycles including both Barenboims (EMI & DG), Schnabel, Brendel, Kovacevich, etc. If I chose the best from all that I've heard (including partial cycles) I can't really think of a single sonata where Annie Fischer is the top choice (#20 excepted possibly). But as a set this is the most coherent and well played of the lot. There is not a single dud amongst the 32 and this is the only set that of which I can truly state that this is the case. However, it's expensive.

Todd is our resident LvB sonata aficionado and I'm sure he will chime in here. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on May 30, 2008, 12:05:19 AM
This reminds me, I've yet to investigate Annie Fischer's cycle. Is there a boxset available or should one locate the individual issues?

In the recommendations' department; for a cycle that ranges from very good to excellent throughout and in mid-price do consider Gulda. If you opt for the Decca instead of the Brilliant incarnation (the price difference is rather slight) you also get the piano concertos (with VPO/Stein).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on May 30, 2008, 12:12:32 AM
Among complete cycles, and although I greatly enjoy Schnabel, Kovacevich, Brendel and - indeed - Paul Lewis' recent work, I still consistently return to this one, my very first:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/417SJASKPJL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


It has a poise unmatched even by Schnabel (or particularly by Schnabel, one might say ;D) - although your mileage may vary, as they say; and it certainly won't win any awards for high-fidelity sound. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Harry on May 30, 2008, 12:36:21 AM
Only two sets with me, I am afraid.
The first recommendation I have to give is Alfons Perl, on Arte Nova, temporarily out of the catalog I hope.
A fresh approach, well articulated, and eager to make his way in these sonatas. His emotional impact is amazing.
Daniel Barenboim takes second place, he is constant and enough distant to generate a balanced interpretation.
Its a direct and lucid approach.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 30, 2008, 12:52:54 AM
My favorites at the moment (other than Kempff) are

Backhaus, authoritative, clear cut, not as demonstrative as Gulda

Heidsieck, individual, sometimes surprising in details, but without idiosyncrasies

Solomon, (incomplete), a middle of the road interpretation in the best sense

Lortie, (incomplete) poetical, in essence much like Kempff

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: The new erato on May 30, 2008, 03:10:19 AM

The first recommendation I have to give is Alfons Perl, on Arte Nova, temporarily out of the catalog I hope.

Why do you hope that? Do you want to keep him for yourself?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on May 30, 2008, 03:30:54 AM
I'm sure there have already been tons of posts on the topic; could someone kindly guide me in the right direction?

If not (which I highly doubt), post away your suggestions. And if you have nothing better to do, or want to repeat yourselves, feel free to help out.

  This really is George's  0:)  0:) field of expertise. I put 2  0:) next to George's (bless him  0:)) name because I took his advice when I bought my first and only COMPLETE Beethoven Sonata Cycle and have been on cloud 9 every time I listen to them. 

  PS: I bought the Gulda set on Brilliant in case you were wondering.

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on May 30, 2008, 03:36:35 AM
Why do you hope that? Do you want to keep him for yourself?

"Temporarily out of the catalog, I hope."

Versus "temporarily, out of the catalog I hope" as you seemed to have read it, little sense as it might make this way.


In other words he hopes it will be back in the catalog before long; interesting misinterpretation, though.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on May 30, 2008, 04:23:26 AM
To add to other excellent suggestions: Emil Gilels

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LK3UUwEmL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mn dave on May 30, 2008, 04:30:07 AM
In the recommendations' department; for a cycle that ranges from very good to excellent throughout and in mid-price do consider Gulda.

A bargain.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on May 30, 2008, 04:41:20 AM
Most suggestions I would make have already been made: individual performances are, long term, the preferred way to go. But that takes familiarity with a wide range of performers and recordings. For integral and almost-complete sets, I will second:
- Annie Fischer
- Backhaus
- Solomon (incomplete)

Gulda, Kempff (mono or stereo), Schnabel all have commendable qualities, as well, but my first choices remain the three above. Had Gilels or--especially--Richter done integral sets, they would be major contenders. As it is, Gilels' "almost complete" set on DGG is very fine but I prefer his interps in live performances from earlier in his career. And when Richter is in full flight, nobody even comes close, but he just didn't give us enough...

Enjoy exploring,

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 30, 2008, 04:45:19 AM
After an excellent review by resident Beethoven master Todd, I picked up a box by the young Italian pianist Andrea Lucchesini as my first Beethoven sonata cycle, and I have been very, very happy. As a "first set" it has worked well for me because -a- it's one of the cheapest, and -b- Lucchesini is marvelous. He is certainly from the more lyrical school of playing, with a uniquely beautiful tone, and in mighty fine digital sound (they are all live recordings). Todd has mentioned that Lucchesini's box is just outside his top ten, and I'd recommend it as an easy and very nice way to be introduced to beautiful performances of all 32 sonatas.

Since then I've listened to Annie Fischer and a few of the others, but, to be honest, my favorite Beethoven sonata playing is from Paul Komen, who plays fortepianos built in Beethoven's own lifetime and is one of the most marvelous pianists I know. He has not finished his cycle yet :( , but his Op. 111 is, as far as I'm concerned, the last word.

Harry - do you mean Alfredo Perl? :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 30, 2008, 05:16:36 AM
There are so many cycles, offering so many takes.  I’ll just list the ones I’ve heard with the briefest of comments.  I’m not including nearly complete, on-going cycles.  (Incidentally, the Alfredo Perl set is available on Oehms now.)

Intense, strong: Annie Fischer

Fast, lean, intense: Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo), Stephen Kovacevich, Seymour Lipkin

Fast, lean, lithe: Michael Levinas, Yukio Yokoyama, Kun Woo Paik (okay, not as lean as the others)

Slower, lean, not quite as lithe: Aldo Ciccolini, Paul Badura-Skoda (Gramola)

“Intellectual,” meticulous: Alfred Brendel (all three, with the analog Philips cycle the best), Friedrich Gulda (Decca – harder to describe), Craig Sheppard

Old-style cavalier pianism (though not in the 19th Century fashion): Yves Nat (for a Gallic flavor), Wilhelm Backhaus (for a Germanic one; mono cycle is better), Dino Ciani (though his is newer style)

“Romantic,” but also meticulous: Daniel Barenboim (all three, his most recent DVD cycle being his best)

Swift(ish), warm, poetic: Andrea Lucchesini

Poetic, measured: Wilhelm Kempff (mono cycle is better), John O’Conor

Large-scaled, broad: Emil Gilels, Claudio Arrau, Ikuyo Nakamichi, Paul Lewis

Individual, idiosyncratic, even eccentric: Eric Heidsieck, Russell Sherman, Anton Kuerti, Georges Pludermacher

(Mostly) straight-forward, no-nonsense playing: Claude Frank, Alfredo Perl, David Allen Wehr, Robert Silverman, Gerard Willems, Akiyoshi Sako

Boring and/or bland: Richard Goode, Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Jean Bernard Pommier, John Lill

Superbly played but still boring: Vladimir Ashkenazy

Terrible: Anne Øland



As to buying: If sound quality is critical, then Ikuyo Nakamichi (pretty good) or Paul Lewis (mostly boring) are that way to go.  If it’s price, then Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo), Andrea Lucchesini, or Claude Frank make sense.


My own top ten is roughly along these lines:

Annie Fischer
Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo)
Wilhelm Backhaus (mono)
Wilhelm Kempff (mono)
Robert Silverman
Eric Heidsieck
Emil Gilels
Artur Schnabel
Russell Sherman
Claude Frank
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Lethevich on May 30, 2008, 05:33:56 AM
Another vote for Lucchesini - I bought it after Todd recommended it a previous time and it was superb, almost a perfect middle-ground style: lots of poetry without lacking power, and the consistency of the set is also impressive.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 30, 2008, 05:39:46 AM
Of the cycles I have:

Frank, Gulda, Giles(29 sonatas), Schnabel, and Ashkenazy my favorite is by far the Frank. It can be straightforward at times, heroic at times, and brimming with classical perfection at times. He does hum along at times which is a bit annoying but you live with that with such staggering playing. I also like Schiff's incomplete set because I think he just brings out the inner voices and details really well.

I don't really like Giles or Ashkenazy. Giles seems a bit laboring to me and Ashkenazy sounds too much like sightreading.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mn dave on May 30, 2008, 05:47:34 AM
I wish I could hear all these fine cycles to see if I need another one. Until then, I'll stick with Gulda, Schnabel and Arrau.

I've heard some of the Fischer. I find it's not so different that I'd want to put up the bucks for it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 05:58:45 AM
Most people (me included) would suggest that for optimal results, get them individually. But the one set I am very happy about is Annie Fischer's on Hungariton.

Saved me some typing.  ;D

Yes, Annie is great and IMO has no equal. Gulda on Brilliant is a nice, much cheaper and almost as good alternative. If his sound or style doesn't work, Gilels's nearly complete cycle on DG has been re-released as a budget box. For a historical take, Schnabel on Naxos Historical or Pearl are legendary. Kempf's mono set will give you better sound and a more refined style. I like Backhaus's more masculine approach and his sound is better too. His stereo Decca set, that is. For modern sound, Kovacevich packs a punch and has interesting things to say. Goode unfortunately only lives up to his name IMO, but many love him.

Then there's those who never did a set but must be heard: Richter, Serkin (esp mono), Yudina and Moravec.   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 06:00:30 AM
  This really is George's  0:)  0:) field of expertise. I put 2  0:) next to George's (bless him  0:)) name because I took his advice when I bought my first and only COMPLETE Beethoven Sonata Cycle and have been on cloud 9 every time I listen to them. 

  PS: I bought the Gulda set on Brilliant in case you were wondering.

  marvin

And George must give credit to Todd for recommending the Gulda (and the Fischer.)  0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 06:01:52 AM
This reminds me, I've yet to investigate Annie Fischer's cycle. Is there a boxset available or should one locate the individual issues?

Yes, there is a set but it is OOP. Amazon US has it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 06:07:36 AM

Slower, lean, not quite as lithe: Aldo Ciccolini...


So you like the Ciccolini? I got it awhile back and couldn't even make it through the 32. I really tried to give it a chance, trying it on different days in small does, but it didn't do much for me. I had the same problem with Brendel's VOX set. Perhaps my tastes are becoming more particular...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 30, 2008, 06:11:57 AM
So you like the Ciccolini?


Meh.  Some of the sonatas work very well, some not at all.  It's not in my top 20 cycles, I'll say that.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 06:13:36 AM
This reminds me, I've yet to investigate Annie Fischer's cycle. Is there a boxset available or should one locate the individual issues?

Here's a link to the set:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00005YK81/ref=dp_olp_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1212160244&sr=8-1
(Go with Newbury Comics, the best seller on amazon IMO)


I wrote this amazon review last year and will post it here because it best describes my feelings about the Annie Fischer set and some others as well.

I happen to know for a fact that there are a number of you out there who are finding it hard to decide to pay the asking price for this set. Therefore, I shall try to explain why you should do so, immediately.

First of all, I will say that I own complete cyles by Gulda, Fischer, Schnabel, Kempff (mono), Kovacevich and Backhaus (stereo). Of these, Annie's is my favorite complete set. Easily. I also own single/double discs by Serkin, Richter, Moravec, Horowitz, Gilels, Goode, O'Conor, Pollini, Kempff (stereo), Arrau, Brendel, Jando and Rubinstein. Annie also trumps many of these as well.

Secondly, I must say that Annie's cycle is remarkably consistent, I think she does excellent or superb on 25 of the 32. In the others, she is fair or good. In my experience, this is no small feat, in fact only Gulda equals her in consistency, though not in quality. Gulda tends to rush through these works, something which doesn't always come off well and even when it does, he still lack's Fischer's depth. Schnabel's legendary set, now available on Naxos from European sellers with excellent transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn, is of course very consistent and superbly played. However, many will likely pass on this set due to the historical sound. Kempff plays these works on a smaller scale that doesn't always work for me, though few can match his tone and beauty. Backhaus's more masculine approach is more to my liking, though his slow movements are played too fast, like Gulda, and therefore lack depth. Kovacevich's set is more aggressive than even Annie's. Fischer is surprisingly agressive when needed and deeply touching and sensitive when appropriate. She handles all three of the main periods of Lvb's works with equal achievement, an incredible feat.

Third, the quality of her playing simply has to be heard to be believed. The opening to her Appassionata sonata dispels all worries that you might have that she isn't up the job. You can listen here at Amazon on the page that hold the single disc from this set. It sounds like thunder from the heavens, as does the finale here and in the Moonlight Sonata. She finds young energy in the early works and confident strength and power in the heroic middle sonatas. Her Op. 31 is easily my favorite, combining a great sense of rhythm, drama and beauty. Her Late Sonatas are incredibly profound and gorgeous. Without resorting to some of the more extreme tempo choices others have made, she finds a style all her own that works magnificently. In fact, her tempo choices are almost always just right, never rushing, nor letting the tempo sag.

Fourth, when compared to her closest rivals, Schnabel, Gulda, and Kempff, her set has superior sound. She plays a gorgeously dark sounding Bosendorfer that was recorded remarkably well. Her recordings were made in the 70's and 80's and the close miking accurately conveys her sweet tone and powerful fortes of her instrument. Sure, Goode and Kovacevich may have better sound, but IMO they don't play at her level. Goode's interpretations lack excitement at times, while Kovacevich seems to focus a bit too much on excitement.

Fifth, you will notice that the price changes from time to time by some of the marketplace sellers, buying it now saves you from paying more for it later. More importantly, there may not even be a later, for this set is hard to find as it is. This can certainly suggest that it may not stay in print. With talent like this, why gamble? This is mostly a matter of taste of course, I suggest that you listen to the samples here and compare for yourself. I really don't think that you'll be sorry if you choose Annie, though!
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 06:17:39 AM

Meh.  Some of the sonatas work very well, some not at all.  It's not in my top 20 cycles, I'll say that.

I had high hopes for it, as I just heard his wonderful Chopin Nocturnes. I do need to hear the rest though. Perhaps there are some diamonds in the rough. 

For example - Bernard Roberts has one of the worst cycles I have heard, yet he also has a few works where I think very few can equal him (Op.110, Moonlight Sonata - off the top of my head.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: The new erato on May 30, 2008, 07:28:43 AM
"Temporarily out of the catalog, I hope."

Versus "temporarily, out of the catalog I hope" as you seemed to have read it, little sense as it might make this way.


In other words he hopes it will be back in the catalog before long; interesting misinterpretation, though.
Wouldn't "only temporarily out of the catalogue, I hope" be better (and unequivocal), I read that he hoped it was temporarily out of the catalogue whereas I would hope it was in the catalogue...whether temporarily or not.

Well, no matter really.....but I really misunderstood that.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Harry on May 30, 2008, 07:32:14 AM
Wouldn't "only temporarily out of the catalogue, I hope" be better (and unequivocal), I read that he hoped it was temporarily out of the catalogue whereas I would hope it was in the catalogue...whether temporarily or not.

Well, no matter really.....but I really misunderstood that.

Yes it should have been "Only temporarily out of the catalogue, I hope.
Sorry for the confusion. After reading it, I wondered too!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Anne on May 30, 2008, 07:46:23 AM
To add to other excellent suggestions: Emil Gilels

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LK3UUwEmL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I agree with Bunny: Gilels.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: The new erato on May 30, 2008, 08:27:02 AM
Yes it should have been "Only temporarily out of the catalogue, I hope.
Sorry for the confusion. After reading it, I wondered too!
OK, we're good!  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 08:37:39 AM
I agree with Bunny: Gilels.

If only his outer movements were faster, he'd be a top choice for sure. His slow movements are unmatched IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on May 30, 2008, 09:41:54 AM
Here's a link to the set:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00005YK81/ref=dp_olp_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1212160244&sr=8-1
(Go with Newbury Comics, the best seller on amazon IMO)


I wrote this amazon review last year and will post it here because it best describes my feelings about the Annie Fischer set and some others as well.

I happen to know for a fact that there are a number of you out there who are finding it hard to decide to pay the asking price for this set. Therefore, I shall try to explain why you should do so, immediately.

First of all, I will say that I own complete cyles by Gulda, Fischer, Schnabel, Kempff (mono), Kovacevich and Backhaus (stereo). Of these, Annie's is my favorite complete set. Easily. I also own single/double discs by Serkin, Richter, Moravec, Horowitz, Gilels, Goode, O'Conor, Pollini, Kempff (stereo), Arrau, Brendel, Jando and Rubinstein. Annie also trumps many of these as well.

Secondly, I must say that Annie's cycle is remarkably consistent, I think she does excellent or superb on 25 of the 32. In the others, she is fair or good. In my experience, this is no small feat, in fact only Gulda equals her in consistency, though not in quality. Gulda tends to rush through these works, something which doesn't always come off well and even when it does, he still lack's Fischer's depth. Schnabel's legendary set, now available on Naxos from European sellers with excellent transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn, is of course very consistent and superbly played. However, many will likely pass on this set due to the historical sound. Kempff plays these works on a smaller scale that doesn't always work for me, though few can match his tone and beauty. Backhaus's more masculine approach is more to my liking, though his slow movements are played too fast, like Gulda, and therefore lack depth. Kovacevich's set is more aggressive than even Annie's. Fischer is surprisingly agressive when needed and deeply touching and sensitive when appropriate. She handles all three of the main periods of Lvb's works with equal achievement, an incredible feat.

Third, the quality of her playing simply has to be heard to be believed. The opening to her Appassionata sonata dispels all worries that you might have that she isn't up the job. You can listen here at Amazon on the page that hold the single disc from this set. It sounds like thunder from the heavens, as does the finale here and in the Moonlight Sonata. She finds young energy in the early works and confident strength and power in the heroic middle sonatas. Her Op. 31 is easily my favorite, combining a great sense of rhythm, drama and beauty. Her Late Sonatas are incredibly profound and gorgeous. Without resorting to some of the more extreme tempo choices others have made, she finds a style all her own that works magnificently. In fact, her tempo choices are almost always just right, never rushing, nor letting the tempo sag.

Fourth, when compared to her closest rivals, Schnabel, Gulda, and Kempff, her set has superior sound. She plays a gorgeously dark sounding Bosendorfer that was recorded remarkably well. Her recordings were made in the 70's and 80's and the close miking accurately conveys her sweet tone and powerful fortes of her instrument. Sure, Goode and Kovacevich may have better sound, but IMO they don't play at her level. Goode's interpretations lack excitement at times, while Kovacevich seems to focus a bit too much on excitement.

Fifth, you will notice that the price changes from time to time by some of the marketplace sellers, buying it now saves you from paying more for it later. More importantly, there may not even be a later, for this set is hard to find as it is. This can certainly suggest that it may not stay in print. With talent like this, why gamble? This is mostly a matter of taste of course, I suggest that you listen to the samples here and compare for yourself. I really don't think that you'll be sorry if you choose Annie, though!
 

Thanks, George!

Unfortunately, amazon sellers don't ship to Greece; even if they did, this box - coming from the US of A -  is expensive enough to get me in business with customs.
I'll try locating it through a European source or hunt down the individual discs... or just wait for an eventual reissue.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Drasko on May 30, 2008, 10:08:17 AM
I'll try locating it through a European source or hunt down the individual discs... or just wait for an eventual reissue.

Hungaroton site cites this as their Greek distributor, how much up to date that is don't know but you could try.

DISCOPHILE
Neocles Bravos
13,Ippocratous street
10679 Athens,Greece
tel/fax:0030-210-3600030
discophile@ath.forthnet.gr
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on May 30, 2008, 10:48:19 AM
Hungaroton site cites this as their Greek distributor, how much up to date that is don't know but you could try.

DISCOPHILE
Neocles Bravos
13,Ippocratous street
10679 Athens,Greece
tel/fax:0030-210-3600030
discophile@ath.forthnet.gr

...or just go there. I know where this store is (in an arcade - incidentally, just across the street from the Athens Bar - where most Athenian classical music stores are located), although it's very likely to be overpriced.

Thanks a lot, Drasko!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 10:51:51 AM
...or just go there. I know where this store is (in an arcade - incidentally, just across the street from the Athens Bar - where most Athenian classical music stores are located), although it's very likely to be overpriced.

Thanks a lot, Drasko!  :)

Drasko
is indeed the man when it comes to CD searching.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on May 30, 2008, 11:07:41 AM

Drasko
is indeed the man when it comes to CD searching.  8)

By the way, George, that was a very good review. I quoted it in full in order to have it available/attached in my line of posts (see previous posts feature) for future reference.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 11:09:16 AM
By the way, George, that was a very good review. I quoted it in full in order to have it available/attached in my line of posts (see previous posts feature) for future reference.

Thanks very much. I edited the "GMG version" for spelling and grammar mistakes. I spent a few hours on the original too, IIRC.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 30, 2008, 12:36:02 PM
After you've made your decision and purchased a set and then listened to it, it will be time for you to go out and acquire performances of the individual sonatas the really appeal. There are part or full cycles out there that have some incredible performances and these are worth seeking out.

For example, both Kovacevich and Dubravka Tomsic  have made recordings of the Waldstein that have blown me away and nobody comes close to matching those with the possible exception of Gilels. Richter owns the Appassionata IMO but listen to Gilels' live Moscow performance from 1960 and you hear a definite rival along with Rubinstein's jaw dropping 1945 rendition.

Op 111 also throws up some candidates but for me it's a toss up between Barenboim (EMI) and Arrau (Classic Archives DVD). Moravec plays the best version of Op 90 that I've heard and then there's Richter again who has produced a peerless version of Op 13 (Moscow 1960). Who can match the brooding intensity of Solomon's "Moonlight" or Hungerford's deep and mystical op 31/3. I could go on and maybe we need a thread or two about favourite recordings of individual LvB PS recordings. One day I'll sit down and burn a compilation '32' from my favourites for each work.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 12:50:26 PM
For example, both Kovacevich and Dubravka Tomsic  have made recordings of the Waldstein that have blown me away and nobody comes close to matching those with the possible exception of Gilels.

Have you heard Serkin's mono recording of this work?  :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2008, 12:53:40 PM
Op 111 also throws up some candidates but for me it's a toss up between Barenboim (EMI) and Arrau (Classic Archives DVD).

For me Yudina delivers the best version of this one. Serkin's unreleased Op. 110 (1960) is unparalleled.

Quote
... maybe we need a thread or two about favourite recordings of individual LvB PS recordings.

Now you're talking.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 30, 2008, 05:04:34 PM
Goode isn't boring, of course.

He just happily strolls along in this music without mannerisms, without distorting, without showboating, without bludgeoning, etc...

Just give him a Beethoven score and let him dig, dig, dig. Dig with his powerful vision (that powerful X-ray vision he has! ;D) to uncover all the wondrous shapes and felicities which fill out the musical argument. All the while keeping a lively watch on the music's forward momentum. No bar line sag, ever.

If he lacks an 'angle' that's to his credit. The music simply...'simmers' (to its benefit) under his imaginative touch.

So, in short: gimme Goode any day. Despite rival cycles. 

No doubt some will be wondering from whence I derived this krazy konklusion. To them I offer a rundown of my credentials...

...I own Annie Fischer's cycle, Kempff's mono cycle, Gilels DG (near) cycle, along with tons of Richter...plus various individual CDs of Backhaus, Hobson, Solomon, McCawley, Pogorelich, Perahia, Friedman, Vogt, and who knows how many others over the years.



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 30, 2008, 07:53:49 PM
I would also add that despite all the adulation that Annie Fischer's set seems to have garnered on this thread I've yet to be wowed by it. Particularly the early sonatas bug me as they lack the youthful ardor so important to bringing these works off.




Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don on May 30, 2008, 09:17:49 PM
My favored performers are Gilels, A. Fischer, Gulda, Richter, Brendel, Sheppard and Sherman.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 30, 2008, 10:32:08 PM
Have you heard Serkin's mono recording of this work?  :o

No
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: val on May 31, 2008, 12:30:24 AM
The best version is, to me, the one of Friedrich Gulda (BRILLIANT CLASSICS). But I wouldn't advise anyone to start with it.

To discover this Sonatas, perhaps Brendel (VOX) or Annie Fischer are the best choices. They play simple, with lyricism and show a perfect balance.

Then, to go further in the universe of this extraordinary masterpieces, Schnabel, the first to record them, Arrau, slow but with an unique eloquence, Backhaus, severe but with his fascinating sense of the structure of each work (but he does not repeat the expositions), and Kempff (1951) with a very nice sound, deeply poetic.

Not forgetting the isolated CD of Serkin, Sviatoslav Richter, Solomon, Gilels, Michelangeli, Gelber ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on May 31, 2008, 02:43:49 AM
...or just go there. I know where this store is (in an arcade - incidentally, just across the street from the Athens Bar - where most Athenian classical music stores are located), although it's very likely to be overpriced.

That is bordering on being an understatement. ;D

But their stock is unmatched in the small labels, as far as I'm aware.


On-topic, I wonder why Paul Lewis is so unmentioned in this thread. Yes, I'll grant you he's no "devil of the keyboard", but honestly, his cycle has blown me away! If not for the magisterial Kempff, Lewis would easily be my first choice. :)

(One of these times I agree with Bryce Morrison's praise, bar the general high-flung bombast of his chosen writing style.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 31, 2008, 06:07:19 AM
On-topic, I wonder why Paul Lewis is so unmentioned in this thread.



Possibly because he's not very good, at least overall.  Some of the sonatas are really superb - the 106, for some reason, and the Op 49 works come to mind - but almost without fail I find him one of the least compelling Beethoven players on disc.  He's got beautiful tone, excellent technique, but he's almost as boring as Goode.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on May 31, 2008, 07:25:17 AM


Possibly because he's not very good, at least overall.  Some of the sonatas are really superb - the 106, for some reason, and the Op 49 works come to mind - but almost without fail I find him one of the least compelling Beethoven players on disc.  He's got beautiful tone, excellent technique, but he's almost as boring as Goode.

Yes, I registered the view previously.

But "he's not good" to "I find him one of the least compelling" have quite a distance between them, so I was just wondering why so few people find him compelling, when indeed "compelling" would probably be the word I'd use to describe him, myself.

Just being curious. Otherwise, tastes differ. And as I said (and repeated) above, I still prefer Kempff. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on May 31, 2008, 08:43:42 AM


...I own Annie Fischer's cycle, Kempff's mono cycle, Gilels DG (near) cycle, along with tons of Richter...plus various individual CDs of Backhaus, Hobson, Solomon, McCawley, Pogorelich, Perahia, Friedman, Vogt, and who knows how many others over the years.



  You haven't heard Gulda on the Brilliant label donwyn??  You won't believe the quick pace coupled with the remarkable precision of his playing.  Very exciting performances indeed!  Yup, Gulda's  8) my man here!

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 02:21:34 PM
He's got beautiful tone, excellent technique, but he's almost as boring as Goode.

Pistols at twenty paces...



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 31, 2008, 02:35:04 PM
Pistols at twenty paces...

(http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:utF9FYoN7kqigM:http://www.goodha.com/FStore/Work_Files/2007/11/25/136/thr_136_28780384.gif)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: ezodisy on May 31, 2008, 02:43:07 PM
Pistols at twenty paces...

Don't ask me how I found it, but this should help the two of you: http://www.gayduel.com
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 03:16:31 PM
  You haven't heard Gulda on the Brilliant label donwyn??  You won't believe the quick pace coupled with the remarkable precision of his playing.  Very exciting performances indeed!  Yup, Gulda's  8) my man here!

  marvin

Marvin,

No, I've never heard Gulda's Beethoven. But I'm familiar with his style from an LP I have of him in various other repertoire. Yes, Gulda is fleet but on the LP I have fleetness doesn't necessarily equate with depth.

I don't mind a performer being methodical (read: more tempered) as long as what they're conjuring from the score makes up for what might be considered 'lagging about'. I simply don't get bored when a performer goes on an excavating tour of the music and comes up with gold nuggets. Maybe I'm lucky...maybe I have a certain tolerance others don't in the absence of 500 horsepower, super-turbo-charged, drag strip renditions of a given piece.

All I know is I simply don't need speed to get me excited. To me the world revolves around that age old adage: 'there's beauty in the details'. Certainly I'm not immune to the rush of a neck-breaking rollercoaster ride (Six Flags is fifteen minutes from me! ;D) but honestly I can get just as great a kick from breaking down the in's and out's of how the ride induces such a rush.

So when a performer - say, of Goode's caliber - puts on the breaks and trips around the 'innards' of a particular work, unlocking the mysteries one by one instead of whizzing them all by me en masse, I take notice.

Anyway, not that I wouldn't like Gulda's Beethoven if I heard it. I bet it's great! I just haven't the urge right now to invest in any more Beethoven sonatas. Although, y'know, my birthday is right around the corner... ;D




Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 03:56:40 PM
(http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:utF9FYoN7kqigM:http://www.goodha.com/FStore/Work_Files/2007/11/25/136/thr_136_28780384.gif)


 ;D


(http://content9.flixster.com/photo/90/97/45/9097455_gal.jpg)


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 31, 2008, 03:59:52 PM
No one's faster than the Waco Kid I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 31, 2008, 04:04:07 PM
donwyn's next avatar:

(http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMjE3MTEyNTg1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODExNjM2._V1._CR74,0,301,301_SS100_.jpg)

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 04:06:43 PM
No one's faster than the Waco Kid I'm afraid.

 :D



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 04:11:36 PM
donwyn's next avatar:

(http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMjE3MTEyNTg1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODExNjM2._V1._CR74,0,301,301_SS100_.jpg)

 ;D

Done! ;D




Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 31, 2008, 04:13:11 PM
Done! ;D






 ;D :D ;D

literally laughing out loud!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 31, 2008, 04:47:39 PM
I would also add that despite all the adulation that Annie Fischer's set seems to have garnered on this thread I've yet to be wowed by it. Particularly the early sonatas bug me as they lack the youthful ardor so important to bringing these works off.
I'm with you, buckaroo.  Like Gulda's "Brilliant" set, or Buchbinder's, or those I've heard by Brendel, the Fischer recordings are good enough, but I'm not merely pleased but wowed by Kempf, Kovacevich, and Goode, and by each in different ways.  I probably ought to sell some of my other cycles, since when I listen to one I always think of what I'm missing by not hearing one of these three.  Still, for anyone seeking a first cycle with which to gain familiarity with this amazing body of work, Gulda's cycle on Brilliant is certainly a cost effective way to go.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 05:24:42 PM
I'm with you, buckaroo. 

Are you referring to my new avatar? ;D



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 05:25:49 PM
;D :D ;D

literally laughing out loud!

Yeah, that was a heck of a laugh! ;D



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 31, 2008, 08:05:58 PM
Are you referring to my new avatar? ;D
Absolutely.  And I really am from Waco.  (It's twue, it's twue!)  And I thank you for your constant graciousness, impeccable good taste (save for your curious fondness for a certain Sibelius cycle!  ;) ), and consistently fine recommendations. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 31, 2008, 08:23:57 PM
In honor of the Blazing Saddles love going on at the moment, I'll change my avatar to a portrait of Harvey Korman, who sadly passed away two days ago at the age of 81. He will be missed. :(
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PSmith08 on May 31, 2008, 08:57:14 PM
In honor of the Blazing Saddles love going on at the moment, I'll change my avatar to a portrait of Harvey Korman, who sadly passed away two days ago at the age of 81. He will be missed. :(

Indeed he will.

His pinnacle, for me, will always be High Anxiety and his brilliant turn as Dr. Charles Montague.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 31, 2008, 09:37:55 PM
Absolutely.  And I really am from Waco.  (It's twue, it's twue!)  And I thank you for your constant graciousness, impeccable good taste (save for your curious fondness for a certain Sibelius cycle!  ;) ), and consistently fine recommendations. 

Well, thank you very much for saying so, Dave! And back atcha!

And about that Ashkenazy cycle...I'll try...(first step is admitting there's a problem, right? ;D).



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on May 31, 2008, 09:40:44 PM
Possibly because he's not very good, at least overall.  Some of the sonatas are really superb - the 106, for some reason, and the Op 49 works come to mind - but almost without fail I find him one of the least compelling Beethoven players on disc.  He's got beautiful tone, excellent technique, but he's almost as boring as Goode.

I mostly agree with this view (I'm not familiar with Goode's Beethoven). Lewis has very good qualities (his tone, especially, is indeed beautiful) and some quite interesting insights but the overall results in most cases (including many of the well known sonatas) end up being undistinguished and pedestrian. His sometimes audible hum of a breath can be distracting (and unwillingly funny), too, but that's really Harmonia Mundi's problem.

But "he's not good" to "I find him one of the least compelling" have quite a distance between them...

Otherwise, tastes differ.

It's just that; he is good in many ways but the synthesis of his qualities doesn't satisfy (certainly not as much as some reviews would make one think) and we all know Beethoven's sonatas are much more than the sum of their parts. An ongoing cycle which I feel it's really worth getting to know is Schiff's; I find him much more insightful than Lewis at any rate.
And, of course, your last sentence says it all.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Renfield on June 01, 2008, 04:41:16 AM
It's just that; he is good in many ways but the synthesis of his qualities doesn't satisfy (certainly not as much as some reviews would make one think) and we all know Beethoven's sonatas are much more than the sum of their parts. An ongoing cycle which I feel it's really worth getting to know is Schiff's; I find him much more insightful than Lewis at any rate.
And, of course, your last sentence says it all.  :)

More than fair enough! :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 04:45:16 AM
And about that Ashkenazy cycle...I'll try...(first step is admitting there's a problem, right? ;D).

I must still be in denial. I see no problem in loving the Ashkenazy Sibelius Symphonies.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: springrite on June 01, 2008, 04:47:30 AM
I have only heard one Beethoven sonata from Goode, and it was a LIVE performance. While it was good overall, it did not leave a strong impression and given the strong competition, I did not consider buying the CDs.

I think Goode is at his best playing the wonderful works of George Perle.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on June 01, 2008, 05:21:56 AM
I must still be in denial. I see no problem in loving the Ashkenazy Sibelius Symphonies.  8)
Nor do I, even though it's probably the set I like least among all I know.  I brought it up with Don because it's such an odd exception to our usually coincident taste--and it's chiefly because he likes it so much that I continue to listen to it in hopes that it will grow on me.  ;D  After all, anyone who appreciates the fluid grace, thoughtful virtuosity, and classical restraint of Goode's Beethoven sonata cycle is one whose opinions are likely to carry particular weight with me (and I'm surprised to find fewer of us here!).  8)

BTW, a couple of others have mentioned Gilels's not-quite-complete cycle.  I have only one disc from that set, but it contains a Waldstein that is so nearly perfect to my ears that I battle myself every time I play it over whether to acquire the boxset or not.  So far I've resisted, but only because I already have several cycles, at least three of which I find very satisfying.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 05:37:30 AM
Nor do I, even though it's probably the set I like least among all I know.  I brought it up with Don because it's such an odd exception to our usually coincident taste--and it's chiefly because he likes it so much that I continue to listen to it in hopes that it will grow on me.  ;D 

I am still trying to do the same with Goode, actually. It may be time for another listening session with his set.  8)

Quote
BTW, a couple of others have mentioned Gilels's not-quite-complete cycle.  I have only one disc from that set, but it contains a Waldstein that is so nearly perfect to my ears that I battle myself every time I play it over whether to acquire the boxset or not.  So far I've resisted, but only because I already have several cycles, at least three of which I find very satisfying.

Oh yeah, that Gilels set is wonderful. You will never hear a set with better slow movements. The mines the depths and discovers gold each time.

The set is cheap and takes up very little shelf space...nudge, nudge.  $:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 01, 2008, 05:38:50 AM
I only have 4 or 5 cycles, not heard them all so don't know which is best, but for me, the overall effect of O'Conor's is very nice indeed. From y'all's descriptions, I suppose it is rather more like Goode's than any other, but there is no element of blandness that I can detect, just a wonderful poetry, technical mastery, and topped off with great sound (Telefunken, after all!). I'm of the school that would sooner put a set together from parts than expect to buy one, perfect set, but if I had to just grab one off the shelf, this would be it.

On fortepiano, my preference, there are 2 cycles under way by 2 master pianists, and it is a much harder choice. When they are both finished, choosing between Brautigam and Komen will be extremely difficult. Fortunately, I won't have to choose. :D

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Ferenc Fricsay - LvB Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 5th mvmt
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 05:44:42 AM
I only have 4 or 5 cycles, not heard them all so don't know which is best, but for me, the overall effect of O'Conor's is very nice indeed. From y'all's descriptions, I suppose it is rather more like Goode's than any other, but there is no element of blandness that I can detect, just a wonderful poetry, technical mastery, and topped off with great sound (Telefunken, after all!). I'm of the school that would sooner put a set together from parts than expect to buy one, perfect set...

Someone needs to start that best peromance of each sonata thread. Perhaps we could do one thread for each period?


Quote
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Ferenc Fricsay - LvB Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 5th mvmt

It must be Sunday... 0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 05:53:54 AM
If only his outer movements were faster, he'd be a top choice for sure. His slow movements are unmatched IMO.

I don't agree. If his outer movements were faster, he wouldn't be Gilels and he wouldn't have my vote as the top cycle (however incomplete). I prefer Gilels' broader tempos.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 01, 2008, 05:58:32 AM
Someone needs to start that best peromance of each sonata thread. Perhaps we could do one thread for each period?

Holden started it already, beginning with Op 101... :)

Quote
It must be Sunday... 0:)

 0:)   Yes, my treat for the week. Fricsay is a peach. :)

8)



----------------
Listening to:
Haydn - London Sonatas - Ronald Brautigam - Hob 16 49 Sonata #59 in Eb for Fortepiano 2nd mvmt - Adagio e cantabile
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 06:02:31 AM
I must still be in denial. I see no problem in loving the Ashkenazy Sibelius Symphonies.  8)

Neither do I...his Third especially I could not live without.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 06:09:33 AM
BTW, a couple of others have mentioned Gilels's not-quite-complete cycle.  I have only one disc from that set, but it contains a Waldstein that is so nearly perfect to my ears....

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/ngmg/bUTTHEAD.gif)

Superb cover art too:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/new/BGApp.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 06:27:03 AM
Sarge, you heard the Gilels live Appassionata from the Green Beethoven Gilels Brilliant box?

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 06:40:26 AM
Sarge, you heard the Gilels live Appassionata from the Green Beethoven Gilels Brilliant box?



No I haven't. Worth acquiring? (I think I know your answer  :D )

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 06:45:18 AM
No I haven't. Worth acquiring? (I think I know your answer  :D )

Sarge

 ;D

Yes, it's worth the price of the whole set for that one performance.

I don't even think you'd know it was the same pianist. It's more - no much more intense and less refined.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 07:14:43 AM
Although Todd, on purpose, didn't include every incomplete set, I think at least one other pianist should be included. I'm hoping he won't mind if I revise his list:

Individual, idiosyncratic, even eccentric: Eric Heidsieck, Russell Sherman, Anton Kuerti, Georges Pludermacher, Glenn Gould.

Although the Appasionata is deliberately sabotaged by GG, and few of the rest come out unscathed by Gouldian distortions, the set is worth hearing and, I think, does contain insights--into Gould's mind, of course, but also Beethoven's. Gould's convictions about Beethoven interpretation were heart-felt and real. Phenomenal, even mind-boggling technique is a given. If nothing else, he makes you sit up and really listen to these overfamiliar works again. The early sonatas are lovingly, and convincingly rendered.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: springrite on June 01, 2008, 07:19:15 AM
I love GG's Hammerklavier.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 01, 2008, 07:22:23 AM
Although Todd, on purpose, didn't include every incomplete set, I think at least one other pianist should be included. I'm hoping he won't mind if I revise his list:

Individual, idiosyncratic, even eccentric: Eric Heidsieck, Russell Sherman, Anton Kuerti, Georges Pludermacher, Glenn Gould.

Although the Appasionata is deliberately sabotaged by GG,

Sarge

   >:( Glenn Gould deliberately sabotaged the Appasionata?? how so?   I have not heard Gould's recording and am interested in reading more about this!

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 07:28:37 AM
   >:( Glenn Gould deliberately sabotaged the Appasionata?? how so?   I have not heard Gould's recording and am interested in reading more about this!

  marvin

http://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Gould-Reader-Tim-Page/dp/0679731350

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 01, 2008, 07:37:01 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Gould-Reader-Tim-Page/dp/0679731350



From the table of contents of that book on page 43 (edit: sorry page 51) he discusses the Appasionata.  I'll have to skim through that book at WH Smith or some other bookstore in London later this week to see what all the fuss is about!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 07:52:11 AM
   >:( Glenn Gould deliberately sabotaged the Appasionata?? how so?   I have not heard Gould's recording and am interested in reading more about this!

  marvin

Most noticeable is the very deliberate pacing of the first and second movements (so ponderous even I, who loves broad tempos, can become impatient on occasion) and the inversion of dynamics (playing soft where Beethoven marked forté and vice versa). In the slow movement he takes 11 minutes versus Gilels' six and half. It seems to go on forever.

He really hated this sonata. He thought it was egoistic and pompous; a failure not much better than Wellington's Victory. So he decided to play it as egocentrically as possible...in effect giving us in spades what he thought Beethoven meant by the work: total self-absorption.

I have to admit I love it ;D  If you let yourself sink into it, forget preconceptions, forget how everyone else plays it, forget Beethoven basically, the music really works...which I'm sure Gould would have hated  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: springrite on June 01, 2008, 07:57:50 AM
At least GG did this only to some of Beethoven's sonatas, whereas he did this to ALL of Mozart's sonatas.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 07:59:56 AM
I love GG's Hammerklavier.

I do too. It's a work Gould took seriously and he spent a lot of time on it. It's an amazing performance.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 08:01:03 AM
From the table of contents of that book on page 43 (edit: sorry page 51) he discusses the Appasionata.  I'll have to skim through that book at WH Smith or some other bookstore in London later this week to see what all the fuss is about!!

  marvin

Yeah, if I was more than a three fingered typer, I'd post it for you.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 01, 2008, 08:02:33 AM
Most noticeable is the very deliberate pacing of the first and second movements (so ponderous even I, who loves broad tempos, can become impatient on occasion) and the inversion of dynamics (playing soft where Beethoven marked forté and vice versa).

Sarge

 Aghh  >:( that's a blasphemy in and of itself.  Beethoven's greatest innovation (ushering in the Romantic movement in music) is to be found in his revoltionary style:  loud one moment, soft the next, very loud in another moment then very soft the next and so on!  Failure to follow his instructions is grounds for immediate dismissal and outrage.  GG should be ashamed of himself!

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 01, 2008, 08:05:28 AM
Yeah, if I was more than a three fingered typer, I'd post it for you.

 don't worry about it George I'll find a copy of that book later this week  :).

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 08:08:09 AM
GG should be ashamed of himself!

  marvin

He wasn't. He thought Beethoven should be ashamed of himself...but that's our Glenn  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 01, 2008, 08:09:44 AM
He wasn't. He thought Beethoven should be ashamed of himself...but that's our Glenn  ;D

Sarge

Your Glenn, not mine. I'll share Beethoven with you though. :)

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Haydn - London Sonatas - Ronald Brautigam - Hob 16 50 Sonata #60 in C for Fortepiano 1st mvmt - Allegro
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 08:32:39 AM
Your Glenn, not mine. I'll share Beethoven with you though. :)

8)

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 01, 2008, 11:06:21 AM
At least GG did this only to some of Beethoven's sonatas, whereas he did this to ALL of Mozart's sonatas.

 WHAT THE $£%$!!  He even sabotaged Mozart's sonatas  :o!!  What is wrong with this guy??  First he records Bach's Goldberg Variations on piano  ::) (harpsichord anyone??)  then he mutilates Beethoven's and Mozart's sonatas intentionally  :o and SHAMELESSLY!! Why do they allow this guy to record keyboard masterpieces if his heart and good intentions aren't into it??  I know, I know stop your questions Marvin and go read the book in George's link  ::)!

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 11:31:29 AM
WHAT THE $£%$!!  He even sabotaged Mozart's sonatas  :o!!  What is wrong with this guy??  First he records Bach's Goldberg Variations on piano  ::) (harpsichord anyone??)  then he mutilates Beethoven's and Mozart's sonatas intentionally  :o and SHAMELESSLY!! Why do they allow this guy to record keyboard masterpieces if his heart and good intentions aren't into it??  I know, I know stop your questions Marvin and go read the book in George's link  ::)!

  marvin

Any decent pianist can play the notes Mozart wrote...it takes a real master to mess them up as ingeniously as Gould did  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 01, 2008, 11:54:43 AM
WHAT THE $£%$!!  He even sabotaged Mozart's sonatas  :o!!  What is wrong with this guy??  First he records Bach's Goldberg Variations on piano  ::) (harpsichord anyone??)  then he mutilates Beethoven's and Mozart's sonatas intentionally  :o and SHAMELESSLY!! Why do they allow this guy to record keyboard masterpieces if his heart and good intentions aren't into it??  I know, I know stop your questions Marvin and go read the book in George's link  ::)!

  marvin
You want to know why? Because

1)GG does not care about Beethoven or Mozart

2)GG cars about GG and nothing and nobody else. Everything HAS to be about him, whether it's Bach or Beethoven or Brahms. He is the antithesis of someone like Claude Frank or Andras Schiff where the music comes first with no fanfare or pretense. With GG there has to be a headline with every performance and recording. He NEEDS to hear the "oohs" and "ahhs" and the audience going: wow GG did this and that.

Frankly I am tired of his antics. His big box set is extremely unenjoyable and I am giving it away to a co-worker instead. She is a big GG fan so maybe she'll put up with him.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 11:57:03 AM
Why do they allow this guy to record keyboard masterpieces if his heart and good intentions aren't into it??

Some things he recorded because his record company insisted on it (like an album of the famous "named" Beethoven sonatas which produced that distorted Appassionata but a very good, and very fresh and invigorating Moonlight in a proper Classical style). Other things he recorded simply because he wanted to show his contempt for the music. The Mozart cycle is really complicated. I can't quite figure Gould out here. He always claimed he hated Mozart, especially the later sonatas (he tended to prefer the early music of many composers). So why record them all? Why not just the few he liked? A puzzle. (By the way, I like his Mozart; he gives many of the sonatas a Baroque feel which, if not really correct, is always interesting).

Bach was usually peformed on piano in the Fifties so Gould wasn't really breaking any taboos there. And to this day, many of us (myself included) prefer the piano to any other keyboard used in Bach.

But your main question has a simple answer, Marvin: Why was he allowed to record? Because he was a genius of the keyboard and one of the most fascinating musical figures of the century. I like him for another reason: his repertoire wasn't the usual Chopin, Schumann, Liszt but ranged far and wide: Strauss, Schoenberg, Valen, Sibelius, Hindemith, Haydn, Byrd, Gibbons...Wagner! He made brilliant piano versions of the Meistersinger Oveture, the Rhine Journey, the Siegfried Idyll...he loved Wagner. His conducting debut and, as it turned out, his final recording was the Siegfried Idyll with the Toronto SO.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: The new erato on June 01, 2008, 12:15:57 PM


2)GG cars about GG and nothing and nobody else. Everything HAS to be about him,

Wow. Reminds me of the last biography of Wagner that I read.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 01, 2008, 12:25:51 PM
Some things he recorded because his record company insisted on it (like an album of the famous "named" Beethoven sonatas which produced that distorted Appassionata but a very good, and very fresh and invigorating Moonlight in a proper Classical style). Other things he recorded simply because he wanted to show his contempt for the music. The Mozart cycle is really complicated. I can't quite figure Gould out here. He always claimed he hated Mozart, especially the later sonatas (he tended to prefer the early music of many composers). So why record them all? Why not just the few he liked? A puzzle. (By the way, I like his Mozart; he gives many of the sonatas a Baroque feel which, if not really correct, is always interesting).

Bach was usually peformed on piano in the Fifties so Gould wasn't really breaking any taboos there. And to this day, many of us (myself included) prefer the piano to any other keyboard used in Bach.

But your main question has a simple answer, Marvin: Why was he allowed to record? Because he was a genius of the keyboard and one of the most fascinating musical figures of the century. I like him for another reason: his repertoire wasn't the usual Chopin, Schumann, Liszt but ranged far and wide: Strauss, Schoenberg, Valen, Sibelius, Hindemith, Haydn, Byrd, Gibbons...Wagner! He made brilliant piano versions of the Meistersinger Oveture, the Rhine Journey, the Siegfried Idyll...he loved Wagner. His conducting debut and, as it turned out, his final recording was the Siegfried Idyll with the Toronto SO.

Sarge

 PW, Sarge thanks for your responses.  I do not have a single recording of Gould's and up and until your posts I had no idea he was such a....oh what's the expression I am looking for " Prima Donna".  For some reason piano performers tend to be far more eccentric than one would think.  I have been going through the liner notes of my Gulda set of Beethoven's piano sonata and the last paragraph reads as follows:

  "Gulda liked to stir even outside music.  In 1999 he uncannily announced his own death and disappeared for a few days. Only to reappear later on and have a Resurrection-Party"

  Thankfully his approach to Beethoven's piano sonatas is more.....sensible.

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Don on June 01, 2008, 12:28:56 PM
PW, Sarge thanks for your responses.  I do not have a single recording of Gould's and up and until your posts I had no idea he was such a....oh what's the expression I am looking for " Prima Donna".  
  marvin

No Gould?  If nothing else, you need to acquire Gould's Bach - there's nothing like it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on June 01, 2008, 12:32:32 PM
No Gould?  If nothing else, you need to acquire Gould's Bach - there's nothing like it.
Seconded.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 01, 2008, 12:38:27 PM
PW, Sarge thanks for your responses.  I do not have a single recording of Gould's and up and until your posts I had no idea he was such a....oh what's the expression I am looking for " Prima Donna".

I prefer "an eccentric character of genius." He thought about things deeply and had reasons for everything he did. That he often went against the grain is to his credit, I think. We need to have the pot stirred occasionally. In the end the man was just like all of us: he loved some things, he loathed others. The difference between him and us is that he had a world stage that allowed him to propagate his love and loathings.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 01, 2008, 01:03:10 PM
Seconded.

make that a triple cheeseburger.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PSmith08 on June 01, 2008, 01:16:13 PM
WHAT THE $£%$!!  He even sabotaged Mozart's sonatas  :o!!  What is wrong with this guy??

He was one of the few bona fide musical geniuses of his generation. Gould's approach to a piece, far from being a hack noodling on a keyboard, represents a lot of thought and a lot of talent.

PW, Sarge thanks for your responses.  I do not have a single recording of Gould's and up and until your posts I had no idea he was such a....oh what's the expression I am looking for " Prima Donna".  For some reason piano performers tend to be far more eccentric than one would think.

I'll second the advice that you've been given and tell you to go buy Gould's 1955 Goldbergs (though I prefer the 1959 Salzburg set), his Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1, and his performance of Liszt's transcription of Beethoven's 6th. They'll be a revelation.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on June 02, 2008, 05:28:29 AM
I can't quite figure Gould out here.
Sarge

Neither could any of Gould's doctors.  At the very least Gould was severely neurotic: super-hypochondriacal, obsessive (shared Howard Hughes' germ phobia), reclusive, possibly paranoiac, and goodness knows what else.  A small but intriguing bit of his medical history has been made public at the Glenn Gould Archive (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/glenngould/028010-502.17-e.html), but that raises more questions than answers. 

I have to take Gould's music purely on the basis of the way it sounds to me.  If it sounds good, great.  If it sounds wrong, I won't listen again as I find it too disquieting.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 02, 2008, 06:07:32 AM
He was one of the few bona fide musical geniuses of his generation. Gould's approach to a piece, far from being a hack noodling on a keyboard, represents a lot of thought and a lot of talent.


  OK but why does he have to go against the composers' wishes and instructions?   I want to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven's marvelous piano sonatas NOT Ludwig van Gould's  ::) piano sonatas - surely you can sympathize with me here PSmith08?

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 02, 2008, 06:17:02 AM
  OK but why does he have to go against the composers' wishes and instructions?   I want to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven's marvelous piano sonatas NOT Ludwig van Gould's  ::) piano sonatas - surely you can sympathize with me here PSmith08?

  marvin

Every Beethoven cycle is different. Which one is truest to Beethoven? They can't all be. Gould takes liberties in some of the sonatas, gross liberties in a few (op.57, 109, 111) but it's always still Beethoven. I don't want to give you the wrong idea, Marvin. Unless you have intimate knowledge of all 32, you might not even notice any deviation in a Gould performance. And some of Gould's performances, like the Pastorale or the Hammerklavier, are among of the best Beethoven you'll ever hear.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 02, 2008, 06:25:26 AM
Every Beethoven cycle is different. Which one is truest to Beethoven? They can't all be. Gould takes liberties in some of the sonatas, gross liberties in a few (op.57, 109, 111) but it's always still Beethoven. I don't want to give you the wrong idea, Marvin. Unless you have intimate knowledge of all 32, you might not even notice any deviation in a Gould performance. And some of Gould's performances, like the Pastorale or the Hammerklavier, are among of the best Beethoven you'll ever hear.

Sarge

  I'll keep an open mind.  I am quite familiar with a lot of Beethoven's piano sonatas.  I used to take piano lessons growing up and have played quite a few excerpts from those sonatas- especially the moonlight and pathetique.  Plus I've listened to the Gulda set so many times so I am quite familiar with all 32.  I think I'll see if I can get my hands on Gould's Appasionate first- I am very curious to hear his interpretation- whether I will subscribe to it or not remains to be seen.

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 02, 2008, 06:32:24 AM
  OK but why does he have to go against the composers' wishes and instructions?   I want to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven's marvelous piano sonatas NOT Ludwig van Gould's  ::) piano sonatas - surely you can sympathize with me here PSmith08?

  marvin

I think the pianist should be allowed a certain amount of interpretive freedom. I believe that back in the day pianists had more freedom than they do today, actually. Frankly, I think that is a good thing, for if they play too close to what is written, the performances begin to sound the same. I have over a dozen sets of these sonatas, but only because they all interpret these works differently. Gould taking that a step or two further is OK with me. I may not enjoy all of it, but I think it's important to allow the pianist to have the freedom to express his interpretation.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PSmith08 on June 02, 2008, 07:57:24 PM
  OK but why does he have to go against the composers' wishes and instructions?   I want to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven's marvelous piano sonatas NOT Ludwig van Gould's  ::) piano sonatas - surely you can sympathize with me here PSmith08?

  marvin

I would echo the Sergeant and George, but say this - if the performer is not allowed some degree of artistic freedom, then there is really no sense in performance. "[The] composers' wishes and instructions" will never be clearer than in the score, and, if you can read music, then you should stick to the score. Every performer, save some sort of computer program (and they are getting pretty good, if you want to sit and key in the score information), is going to interpret. Gould probably took more liberties than most, but - unlike many performers - his liberties always had a rationale. (The Sergeant is correct, though, many of his interpretative choices are hard to spot unless you've got a score in front of you and are very familiar with performance practice, others are fairly obvious.) Some of those liberties are positively brilliant and shed new light on old warhorses, and some are clearly the product of a very smart and very eccentric fellow. That's the danger of interpretation. What makes Gould so great, though, is his ability to converse with the score and present his understanding clearly and precisely. The man was an artist.

The irony of that admittedly fabulous (though I end up listening to Pollini often as not) Hammerklavier is that Gould really didn't care for the piece.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on June 03, 2008, 06:07:32 AM
  OK but why does he have to go against the composers' wishes and instructions?   I want to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven's marvelous piano sonatas NOT Ludwig van Gould's  ::) piano sonatas - surely you can sympathize with me here PSmith08?

  marvin

I would echo the Sergeant and George, but say this - if the performer is not allowed some degree of artistic freedom, then there is really no sense in performance. "[The] composers' wishes and instructions" will never be clearer than in the score, and, if you can read music, then you should stick to the score. Every performer, save some sort of computer program (and they are getting pretty good, if you want to sit and key in the score information), is going to interpret. Gould probably took more liberties than most, but - unlike many performers - his liberties always had a rationale. (The Sergeant is correct, though, many of his interpretative choices are hard to spot unless you've got a score in front of you and are very familiar with performance practice, others are fairly obvious.) Some of those liberties are positively brilliant and shed new light on old warhorses, and some are clearly the product of a very smart and very eccentric fellow. That's the danger of interpretation. What makes Gould so great, though, is his ability to converse with the score and present his understanding clearly and precisely. The man was an artist.

The irony of that admittedly fabulous (though I end up listening to Pollini often as not) Hammerklavier is that Gould really didn't care for the piece.

I have to agree: the musician as an artist must have absolute freedom to interpret as he or she wishes.  Sometimes the results are catastrophic; only think of Pogorelich's recent recitals!  However, sometimes the eccentric interpretation benefits the music by revealing things that are more hidden by conventional performance.  Composers' intentions are only guideposts in an ocean of sounds.  In the end, it's the artist's responsibility to make sense of the music and create the performance.  We are only listening, and either enjoying the performance or relegating it to the back shelf. 

Marvin, no one is coercing you to buy or listen to Gould.  If you think from what you have read here that he is not to your taste, then pass him by.  It's a big world and it's crowded with Beethoven recordings. There is more than enough to satisfy everyone's taste, and there are always new "greatest" recordings waiting to be made.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: op.110 on June 04, 2008, 02:16:26 PM
I haven't been on the forums for a few days now; thanks for all your suggestions. I think I'll go with either Gilels or Kempff.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 04, 2008, 02:26:44 PM
I haven't been on the forums for a few days now; thanks for all your suggestions. I think I'll go with either Gilels or Kempff.

The Gilels can be easily sampled on itunes, but the Kempff is not. Suffice to say that if you want a smaller scaled Beethoven, Kempff is your man. Personally, I think Gilels is better suited to these works as a whole, even if he did miss a few sonatas. He should be cheaper as well.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on June 08, 2008, 05:16:52 AM
http://www.amazon.de/Die-Klaviersonaten-Paul-Badura-Skoda/dp/B0000669UV/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1212835442&sr=1-1

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31CYM5QXF1L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

How about this one, any opinions?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 08, 2008, 05:31:13 AM
How about this one, any opinions?


Overall a quite enjoyable cycle.  It's on the smaller-scaled, more personal side, and some of PBS' playing is occasionally a bit gruff, but that's quite fine.  His Op 57, 81a, and 106 are highlights for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: marvinbrown on June 08, 2008, 05:38:06 AM
I haven't been on the forums for a few days now; thanks for all your suggestions. I think I'll go with either Gilels or Kempff.

  I am going to get trampled on by the rest of the GMG members for posting this but isn't the Gilels set incomplete?

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 08, 2008, 05:40:39 AM
...isn't the Gilels set incomplete?



Alas, yes.  But what's there is more than worth hearing. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 08, 2008, 05:47:18 AM


Alas, yes.  But what's there is more than worth hearing. 

Are there live performances available that can fill in the gaps?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 08, 2008, 05:50:02 AM
  I am going to get trampled on by the rest of the GMG members for posting this but isn't the Gilels set incomplete?

  marvin

He only misses 4 (1, 9, 22 and 32) and includes the two Electoral Sonatas - WoO 47.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 08, 2008, 09:01:36 AM
Are there live performances available that can fill in the gaps?


I haven't looked into Gilels' discography much yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are.  (Once I'm finished with complete or near-complete cycles, I'm going to delve more deeply into individual recordings, hopefully sometime next year.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 08, 2008, 09:35:20 AM

I haven't looked into Gilels' discography much yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are.  (Once I'm finished with complete or near-complete cycles, I'm going to delve more deeply into individual recordings, hopefully sometime next year.)

Yeah, I consulted a few discographies and apparently he never recorded those 4 sonatas.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 08, 2008, 09:51:02 AM
He only misses 4 (1, 9, 22 and 32) and includes the two Electoral Sonatas - WoO 47.

Do not forget the third Electoral Sonate.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 08, 2008, 11:20:56 AM
Do not forget the third Electoral Sonate.

My set didn't include it.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on June 08, 2008, 11:37:37 AM

Overall a quite enjoyable cycle.  It's on the smaller-scaled, more personal side, and some of PBS' playing is occasionally a bit gruff, but that's quite fine.  His Op 57, 81a, and 106 are highlights for me.

Soudbites do sound quite interesting and he plays on a Bösendorfer.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 08, 2008, 12:56:05 PM
My set didn't include it.  :-\

Precisely, do not forget, that he did not record it. Surely his intention was to record it, as he recorded the other two.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 08, 2008, 12:57:38 PM
Precisely, do not forget, that he did not record it. Surely his intention was to record it, as he recorded the other two.

Gotcha!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 08, 2008, 01:16:40 PM
Gotcha!

Great  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sam adams on June 25, 2008, 04:45:53 AM
There is a pretty good write-up here on cycles; it is part way down the page.

http://weta.org/fm/blog/?p=295 (http://weta.org/fm/blog/?p=295)

PS He opts for Gulda(Amadeo)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 17, 2008, 01:02:34 PM
PS He opts for Gulda(Amadeo)

He actually rates the stereo Backhaus just ahead of the Gulda. Personally, I like the Gulda more. I find it more consistent and more youthful.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sam adams on July 18, 2008, 06:58:17 AM
He actually rates the stereo Backhaus just ahead of the Gulda. Personally, I like the Gulda more. I find it more consistent and more youthful.

That is true. On a personal note he would give up Backhuas last, however he did recommend Gulda first over Backhaus and the rest as a universal cycle if you can only have one. Probably a case that many of us have when they say who their absolute favorite is, but then recommend something else to start with that may have a more widespread appeal.

As for me, I like Gulda and A Fischer the best. However, I have listened to them alot more than Backhaus. I get the feeling he grows on you more with repeated listenings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 18, 2008, 08:50:53 AM


As for me, I like Gulda and A Fischer the best.

Your taste is impeccable. (they are my two faves as well)  8)

Quote
However, I have listened to them alot more than Backhaus. I get the feeling he grows on you more with repeated listenings.

I have heard that. I need to revisit my set, as I have heard it since I first listened through it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sam adams on July 21, 2008, 05:09:27 AM
Your taste is impeccable. (they are my two faves as well)  8)

I have heard that. I need to revisit my set, as I have heard it since I first listened through it.

I don't know if my taste is impeccable due to the fact that I have not listened to a fraction of the sets that you and Todd have.

I only have heard:

Frank (cut my teeth with this set)
Gulda (Amadeo)
A Fischer
Backhaus (Stereo)
Schnabel
Arrau (1960's)

I also have Solomon's and Pollini's late sets. I feel I need to hear Rosen's late set from all the praise heaped upon it in every message board I visit (even RMCR, who can't seem to agree on anything except that). I cannot find it avaible at a reasonable cost any longer. It seems to be OOP.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41m1T13kuhL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on July 21, 2008, 06:07:38 AM
I feel I need to hear Rosen's late set from all the praise heaped upon it in every message board I visit (even RMCR, who can't seem to agree on anything except that). I cannot find it avaible at a reasonable cost any longer. It seems to be OOP.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41m1T13kuhL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

One of the reasons that I bought the SONY Beethoven "Big Box", that 60 disk one, is that the 6 late sonatas were the Rosen performances. I know you can't get it for what I did at Amazon when it first came out ($27 and free shipping), but you can still get it and not only have those but several other good performances that should easily exceed in value what you pay for the box. :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 21, 2008, 06:10:48 AM
I don't know if my taste is impeccable...

It was a joke.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 06:30:23 AM
Rosen is outstanding in the later sonatas, even better in the Diabellis (and based on a live performance I heard in 2003 or so when he was close to 80, he's still got it). The only two complete sets I have right now are Gulda and Heidsieck. Gulda is a keeper. Heidsieck does many fine things, but apparently can't resist the occasional bizarre voicing, phrasing, or tempo (e.g., the way he takes a huge ritard before the final Presto in the Appassionata!) - to the point where I feel I want to throw the set out the window. And of course there is the home piano and the Kalmus Urtext, which lets me hear the sonatas the way I want any time, even if 10x more sloppy than Schnabel at his sloppiest.

The only other complete set I'd really like to have is Annie Fischer.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 21, 2008, 07:02:51 AM
One of the reasons that I bought the SONY Beethoven "Big Box", that 60 disk one, is that the 6 late sonatas were the Rosen performances. I know you can't get it for what I did at Amazon when it first came out ($27 and free shipping), but you can still get it and not only have those but several other good performances that should easily exceed in value what you pay for the box. :)

8)
Really? I didn't even know the Rosen is in that box. Time to open the plastic wrapping on that one.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: sam adams on July 21, 2008, 11:06:01 AM
It was a joke.  ;D


I know, I've bought too many hair metal albums in the past to take that comment seriously. ;D


One of the reasons that I bought the SONY Beethoven "Big Box", that 60 disk one, is that the 6 late sonatas were the Rosen performances. I know you can't get it for what I did at Amazon when it first came out ($27 and free shipping), but you can still get it and not only have those but several other good performances that should easily exceed in value what you pay for the box. :)

8)


Thanks for the tip. I will check that out.



The only other complete set I'd really like to have is Annie Fischer.

Good stuff. She has alot of "coiled intensity" if that makes any sense. Gulda and her make a good combo, his cycle is more rhythmically driven. I am thinking about the Kempff mono for my "lyrical" version of the cycle. If it lives up to the descriptions I have heard, then between those 3, I will have a cycle for every mood. Not forgetting the other guys for the occasional change-up. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 21, 2008, 11:12:17 AM

I know, I've bought too many hair metal albums in the past to take that comment seriously. ;D



LOL  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Philoctetes on July 21, 2008, 11:34:44 AM
I'm sure my two favorites have already been mentioned: Kuerti and Gould, but I also love Lortie and Feltsman, though I am unsure whether either of the last two did a complete set. I'd say that they are still worth seeking out and listening to.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on December 08, 2008, 07:08:13 AM
Many times I have decided to order the complete van Oort’s Mozart set, but have changed my mind at the last minute because I own Uchida, Pires (both), Badura-Skoda and Lubimov, and then think: hey, man, stop the madness!

On the other hand, I'm probably a little bit biased against Brautigam and I have not considered his Beethoven as an option: too fast and brutal for me, not my cup of tea.

Although I'm in HIP performances I prefer the  Andras Schiff oncoming sonata cycle, specially after to listen to his lectures on Beethoven piano sonatas:

http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/page/0,,1943867,00.html

I believe that in Beethoven sonatas there is not yet a definitive period set, although even I have considered these two sets (but without any additional information):

- Badura-Skoda (Gramola, ADD, 69/70, 9 CDs):
http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/6207678?rk=home&rsk=hitlist

- and Bilson with his former students van Oort, Dütschler and others (Claves, DDD, 1996, 10 CDs):
http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/8217873?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist

Do you know some of them?

(probably we should change this conversation to the Beethoven sonatas thread)


You will probably comsider me totally mad, when I tell you, that I own 47 complete LvB Pianosonata sets and 8 incomplete (mostly because of the untimely passing of the performer), but there are a few other posters here, which display similar madness. Never-the-less I am beginning to put an end to my madness, and have stayed away from some of the newest ongoing complete-to-be sets. In this vein I had planned to skip A Schiffs LvB set, but just having acquired his Bach set (the new super bargain edition) - even if I am no great friend of Bach on piano - I must say, that I am impressed by this man´s musical and well conxidered interpretations, so now I am again considering his LvB set.

So I know the Badura-Skoda (Gramola, non period, played on a Bösendorfer piano) set as well as the Bilson-and-pupils set. I like both sets very much. Badura-Skoda is a sensitive player who manages to be stylish and expressive at the same time, leaving room for a sense of spontanity, without ever going too far, and his Gramola set is every bit as good as his OOP period set for Astreé, but of course the Astreé set is the most interesting for organological reasons.

The Bilson set is uneven, and as a whole not up to the level of Badura-Skoda. Van Oort is IMO one of the weaker parts of the set. Some criticize the fact, that these pianists sometimes add seemingly improvised embellishments and passing notes, but they do so with duly restraint and most often in the repetitions of Menuet´s and Scherzo´s and sometimes in slow movements. This "trait" of the recording does not bother me at all. For organological reasons this set is also interesting, since copies of many different types of fortepianos are used. The recorded sound is not always ideal, and sometimes only just acceptable.

I agree completely with your words about Brautigam.

The best period set so far, even if incomplete (5 volumes released by now), is in my opinion Paul Komen´s set on Globe. Rumours tell, that he is going to complete the set. He is an authorative and well balanced player, more objective than most of the competition, but far from dull like MelvinTan.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 08, 2008, 07:48:09 AM
I must say, that I am impressed by this man´s musical and well conxidered interpretations, so now I am again considering his LvB set.



His set is very uneven, including sometimes in the same piece.  His recording of the last three sonatas exemplifies this.  His 109 is really quite good, his 110 not so much, and his 111 is so-so in the first movement and excellent in the second.  Of course, you may think otherwise, so perhaps buying it is the safer approach.

Would you happen to know the Dieter Zechlin cycle?  It's been reissued, and I'm thinking of getting it.  I haven't bought a new cycle in quite a few months . . .
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on December 08, 2008, 12:21:43 PM
His set is very uneven, including sometimes in the same piece.  His recording of the last three sonatas exemplifies this.  His 109 is really quite good, his 110 not so much, and his 111 is so-so in the first movement and excellent in the second.  Of course, you may think otherwise, so perhaps buying it is the safer approach.

Initially I decided to avoid the Schiff cycle because of your words about it in an earlier thread, and I haven´t heard one note from it so far. It is rather expensive, but since the CDs can be purchased individually or in pairs, I might perhaps ask you, which volumes you would recommend as being the most worthwile. Having listened to these, I might be able to decide, whether I want the complete cycle or not.

Would you happen to know the Dieter Zechlin cycle?  It's been reissued, and I'm thinking of getting it.  I haven't bought a new cycle in quite a few months . . .

A number of years ago when much of the Dieter Zechlin cycle vas OOP, I was fortunate to get hold of a few of the volumes. I recall his style being rather straightforward and a bit "cold". And I discarded the CDs again (this was before I became completist in this area). I have recently acquired the rereleased set, but I am in great need of time to listen to it, since I have built up a listening queue approaching 1000 CDs during the last 1 -2 years. If you want, Zechlin may "vault over" the queue, but I shall not get the time to listen to him until next week.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on December 08, 2008, 07:48:31 PM
You will probably comsider me totally mad, when I tell you, that I own 47 complete LvB Pianosonata sets and 8 incomplete (mostly because of the untimely passing of the performer), but there are a few other posters here, which display similar madness. Never-the-less I am beginning to put an end to my madness, and have stayed away from some of the newest ongoing complete-to-be sets. In this vein I had planned to skip A Schiffs LvB set, but just having acquired his Bach set (the new super bargain edition) - even if I am no great friend of Bach on piano - I must say, that I am impressed by this man´s musical and well conxidered interpretations, so now I am again considering his LvB set.

So I know the Badura-Skoda (Gramola, non period, played on a Bösendorfer piano) set as well as the Bilson-and-pupils set. I like both sets very much. Badura-Skoda is a sensitive player who manages to be stylish and expressive at the same time, leaving room for a sense of spontanity, without ever going too far, and his Gramola set is every bit as good as his OOP period set for Astreé, but of course the Astreé set is the most interesting for organological reasons.


Thanks, premont, you are the right person to ask.
I have been thinking in Badura-Skoda for long time. I don't doubt his abilities, but the recording has almost forty years then your words are very useful.
At the moment I have three complete sets: Arrau, Alfredo Perl and Gulda, but I want something else.
It would be great to buy the Badura-Skoda’s set in Astree, but is OOP, as you say.
BTW, two or three weeks ago, I got his Schubert set for Arcana (8 cds) in the Amazon Marketplace and now is in the mail.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sorin Eushayson on December 08, 2008, 07:52:27 PM
Thanks, premont, you are the right person to ask.
I have been thinking in Badura-Skoda for long time. I don't doubt his abilities, but the recording has almost forty years then your words are very useful.
At the moment I have three complete sets: Arrau, Alfredo Perl and Gulda, but I want something else.
It would be great to buy the Badura-Skoda’s set in Astree, but is OOP, as you say.
BTW, two or three weeks ago, I got his Schubert set for Arcana (8 cds) in the Amazon Marketplace and now is in the mail.
I'm lucky to have acquired Badura-Skoda's brilliant original set.  I cannot fathom why it has gone out of print; his renditions are exemplary.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 08, 2008, 08:36:01 PM
If you want, Zechlin may "vault over" the queue, but I shall not get the time to listen to him until next week.


No need to do that; the cold and straightforward part gives me an idea.  Given that his cycle is affordable, I may give it a go anyway.  His Schubert cycle, too.

As to Schiff, the best volumes are 2 and 5. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 31, 2008, 10:50:52 AM
My own top ten is roughly along these lines:

Annie Fischer
Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo)
Wilhelm Backhaus (mono)
Wilhelm Kempff (mono)
Robert Silverman
[Eric Heidsieck]
Emil Gilels
Artur Schnabel
[Russell Sherman]
[Claude Frank]


I have all of these, except the ones with brackets around them. The one in bold is on the way. I am very excited to hear this one. Earlier in the thread, you put him in the straightforward camp. I have none of the sets you list in this category, which makes me doubly excited to hear Silverman.

Quote
(Mostly) straight-forward, no-nonsense playing: Claude Frank, Alfredo Perl, David Allen Wehr, Robert Silverman, Gerard Willems, Akiyoshi Sako
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on February 04, 2009, 08:32:11 AM
For those interested in hearing an obscure cycle, BRO has Abdel Rahman El Bacha's cycle on Forlane in for $45.  I find it mostly bland and mechanical, and in not especially great sound, but others might like it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on February 04, 2009, 09:09:02 AM
For those interested in hearing an obscure cycle, BRO has Abdel Rahman El Bacha's cycle on Forlane in for $45.  I find it mostly bland and mechanical, and in not especially great sound, but others might like it.

Glad you mentioned that, Todd. I saw it the other night and was ignorant of it in every way. I thought I might ask you and then forgot to. Looks like forgetting may have been a good thing... :D

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jwinter on February 04, 2009, 10:51:11 AM
Glad you mentioned that, Todd. I saw it the other night and was ignorant of it in every way. I thought I might ask you and then forgot to. Looks like forgetting may have been a good thing... :D

8)

There's also a complete Chopin set by him at BRO -- he must think he's the new Jeno Jando or something...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 20, 2009, 11:58:37 AM
Is this the place for Beethoven Sonatas??

If so:

Here's the beginning of a survey of all the LvB Sonata Cycles:


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 1, 1935 - 1969 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on May 20, 2009, 12:23:02 PM
Super, jlaurson!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on May 20, 2009, 10:48:36 PM
Is this the place for Beethoven Sonatas??

If so:

Here's the beginning of a survey of all the LvB Sonata Cycles:


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 1, 1935 - 1969 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)


Since you asked... - I think your post will feel at home here. :)

BTW the Schnabel transfers on Regis are probably the ones that Italian Nuova Era did. I find the transfers on Naxos unsatisfactory, but of course the old EMI ones are abonimable. So I content myself with the noisy Pearls. Still, what we really need is a complete redo by EMI, which has the original masters and has finally learned how to handle historical recordings.

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 21, 2009, 04:54:20 AM
Is this the place for Beethoven Sonatas??  If so: Here's the beginning of a survey of all the LvB Sonata Cycles:

Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 1, 1935 - 1969 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Thanks, Jens.  This is the place, and I look forward to reading your thoughts in future installments.  This is more a survey of recordings made and available (more or less) on CD, but not a comprehensive critical evaluation.

One correction to part one:  I believe Kempff's earlier mono recording is regarded by most as superior to the later stereo outing, and for its poetry, not rarity.  New sets are available immediately from Amazon--though at more than thrice the price of the stereo cycle!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 21, 2009, 05:38:15 AM
Is this the place for Beethoven Sonatas??

Part 1, 1935 - 1969


Will there be a second part for the other complete cycles recorded by 1969?  I see that Barenboim's first cycle is missing, as is Gulda's second, as well as lesser known cycles from Maria Grinberg and Dieter Zechlin.  (The last was recorded before 1970, but I don't know if it was released complete before 1970.)  Also, Claude Frank, Paul Badura Skoda, and Takahiro Sonoda recorded most or all of their cycles (the first for Badura Skoda and the first of at least two cycles for Sonoda) in the 60s, though they may have spilled into 1970.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 21, 2009, 05:46:20 AM
Is this the place for Beethoven Sonatas??

If so:

Here's the beginning of a survey of all the LvB Sonata Cycles:


Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 1, 1935 - 1969 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
I think this thread is also rather more than the beginning of such a survey ...  :)
EDIT: Oh, dear, it isn't, but if you are able to sort threads by the folks who started them, a little list of Todd's threads would be such a beginning! A few (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1458.0.html) fine (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,11908.0.html) examples (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,7021.0.html).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: matti on May 21, 2009, 10:06:18 AM
he must think he's the new Jeno Jando or something...

Is there a consensus about Jando? Bland all-rounder? I think he is super.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 21, 2009, 10:25:16 AM
Is there a consensus about Jando? Bland all-rounder? I think he is super.
People don't talk about him much. I think he's a just-the-notes guy who plays everything as Beethoven intended, but I respect him a great deal for that and really enjoy his performances. Sometimes they are super indeed. Here's a guy who likes Jando and gives a really terrific analysis of the Moonlight Sonata (http://classicalmusicblog.com/2007/09/beethoven-sonata.html) but I do think much of the board finds J.J. "bland."
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 21, 2009, 10:35:08 AM
I think he's a just-the-notes guy who plays everything as Beethoven intended,

Well said. My impression of his Beethoven is that many play the sonatas with more passion and/or individuality and/or technical brilliance and/or depth. 

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 21, 2009, 10:42:35 AM
I don't know if I'd say Jando is bland.  He's undistinguished.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: matti on May 21, 2009, 10:48:29 AM
Well said. My impression of his Beethoven is that many play the sonatas with more passion and/or individuality and/or technical brilliance and/or depth. 



Yes. How spoiled we are. This guy plays most of the repertoire ever written for the piano almost perfectly, but  hedoes lack the innermost jeu de perle in one of those passages in the Waldstein, right?  ;D

He is a work horse, working as a joycehatto for Naxos, and doing a terrific job. A fantastic talent.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 21, 2009, 10:49:46 AM
He is a work horse



That's a reasonably accurate description.  I prefer music played by distinguished artists, though.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 21, 2009, 10:52:34 AM
For what it's worth, Jando expressed in an interview a few years ago his desire to do a new cycle (the first one was made in the mid-80s in inferior sound), but Naxos hasn't humored him.

Jando's Liszt is superb, sometimes (like the Sonatas of Petrarch and a couple of the Hungarian Rhapsodies, complete with his own goofy ornamentations) even near-definitive. And, although I am not yet a big Bartok fan, his Bartok recordings are highly acclaimed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: matti on May 21, 2009, 10:59:54 AM


That's a reasonably accurate description.  I prefer music played by distinguished artists, though.

So do I. But I'm also impressed by his vast repertoire... and disturbed at my arrogance of rating a fantastic talent as mediocre because of all the other recordings available. See my point?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 21, 2009, 11:05:20 AM
See my point?


No, because Jando is not a fantastic talent.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 21, 2009, 11:06:00 AM
Jando's Liszt is superb, sometimes (like the Sonatas of Petrarch and a couple of the Hungarian Rhapsodies, complete with his own goofy ornamentations) even near-definitive.

Penguin raved and raved about his Liszt, so much so that I ran out and bought his Years of Pilgrimage. I was not nearly as wowed as they were.  :-\ Luckily I have Berman and Gekic (incomplete) as well.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: matti on May 21, 2009, 11:22:23 AM

No, because Jando is not a fantastic talent.

There are artists like ABM and Celibidache who polish their art ad nauseam, and there are joycehattos like Neeme Järvi and Jando who just do what they are asked to do, and do it well. Nothing much to argue here, I just often prefer the sight readers.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 21, 2009, 11:49:45 AM
There are artists like ABM and Celibidache who polish their art ad nauseam, and there are joycehattos like Neeme Järvi and Jando who just do what they are asked to do, and do it well. Nothing much to argue here, I just often prefer the sight readers.
Okay, gotta say, I don't like Jarvi. But that's because I subscribed to his concerts in Detroit and had to sit through, live, the cold, unfeeling readings he gave music while sitting in his chair on the podium.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bulldog on May 21, 2009, 11:57:26 AM
Jando's problem, like many other artists, is that he isn't sufficiently selective.  For example, his Bach recordings are average at best; he clearly has nothing to say about the music that hasn't been said already.  Worse, there are many Bach artists of mainstream interpretations who do it better than Jando.  Then there are his Liszt recordings that display a wonderful grasp of the music's core.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 21, 2009, 12:06:06 PM
Jando's problem, like many other artists, is that he isn't sufficiently selective.  For example, his Bach recordings are average at best; he clearly has nothing to say about the music that hasn't been said already.  Worse, there are many Bach artists of mainstream interpretations who do it better than Jando.  Then there are his Liszt recordings that display a wonderful grasp of the music's core.
Unfortunately, I think the pressing concern for Jando was not artistic selectivity but rather the fact that Naxos only pays its artists $1000-1500 per CD recorded.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bulldog on May 21, 2009, 12:58:33 PM
Unfortunately, I think the pressing concern for Jando was not artistic selectivity but rather the fact that Naxos only pays its artists $1000-1500 per CD recorded.

Well, he also had the blessings from Naxos to make all those recordings.  By my count, he's now recorded the music of more than 40 composers.  That's way too much for a pianist of limited horizons.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 21, 2009, 01:14:55 PM
Nothing much to argue here, I just often prefer the sight readers.


Nothing wrong with sight readers, but they aren't great artists.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on May 21, 2009, 04:05:45 PM
they simply had not been recorded completely by 1969.


Incorrect - Gulda 2, Zechlin, and Sonoda 1 (Denon) were all completed before the end of 1969 (I verified the recording dates), so they should be included in your list.  I'm pretty sure that Maria Grinburg's cycle was complete before 1969. 

The other I mentioned did appear to spill into 1970.

Last I counted, there were 64 complete cycles (65 if you count the Claves multi-artist cycle), not about 50, with another 13-14 underway.  If you're going to state or even imply that you're going to create a comprehensive list, you should probably do a bit more due diligence.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 21, 2009, 04:19:16 PM
I find the transfers on Naxos unsatisfactory, but of course the old EMI ones are abonimable. So I content myself with the noisy Pearls. Still, what we really need is a complete redo by EMI, which has the original masters and has finally learned how to handle historical recordings.

Q
 

I bought all the Beethoven Piano Sonatas volumes by Schnabel on Naxos Historical about a month ago and they sound just fine to me with good piano tone, based on recommendation from George.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 21, 2009, 05:30:00 PM
I have 6 complete sets and a good number of individual sonatas.  I am done with collecting Beethoven Piano Sonatas ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 22, 2009, 12:48:35 PM
Unfortunately, I think the pressing concern for Jando was not artistic selectivity but rather the fact that Naxos only pays its artists $1000-1500 per CD recorded.
That much? I thought those guys at Naxos work for free.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 22, 2009, 01:43:51 PM
This set by Annie Fischer is second to none IMO.

George convinced me to buy this set, which is the most expensive 9-CD set I have ever purchased ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qMAm0GheL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 22, 2009, 02:58:04 PM
This set by Annie Fischer is second to none IMO.
I confess not to hear whatever it is that has made some of our denizens make this same claim ever since Todd pronounced it nonpareil.  I prefer the cycles of Kempff, Goode, and Kovacevich, but with 60+ complete cycles available, surely there's something for everyone.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 22, 2009, 03:37:14 PM
This set by Annie Fischer is second to none IMO.

Glad you enjoy it as much as I do, Stuart. My Music History professor in college suggested her Beethoven to me when I was just starting out collecting Classical CDs. Due to it's high price I hesitated for a long while. I got Barenboim's DG set, Gulda's Brilliant set first and finally (luckily) decided to treat myself to Annie Fischer's set one Christmas a few years back. I certainly didn't regret that decision.  :)

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 22, 2009, 10:27:57 PM
As a set it is very consistent, no real clunkers and that's what makes it a great set (and is one of only 4 sets that I own). The paradox is that if I had to recommend a best performance for each of the 32, Annie would barely figure in the collection. I'd be interested to hear what others think of the set and name sonatas where she comes out top of the tree (or close to it).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 23, 2009, 03:25:52 AM
I'd be interested to hear what others think of the set and name sonatas where she comes out top of the tree (or close to it).

G'day Holden!

I have already answered your first question, but as to your second one, here's what I have (I limited the list to sonatas where Annie is is either my top choice or tied with another pianist as my top choice):

Op. 2, Nos 1 and 2
Op. 27, No 1 and 2
Op. 31 Nos 1-3
Op. 54
Op. 57 Appassionata
Op. 81 Les Adieux
Op. 90
Op. 101
Op. 109
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 23, 2009, 12:35:11 PM
G'day Holden!

I have already answered your first question, but as to your second one, here's what I have (I limited the list to sonatas where Annie is is either my top choice or tied with another pianist as my top choice):

Op. 2, Nos 1 and 2
Op. 27, No 1 and 2
Op. 31 Nos 1-3
Op. 54
Op. 57 Appassionata
Op. 81 Les Adieux
Op. 90
Op. 101
Op. 109

G'day George

Now this is where the "different strokes..." paradigm comes in.

Op 2/1 yes, have to agree that she's up there

Op 2/2 - Hans Richter-Haaser (on LP so maybe this doesn't count)

Op 27/1 - Gilels

Op 27/2 Solomon

Op 31/1 - Rosita Renard

Op 31/2 - Richter, Hungerford

Op 31/3 Richter, Rubinstein

Op 54 - Richter (Annie also does well here)

Op 57 - Gilels 1961, Richter 1960, Rubinstein 1945

Op 81a - Gilels, Barenboim (EMI)

Op 90 - Moravec

Op 101 - Sokolov

Op 109 - Myra Hess


I also like Annie in Op 49/1&2
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 23, 2009, 01:00:16 PM
G'day George

Now this is where the "different strokes..." paradigm comes in.

Op 2/1 yes, have to agree that she's up there

Op 2/2 - Hans Richter-Haaser (on LP so maybe this doesn't count)

Op 27/1 - Gilels

Op 27/2 Solomon

Op 31/1 - Rosita Renard

Op 31/2 - Richter, Hungerford

Op 31/3 Richter, Rubinstein

Op 54 - Richter (Annie also does well here)

Op 57 - Gilels 1961, Richter 1960, Rubinstein 1945

Op 81a - Gilels, Barenboim (EMI)

Op 90 - Moravec

Op 101 - Sokolov

Op 109 - Myra Hess


I also like Annie in Op 49/1&2

Nice shootouts between Annie and all the men ...   ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 23, 2009, 01:01:09 PM
Op 27/1 - Gilels
Op 31/2 - Richter,
Op 54 - Richter
Op 57 - Richter 1960,

All of these are my #2 pick for these sonatas.  8)

Quote
Op 81a - Gilels

Tied with Annie for #1.

We aren't too far apart.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 24, 2009, 12:05:48 AM
All of these are my #2 pick for these sonatas.  8)

Tied with Annie for #1.

We aren't too far apart.  :)

I didn't think we would be. You've got a lot of the LvB PS that I haven't but then again I probably have some that you don't either.

Once again it's a matter of taste. Mine has changed over the years when my first complete set was on LP from Barenboim and the majority of the sonatas were very well played. I stuck with this until I encountered Richter who made me totally re-evaluate my approach to these works and also made me realise that there were many ways of playing this man's music that were both valid and musical.

I quickly realised that no one cycle would be enough and I would have to search for individual performances of each of the 32 that would become definitive for me. An interpretation that I would prefer above all others. I am still on this quest and have nailed down some of the set. I will continue searching for the others.  The problem is that there is so much to hear! For example, I love a lot of what Gilels does yet I have not heard him in any of the early works or in Todd's watershed - the Op 31 trio.

My first LvB PS LP was the mono 8, 14, 23 by Kempff yet I've not heard any more from this set that everyone talks so highly about. Cycles by Nat, Heidsieck, Frank and others have been mentioned yet I've never heard a single work from these cycles.

So a forum like this is important to expose all of us to as much of the greatest set of piano works ever composed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 04:22:16 AM
Once again it's a matter of taste. Mine has changed over the years when my first complete set was on LP from Barenboim and the majority of the sonatas were very well played.

Interesting, Barenboim (DG) was my first complete set too.  

Quote
For example, I love a lot of what Gilels does yet I have not heard him in any of the early works or in Todd's watershed - the Op 31 trio.

The Gilels incomplete set is wonderful. In fact, his set is the most consistent LvB set I have found.

Quote
So a forum like this is important to expose all of us to as much of the greatest set of piano works ever composed.

I fully agree, we are very lucky to have a place to share recommendations with each other and talk about the music that we love.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 24, 2009, 04:28:48 AM
Interesting, Barenboim (DG) was my first compete set too. 

What did it compete with? ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 04:33:46 AM
What did it compete with? ;D

 ;D

It's too early for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 24, 2009, 04:37:52 AM
;D

It's too early for me.

Good to know, - I feared it was too late. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 24, 2009, 04:50:20 AM
...there [are] many ways of playing this man's music that [are] both valid and musical.

...I would have to search for individual performances of each of the 32 that would become definitive for me.
Because I agree with the first statement, I do not agree with the second.  
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 04:59:47 AM
Good to know, - I feared it was too late. ;)

While Barenboim is an outstanding pianist, he does not belong in the same league as Gilels, Arrau or Richter IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 05:02:47 AM
Good to know, - I feared it was too late. ;)

 ;D

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 05:14:39 AM

So a forum like this is important to expose all of us to as much of the greatest set of piano works ever composed.


Yeah, being part of this forum and in fine company with George have helped me launch my Manhattan Project for piano works in my collection.  From only one Beethoven Piano Sonatas (by Gilels) and two WTC's (by Hewitt and Gould), I now have 6 versions of the former and 10 versions of the latter plus many other piano works by Chopin (Nocturnes is my next collection project), Schubert and of course Bach.  I have also added Schnabel's Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Cortot's Chopin Piano Works to bolster my historical recordings collection, again at the recommendation by George.  With my total piano works on CD/LP pushing toward 1000, I am not doing too badly for someone whose primary interest has been baroque works for years ...    ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: ChamberNut on May 24, 2009, 05:19:56 AM
Interesting, Barenboim (DG) was my first complete set too.  


Mine too!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 05:33:22 AM
Mine too!  :)

We should start a club - "The Danny Boys."  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 24, 2009, 06:59:38 AM
Mine too!  :)
Barenboim wasn't my first complete set, but he sure was my first introduction to the sonatas - that CD with Moonlight, Pathetique and Appassionata...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: The new erato on May 24, 2009, 07:02:26 AM
We should start a club - "The Danny Boys."  ;D
As opposed to the Annie boys?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 07:19:00 AM
Barenboim wasn't my first complete set, but he sure was my first introduction to the sonatas - that CD with Moonlight, Pathetique and Appassionata...

I only have his single DG disc - Sonatas - Moonlight, Pathetique, etc. and doubt I will bother to get the complete set ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 24, 2009, 07:29:25 AM
Anyone know how close Moravec came to completing the cycle? 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 24, 2009, 07:47:06 AM
Yeah, being part of this forum and in fine company with George have helped me launch my Manhattan Project for piano works in my collection.  From only one Beethoven Piano Sonatas (by Gilels) and two WTC's (by Hewitt and Gould), I now have 6 versions of the former and 10 versions of the latter plus many other piano works by Chopin (Nocturnes is my next collection project), Schubert and of course Bach.  I have also added Schnabel's Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Cortot's Chopin Piano Works to bolster my historical recordings collection, again at the recommendation by George.  With my total piano works on CD/LP pushing toward 1000, I am not doing too badly for someone whose primary interest has been baroque works for years ...    ;D
My mother, a quilter, has a room largely devoted to storage of cloth collected over many years for use in her projects.  She quilted a sign that hangs over the doorway:  "Who dies with the most fabric, wins."
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 07:48:36 AM
Anyone know how close Moravec came to completing the cycle? 

Not very close, I'm afraid. He has unfortunately only recorded 5 of the 32.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 07:54:39 AM
Not very close, I'm afraid. He has unfortunately only recorded 5 of the 32.

And time is running out on him ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 08:07:00 AM
And time is running out on him ...

True.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 08:18:56 AM
Has Sokolov recorded any of the sonatas?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2009, 08:54:01 AM
Has Sokolov recorded any of the sonatas?

He certainly has and they are VERY good I think There's a CD with Opus 7 and Opus 101. And this DVD -- which has the Pastoral and Opus 14/2 and Opus 22 --  is outstanding.

There must be bootlegs of other sonatas around. Anyone know?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Peregrine on May 24, 2009, 09:05:38 AM
There must be bootlegs of other sonatas around. Anyone know?

There's quite a lot of his stuff around; Operashare seems to have a fair bit IIRC.

Whilst we're on the subject of pianists completing cycles of the 32, Deacon (RMCR) keeps going on about Pollini having two cycles 'locked in the vaults' with DG, but refuses to allow them to be released. Whilst I think his 'star' has faded a bit of late, would be interesting to hear what he has done. His 2cd of late Beethoven is quite special IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2009, 09:08:20 AM
There's quite a lot of his stuff around; Operashare seems to have a fair bit IIRC.

Whilst we're on the subject of pianists completing cycles of the 32, Deacon (RMCR) keeps going on about Pollini having two cycles 'locked in the vaults' with DG, but refuses to allow them to be released. Whilst I think his 'star' has faded a bit of late, would be interesting to hear what he has done. His 2cd of late Beethoven is quite special IMO.

Interesting to say his star is fading -- I was really impressed by his recent CD of Mozart Concertos -- PC24 and another (PC13 I think)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 24, 2009, 09:13:18 AM
Whilst I think his 'star' has faded a bit of late...

He's busy becoming a grand seigneur. Not quite the same as fading. Hearing him in recital is still an event I'd leave any other concert in the dust for.

(And his late LvB might simply never be surpassed. Op.111 with Pollini is like reading Dr.Faustus in 28 (or so) minutes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Peregrine on May 24, 2009, 09:14:46 AM
Interesting to say his star is fading -- I was really impressed by his recent CD of Mozart Concertos -- PC24 and another (PC13 I think)

Don't get me wrong, I'm a 'Pollini lover', but compared to his rather special Chopin recital from EMI, as well as hid DG recordings from the 70's etc. I don't feel he is quite the pianist he once was. IMO of course...

Haven't heard the above recordings though....
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 09:23:09 AM
Don't get me wrong, I'm a 'Pollini lover', but compared to his rather special Chopin recital from EMI, as well as hid DG recordings from the 70's etc. I don't feel he is quite the pianist he once was. IMO of course...

Haven't heard the above recordings though....
 

I have heard the same about Yehudi Menuhin, that his early recordings were much better than his mid-career recordings.  Is that possible that a virtuoso loses his/her virtuosity in mid to late career?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 24, 2009, 09:24:59 AM
Don't get me wrong, I'm a 'Pollini lover', but compared to his rather special Chopin recital from EMI, as well as hid DG recordings from the 70's etc. I don't feel he is quite the pianist he once was. IMO of course...

Me too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 24, 2009, 10:21:38 AM
 

I have heard the same about Yehudi Menuhin, that his early recordings were much better than his mid-career recordings.  Is that possible that a virtuoso loses his/her virtuosity in mid to late career?

Yes, of course. (Especially with violinists [all but Milstein, actually], but with pianists, too.] But in this case, I should think that's not what is going on.. Pollini live will still make your jaw drop. Menuhin live late in his life made you cringe and/or cry with the sad memories of what once had been. Judging based on recordings can slightly skew one's view. And if you don't know his late LvB, you [anybody] should explore. Un-f^&*(-believable stuff. Vertical Beethoven, not horizontal. Climbing mountains with Ludwig.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PEHM39A0L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
LvB, Sonatas 28-32, Maurizio Pollini (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001GXB/goodmusicguide-20)
 - DG Originals

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 10:53:50 AM
Yes, of course. (Especially with violinists [all but Milstein, actually], but with pianists, too.] But in this case, I should think that's not what is going on.. Pollini live will still make your jaw drop. Menuhin live late in his life made you cringe and/or cry with the sad memories of what once had been. Judging based on recordings can slightly skew one's view. And if you don't know his late LvB, you [anybody] should explore. Un-f^&*(-believable stuff. Vertical Beethoven, not horizontal. Climbing mountains with Ludwig.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PEHM39A0L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
LvB, Sonatas 28-32, Maurizio Pollini (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001GXB/goodmusicguide-20)
 - DG Originals



Afflicted with senility or even dementia?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 24, 2009, 11:33:19 AM
Has Sokolov recorded any of the sonatas?

Yes, they include:

Op 7*
Op 10/3
Op 14 Nos 1& 2*
Op 28*
Op 31/2*
Op 90 (LP only)
Op 101*
Op 106*
Op110
Op 111

I've asterisked the ones I have.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 24, 2009, 11:35:15 AM
Mine too!  :)

Mine was the EMI set (LP) which I think is vastly better than the DG (which I owned briefly waiting for the EMI to appear on CD)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: ChamberNut on May 24, 2009, 12:29:21 PM
Mine was the EMI set (LP) which I think is vastly better than the DG (which I owned briefly waiting for the EMI to appear on CD)

Oops, I was mistaken.  It is the Barenboim EMI CD set that I have, not the DG.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 24, 2009, 05:44:43 PM
...and preferably without attitude...

You'll get no respite here. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2009, 09:14:43 PM
Yes, they include:

Op 7*
Op 10/3
Op 14 Nos 1& 2*
Op 28*
Op 31/2*
Op 90 (LP only)
Op 101*
Op 106*
Op110
Op 111

I've asterisked the ones I have.


Do you have a links to the late ones --110 and 111?


There's quite a lot of his stuff around; Operashare seems to have a fair bit IIRC.


How do I break in  to Operashare?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on May 24, 2009, 10:22:36 PM
Don't get me wrong, I'm a 'Pollini lover', but compared to his rather special Chopin recital from EMI, as well as hid DG recordings from the 70's etc. I don't feel he is quite the pianist he once was. IMO of course...
Me too.
Well.
His two recent Mozart PC discs with VPO are outstanding (and recorded live, incidentally).
On topic: His also quite recent LvB op. 2 is a must hear. Cowwebs out!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on May 24, 2009, 10:46:01 PM
Do you have a links to the late ones --110 and 111?


How do I break in  to Operashare?

From a quick tour of Google, Sokolov also has these PS in his repertoire some of which have been recorded.

Op 2/2
Op2/3
Op 22
Op27/1
Op 31/1
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 25, 2009, 12:53:29 AM
Thanks, Jens.  This is the place, and I look forward to reading your thoughts in future installments.  This is more a survey of recordings made and available (more or less) on CD, but not a comprehensive critical evaluation.

Correct, although I will make asides to sets I have (a few, but no more than your grandmother fabrics) or know something about.

Incidentally, does anyone have cover-art for some of the OOP cycles?

For Robert Riefling (Valois) specifically? That would be most appreciated.

Ditto exact dates (taken from the actual recordings, where possible) on Riefling's sonatas and when Ciani's earliest sonatas of his set were recorded.


Edit: It's up now, Riefling's cover art be da&#ed (for the time being).

Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 2, 1967 - 1975
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_24.html)



   Maria Grinberg
1964 - 1967 - Melodiya

   Friedrich Gulda II
1964 - 1967 - Amadeo

   Dieter Zechlin
1960 - 1969 (?) - Eterna / Berlin Classics

   Daniel Barenboim I
1965 - 1969 - EMI

   Robert Riefling
1960 - 1970 (?) - Valois

   Claude Frank
1967 - 1969 - RCA Victrola / Music & Arts

   Paul Badura-Skoda I
1969 - 1970 - Gramola

   Dino Ciani
196? - 1970 - Dynamic

   Eric Heidiseck
1967 - 1973 - EMI

   Anton Kuerti
1974 - 1975 - Analekta

Any corrections (on dates, for example, and preferably, maybe without attitude) most welcome.




Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 25, 2009, 03:43:13 AM
Well.
His two recent Mozart PC discs with VPO are outstanding (and recorded live, incidentally).
On topic: His also quite recent LvB op. 2 is a must hear. Cowwebs out!
 

Are you familiar with Pollini's Chopin Nocturnes?  Your opinion?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513CK73C2DL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 25, 2009, 04:27:10 AM
...familiar with Pollini's Chopin Nocturnes?  Your opinion?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513CK73C2DL._SS500_.jpg)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/01/great-pianists-great-expectations.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/01/great-pianists-great-expectations.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 25, 2009, 04:29:20 AM
Not very close, I'm afraid. He has unfortunately only recorded 5 of the 32.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 25, 2009, 05:37:21 AM
Thanks!
 

Morning, Bill.  It is a shame, as Moravec is unlikely to finish any Beethoven Sonatas project given his advanced age ... 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Rod Corkin on May 25, 2009, 10:48:30 AM
I'm thinking about buying a complete set of these sonatas. I already have a cheap 10 CD set with Schnabel and some individual sonatas by other pianists.
Now i'm looking for a set with good better sound quality than Schnabel.

Which one should i check? Gulda?Barenboim?
There is a set with Gulda on eloquence records and another on brilliant. Any differences on those two?
The last complete set on modern piano I bought was by Bernard Roberts, but that was years and years ago. If you open minded enough to consider fortepiano renditions (the only renditions I listen to these days) Ronald Brautigam is currently covering all the sonatas and has produced about 6 volumes so far. There are other fortepiano sets but they are out of the catalogue now. If you want to hear samples from the fortepiano sets there are many at my site.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 26, 2009, 06:29:19 AM
Any of you Annie Fischer LvB Cycle Owners:

Could one of you give me the exact recording dates, by chance?

As far as I know she started in 1976... and still fuzzed around as late as 1992. But to what extend is that latter date meaningful? Studio work? Patching? Whole pieces recorded? Is the de facto finishing point of that cycle not much earlier?

Thanks & best,

jfl
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 26, 2009, 07:16:08 AM
Jens--per the booklet notes with the Hungaroton set, work on the recordings began in the spring of 1977.  Those notes don't specify the final recording date, but do state that work on the recorded material continued until 1995, shortly after her death.  The method is of interest.  Per the notes:
Quote
She did not play as at a recital, that is a whole work at a time but, in the search for perfection, she broke up the work into small units which she than aimed to combine.  These days most performing artists have long abandoned such a method, preferring the impetus of performance to a perfection which is often accompanied by a certain sterility.  [...]  Work on the stored material ceased in the nineties, albeit minor repairs of a tchnical nature still proved necessary.  The final touches only took place in 1995, in connection with the present issue, after Annie Fischer had passed away.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 26, 2009, 07:46:01 AM
Jens--per the booklet notes with the Hungaroton set, work on the recordings began in the spring of 1977.  Those notes don't specify the final recording date, but do state that work on the recorded material continued until 1995, shortly after her death.  The method is of interest.  Per the notes:

Thanks, much!

I had read something like that...

Pretty much leaves it impossible to venture what the exact time frame was, doesn't it? Maybe I'll leave it open-ended as "90s" for now.
At least I can correct the starting date.

Anyone know the recording date of this Jeno Jando disc (which I reckon must be the last of his Beethoven Sonata discs)?

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 14, 21 and 23     8.550294

Naxos' website does not provide, unfortunately.

Abdel Rahman El Bacha was 1990 - 1993 (this is based on the release dates) or did he start earlier?

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 26, 2009, 08:28:24 AM
Thanks, much!

I had read something like that...

Pretty much leaves it impossible to venture what the exact time frame was, doesn't it? Maybe I'll leave it open-ended as "90s" for now.
At least I can correct the starting date.
You're welcome.  The means by which these recordings were produced should raise doubts about their validity as "performance documents," but that is a separate issue from their value as beloved interpretations.  Certainly it was an interesting experiment, carrying the splicing of different takes to the nth degree.  I'm not sure how much all this affects my personal response to the recordings, but don't doubt that it has some effect--along with stubborn resistance to idol worship, PR gimmickry, and following the herd.  To me the set is like many others by such diverse and gifted pianists like Brendel, Arrau, Buchbinder, Gulda, and so on--beautiful, compelling music, consistently well-played--remarkable achievements that I can admire but that just don't grab my soul the way that certain other pianists' cycles so often do.  YMMV, of course, as it should---after all, we're all at different places on the path, arriving from different starting points, and with a variety of different experiences en route that have shaped our perspectives and our responses.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on May 26, 2009, 09:14:52 AM
Anyone know the recording date of this Jeno Jando disc (which I reckon must be the last of his Beethoven Sonata discs)?

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 14, 21 and 23     8.550294
The Jando cycle was commenced in 1987 with 8, 14, 21, and 23, so that is actually the first disc! The final recording was made in January 1989, of the Sonata No. 15 and a whole stack of WoO sonatas and fragments. These are recording dates, not release dates (which were 1992-94).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 26, 2009, 10:13:16 AM
The Jando cycle was commenced in 1987 with 8, 14, 21, and 23, so that is actually the first disc! The final recording was made in January 1989, of the Sonata No. 15 and a whole stack of WoO sonatas and fragments. These are recording dates, not release dates (which were 1992-94).

PER-FECT! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

That makes the third batch (77-90):

Brendel II,
Binns (anyone know the beginning of this LP-only cycle? The cycle was finished by 1977, afaik.
Buchbinder [thanks for reminding me, DavidRoss! Nearly missed that one. Have you got recording dates for that one?]
Ashkenazy
Nikolayeva (again: anyone know when this was commenced? Finished in '83, if I am not mistaken.)
Barenboim II
Roberts
Jando
Arrau II


Edit P.S.  remembered about the Buchbinder right after shooting off my surprised response. I even have it in my excel file of complete cycles (except with very wrong dates).

61 cycles, excluding incompletes like Gieseking, Gilels, Gould, Kempff-pre-I and excluding under-way (or just finished, in the case of Schiff) cycles like:

Oppitz, Kodama, Schiff, Bräutigam, Pollini, Uchida, Hewitt, Korstick
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 26, 2009, 10:29:11 AM
screeching breaks sound, followed by surprised chicken sound: baw-bawk baaaawk? Buchbinder has a LvB Sonata cycle? Do tell, because that one I have certainly missed, if there is one.
Yep.  A digital cycle on Teldec, recorded 1980-82, the first complete cycle I bought and still one of my faves, more classically "objective" than romantically "interpretive."  Long OOP--heck if I know why!  Two Amazon mkt sellers have used sets for $259.  Image below:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21HR8WJQTDL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 26, 2009, 04:33:27 PM
Yep.  A digital cycle on Teldec, recorded 1980-82, the first complete cycle I bought and still one of my faves, more classically "objective" than romantically "interpretive."  Long OOP--heck if I know why!  Two Amazon mkt sellers have used sets for $259.  Image below:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21HR8WJQTDL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)



WarnerMusic may be re-issuing the set soon ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 27, 2009, 08:47:02 AM
,Nikolayeva (again: anyone know when this was commenced? Finished in '83, if I am not mistaken.)
,

You are. Her set was recorded live at the Moscow Conservatoire from january 1984 to april 1984, according to the booklet of the Scribendum release from 2004.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 27, 2009, 09:42:32 AM
You are. Her set was recorded live at the Moscow Conservatoire from january 1984 to april 1984, according to the booklet of the Scribendum release from 2004.

Thank you very much! (Incidentally Jed Distler claims 1983, referring to her live Olympia cycle (same one, presumably, but issued piece-meal?). May well be where I got the information from in the first place... but any one know where the discrepancy might come from?)

I also read the same claim (Moscow, live, 83) as regards the Deutsche Schallplatten Berlin licenses (from the Olympia stuff). Perhaps Olympia used the wrong date? (Or perhaps Scribendium does?)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 27, 2009, 10:18:19 AM
,I also read the same claim (Moscow, live, 83) as regards the Deutsche Schallplatten Berlin licenses (from the Olympia stuff). Perhaps Olympia used the wrong date? (Or perhaps Scribendium does?)

Well, the Scribendum notification looks very reliable, presenting individual dates for the recordings, e.g. Sonatas 1,2,3 & 4 recorded on the 10th of January 1984, Sonatas 5,6,7 & 8 on the 11th of January 1984. The cycle was, as I stated above, recorded live during a series of recitals containing exclusively the Beethoven Sonatas.The Scribendum release was of course licenced from Melodiya.

But the worst thing about the set is,that it is totally unlistenable, due to lots of wrong notes, and the fact, that she looses the thread all too often. Definitely not recommended.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on May 27, 2009, 10:22:14 AM
Incidentally Jed Distler claims 1983..

Mind you, semi-professional and even professional reviewers are often wrong. 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 27, 2009, 10:26:22 AM
Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 2, 1967 - 1975
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_24.html)

Just read your excellent writeup of Gulda's second set, Jens. I very much agree with what you write about his second traversal of the 32 sonatas. Like you, I find his set to be remarkably enjoyable, brisk and consistent. I also admire Backhaus's second set but consider Gulda's set to be my go-to set these days. This is something that changed recently, but Gulda's set has always impressed me from the very first listen. His technical finish and clear vision of each work is impressive.    

I look forward to reading about more cycles as you add info.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 27, 2009, 11:07:38 AM
Just read your excellent writeup of Gulda's second set, Jens. I very much agree with what you write about his second traversal of the 32 sonatas. Like you, I find his set to be remarkably enjoyable, brisk and consistent. I also admire Backhaus's second set but consider Gulda's set to be my go-to set these days. This is something that changed recently, but Gulda's set has always impressed me from the very first listen. His technical finish and clear vision of each work is impressive.    

I look forward to reading about more cycles as you add info.

Don't get your hopes up, though.  ;)

It's not intended to be a review survey... of the 70 cycles I only have a certain number and many I know nothing about, not even hearsay. It's just to show what's out there... be a one-stop for anyone interested in knowing their options and what they can get where. (Simplified through the four Amazon countries with links.)

It just happens so that I know a tad about the earlier, classic cycles... and Gulda--Beethoven in Tennis shoes--could not whiz by un-commented upon.  ;D

Well, the Scribendum notification looks very reliable, presenting individual dates for the recordings, e.g. Sonatas 1,2,3 & 4 recorded on the 10th of January 1984, Sonatas 5,6,7 & 8 on the 11th of January 1984. The cycle was, as I stated above, recorded live during a series of recitals containing exclusively the Beethoven Sonatas.The Scribendum release was of course licenced from Melodiya.

But the worst thing about the set is,that it is totally unlistenable, due to lots of wrong notes, and the fact, that she looses the thread all too often. Definitely not recommended.

I might go with 83-84, just to be on the save side. :-) Democracy, rather than meritocracy, of facts. Perhaps she played a few notes in December, after all. I take it that she didn't repeat the cycle twice within so short a time; once Melodiya recording, once Olympia (who probably licensed it from Melodiya??)?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 29, 2009, 02:32:22 AM
Does anyone have cover-art for some of the OOP cycles?

For one of the Robert Riefling (Valois) LPs specifically? Or for one of the Malcolm Binns LPs. (Was that ever out as an LP set??)

Quote
Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 3, 1977 - 199019841989
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html)


Alfred Brendel II
1970 - 1977 - Philips (analog)

   Malcolm Binns
19?? - 1977 (?) - L'Oiseau-Lyre

   Annie Fischer
1976 - 1978* - Hungaroton
(When I speak of a "cult following" here, yes, that's you, GMG-Fischerites.  ;D)

   John Lill
1975 - 1980 - ASV (Brilliant, Sanctuary)

   Vladimir Ashkenazy
1971 - 1981 - Decca

   Rudolf Buchbinder
1979 - 1981 - Telefunken / Telarc

   Daniel Barenboim II
1981 - 1984 - Deutsche Grammophon

   Tatiana Nikolayeva
1984 - Melodyia (Olympia (UK), DS Berlin, Scribendium)

   Bernard Roberts
1981 - 1984 - Nimbus

   Jenő Jandó
1987 - 1989 - Naxos

   Claudio Arrau II
1962* / 1984 - 1990 - Philips


Jenő Jandó
1987 - 1989 - Naxos

Nevermind... I've had an excel-file SNAFU. I'll have to redo that list for lack of inclusion of Barenboim and Lill. Will give Arrau and Jando the boot to make room.

Update: Now it's better. I hope.

Update: Added Jando to get to 1989 and be able to start in 1990 with the next batch. That's when things will start getting complicated, in any case. No cycle finished between 1984 and 1989, though??? Shocking.
   

Any corrections (on dates, for example, and preferably, maybe without attitude) most welcome.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 29, 2009, 05:05:54 AM
Any corrections (on dates, for example, and preferably, maybe without attitude) most welcome.
;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 29, 2009, 10:53:51 PM
Anyone have any information on an alleged LvB sonata cycle that

Michael Steinberg
has purportedly recorded on "Elysium"?

I cannot find any (!) information to confirm that... which is rare and makes me wary.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 30, 2009, 04:37:06 AM
The same Michael Steinberg who writes (wrote) program notes for SFS & BSO and who now lives in Edina, MN?  Maybe Angry Baby Dave can pop over and ask him....
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 05:17:23 AM
The same Michael Steinberg who writes (wrote) program notes for SFS & BSO and who now lives in Edina, MN?  Maybe Angry Baby Dave can pop over and ask him....
 

He certainly has been living in the "left" cities - Boston, SF and now MNPLS ...

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on May 30, 2009, 11:30:08 AM
Talking about complete Beethoven cycles, one of Todd's favorites, the Robert Silverman cycle is being remastered for re-release either late in the summer or early in the fall. As it was supposed to be top quality sound originally, I can't imagine why they would be remastering it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 30, 2009, 12:36:37 PM
Talking about complete Beethoven cycles, one of Todd's favorites, the Robert Silverman cycle is being remastered for re-release either late in the summer or early in the fall. As it was supposed to be top quality sound originally, I can't imagine why they would be remastering it.
It was top quality sound, engineered by Stereophile's editor, John Atkinson, in high resolution 24-bit/88.2kHz but mixed down to 16-bit/44.1kHz for the CD release on Orpheum Masters.  Perhaps it's being re-released in high-res? 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 30, 2009, 12:44:32 PM
It was top quality sound, engineered by Stereophile's editor, John Atkinson, in high resolution 24-bit/88.2kHz but mixed down to 16-bit/44.1kHz for the CD release on Orpheum Masters.  Perhaps it's being re-released in high-res? 

Or maybe they are compressing it and adding some "loudness" for your MP3 type player.(http://www.mysmiley.net/imgs/smile/scared/scared0011.gif)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 30, 2009, 12:47:21 PM
Or maybe they are compressing it and adding some "loudness" for your MP3 type player.(http://www.mysmiley.net/imgs/smile/scared/scared0011.gif)
Love the emoticon, Bill!  Got one making the sign of the cross to ward off vampires, too?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 30, 2009, 12:49:03 PM
Love the emoticon, Bill!  Got one making the sign of the cross to ward off vampires, too?

Done:

(http://tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:JJUl_Wa6zDuq6M:http://www.picturesof.net/_images_300/Vampire_Smiley_Cowering_In_Front_Silver_Cross_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_081017-130798-791009.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2009, 12:50:29 PM
Talking about complete Beethoven cycles, one of Todd's favorites, the Robert Silverman cycle is being remastered for re-release either late in the summer or early in the fall. As it was supposed to be top quality sound originally, I can't imagine why they would be remastering it.

Me neither.

OTOH, labeling a CD "remastered" seems to be the industries way of misleading consumers into thinking it will be better than the original. My experience is that much more often than not, remastered just means louder and/or with noise reduction. Rarely better than the original. :-\  
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on May 30, 2009, 12:52:55 PM
Done:

(http://tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:JJUl_Wa6zDuq6M:http://www.picturesof.net/_images_300/Vampire_Smiley_Cowering_In_Front_Silver_Cross_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_081017-130798-791009.jpg)
Ask and ye shall receive...you're amazing, Bill!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 30, 2009, 12:58:37 PM
I just read here, or somewhere, on a thread about the mono Kempff set.  I was torn between the stereo and mono a number of years back before I had even a set of the cycle (by anyone).  I remember kind of plying it extra safe grabbing the stereo set and then recall you posting not too long after the fact David that you had just acquired the mono.  You posted that you were loving it thoroughly as you drove to work a bright and beautiful California day.  My envy of that day of your listening continues at this end.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2009, 01:03:43 PM
I just read here, or somewhere, on a thread about the mono Kempff set.  I was torn between the stereo and mono a number of years back before I had even a set of the cycle (by anyone).  I remember kind of plying it extra safe grabbing the stereo set and then recall you posting not too long after the fact David that you had just acquired the mono.  You posted that you were loving it thoroughly as you drove to work a bright and beautiful California day.  My envy of that day of your listening continues at this end.

imprtcds at amazon.com still has new copies for $52.  >:D I got mine this week. They delivered it in 4 days. Nice packaging, slim box with paper sleeves and excellent liner notes.
You know you want to! (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0000012XC/ref=sr_1_olp_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1243721097&sr=8-2) (http://www.emofaces.com/en/buddy-icons/a/angel-and-devil-on-shoulder-buddy-icon.gif)

BTW, I have read that the mastering that you have of the stereo set is much better than the original.  
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 30, 2009, 01:08:12 PM
imprtcds at amazon.com still has new copies for $52.  >:D I got mine this week.

BTW, I have read that the mastering that you have of the stereo set is much better than the original. 

Yes.  I have heard the same about the set I have from the Complete Beethoven Edition.  Still may not be the Kempff set to have though.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2009, 01:12:18 PM
Yes.  I have heard the same about the set I have from the Complete Beethoven Edition.  Still may not be the Kempff set to have though.

I haven't read one reviewer that prefers the later set, though many still praise it. I had never seen the mono that cheap, so I had a good excuse to grab it this time.  ;D

(I edited my previous post BTW)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 30, 2009, 01:14:56 PM
I just read here, or somewhere, on a thread about the mono Kempff set.  I was torn between the stereo and mono a number of years back before I had even a set of the cycle (by anyone).  I remember kind of plying it extra safe grabbing the stereo set and then recall you posting not too long after the fact David that you had just acquired the mono.  You posted that you were loving it thoroughly as you drove to work a bright and beautiful California day.  My envy of that day of your listening continues at this end.

If it makes you feel better at all: The "Les Adieux" and "Hammerklavier" on the mono set are easily bested by the stereo version. Don't know what happened during the last mvt. of op.81a, but that's a harsh moment. But op.79, 90, and almost all the early sonatas are sublime.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2009, 01:16:47 PM
If it makes you feel better at all: The "Les Adieux" and "Hammerklavier" on the mono set are easily bested by the stereo version.

I'd go so far as to say that Op. 101, 106, 109, 110 and 111 are all better on the stereo set.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on May 30, 2009, 01:18:57 PM
Thanks for the info.  Tough call.  There are a number of LvB Serkin discs that want to grab before the mono Kempff cycle.  Great price though.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on May 30, 2009, 01:23:39 PM
Thanks for the info.  Tough call.  There are a number of LvB Serkin discs that want to grab before the mono Kempff cycle.  Great price though.

At least with Serkin there is no question which route to go: EARLY, EARLY, EARLY!!!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on May 30, 2009, 01:25:08 PM
At least with Serkin there is no question which route to go: EARLY, EARLY, EARLY!!!

Indeed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 03, 2009, 10:02:31 AM
Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 4, 1990 - 1996
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)

        Claudio Arrau II
1984* - 1990 - Philips France (Arrau Heritage Edition)

   Michaël Lévinas
1984 - 1991 - Ades

   Abdel Rahman El Bacha
1984 - 1993 - Forlane

   John O'Conor
198? - 1993 - Telarc

   Robert Benz
1988 - 1995 - Thorofon

   Richard Goode
1989 - 1993 - Nonesuch

   Ian Hobson
1992 - 1996 - Zephyr

   Alfredo Perl
1992- 1996 - Oehms Classics

   Alfred Brendel III
1992 - 1996 - Philips (digital)

   Malcom Bilson & Students
199? - 1996 - Claves





Part 1: 1935 - 1969 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Part 2: 1967 - 1974 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_24.html)
Part 3: 1977 - 1989 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html)

If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.

This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 03, 2009, 10:17:16 AM
If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.

I notice that the part 4 links don't appear yet on the bottom of the page.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on June 03, 2009, 11:19:10 AM
I would add

Michael Houston recorded between 1991? and 1995

Morrison Trust records

http://www.trustcds.com/pages/catalogue1.html    (see bottom of page).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 03, 2009, 11:51:56 AM
I would add

Michael Houston recorded between 1991? and 1995

Morrison Trust records

http://www.trustcds.com/pages/catalogue1.html    (see bottom of page).

Thanks for the info. I have Houston down for the following dates:

1995      -   1997

But I'll check if that's wrong. He'll be included in the next tranche one way or the other.

I notice that the part 4 links don't appear yet on the bottom of the page.

The link is (in) the title.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 03, 2009, 12:32:16 PM
The link is (in) the title.

I should have been clearer. I mean at the bottom of each page (part 1, 2 and 3) there are links to the other three pages, but not to part 4.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 03, 2009, 12:42:34 PM
I should have been clearer. I mean at the bottom of each page (part 1, 2 and 3) there are links to the other three pages, but not to part 4.
Oh, yeah... I've not gotten around to that. Lazy, I am. :-)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 03, 2009, 04:11:35 PM
Just read your excellent writeup of Gulda's second set, Jens. I very much agree with what you write about his second traversal of the 32 sonatas. Like you, I find his set to be remarkably enjoyable, brisk and consistent. I also admire Backhaus's second set but consider Gulda's set to be my go-to set these days. This is something that changed recently, but Gulda's set has always impressed me from the very first listen. His technical finish and clear vision of each work is impressive.    

I look forward to reading about more cycles as you add info.
 

I zipped through Gulda' s set a bit fast and should really find time for a more in-depth listen ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 03, 2009, 04:14:49 PM
Love the emoticon, Bill!  Got one making the sign of the cross to ward off vampires, too?
 

Amen ...     

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/04/Sign-of-the-cross--fingers-position.jpg/110px-Sign-of-the-cross--fingers-position.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 03, 2009, 04:24:40 PM
I zipped through Gulda' s set a bit fast  ...

That's the only way one can listen to his set.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 03, 2009, 05:14:00 PM
That's the only way one can listen to his set.  ;)

How is the set by Kovacevich?  I only have a few of the Sonatas on this Philips set ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41C-56a0uWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 03, 2009, 09:56:21 PM
How is the set by Kovacevich?  I only have a few of the Sonatas on this Philips set ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41C-56a0uWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This set is not complete in sonatas (complete concertos, I think, plus the Diabelli) but what there is, is very good indeed - incisive, powerful, and level-headed.  It was my last major purchase of Beethoven on modern piano.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on June 03, 2009, 11:42:13 PM
Thanks for the info. I have Houston down for the following dates:

1995      -   1997

But I'll check if that's wrong. He'll be included in the next tranche one way or the other.

The link is (in) the title.

...and please include Gerard Willems cycle for ABC in the next tranche.

The information on the internet is sketchy regarding Houston's cycle so I am relying on memory. You are probably correct. It's a very good cycle and the only thing that prevented me purchasing it was the price.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 04, 2009, 12:08:08 AM
...and please include Gerard Willems cycle for ABC in the next tranche.

The information on the internet is sketchy regarding Houston's cycle so I am relying on memory. You are probably correct. It's a very good cycle and the only thing that prevented me purchasing it was the price.

You must be from down under.  ;)

Willems won't be in the next tranche (he finished his cycle in 2000 and there are 11 cycles (!) I'm aware of that squeeze between 1996 and 2000). But he'll be included in the 6th.

You don't have Houston's cycle, but know it? Library? Or patriotism?  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on June 04, 2009, 03:56:03 AM
This set is not complete in sonatas (complete concertos, I think, plus the Diabelli) but what there is, is very good indeed - incisive, powerful, and level-headed.  It was my last major purchase of Beethoven on modern piano.
I think he was asking about Kovacevich's complete set on EMI, which is also very good, indeed--incisive, powerful, and level-headed--appropriately playful, passionate, and profound where need be.  It is one of my favorites, purchased piecemeal before the boxset was released, and to which I return often.  Many others regard it likewise.  Some do not--GMG's LvB sonata "gurus," Todd and George, among them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 04, 2009, 12:36:19 PM
Many others regard it likewise. 

I do.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 04, 2009, 12:38:56 PM
This set is not complete in sonatas (complete concertos, I think, plus the Diabelli) but what there is, is very good indeed - incisive, powerful, and level-headed.  It was my last major purchase of Beethoven on modern piano.

Thanks, -  reminds me, that I intended to acqiure this set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 04, 2009, 07:35:35 PM
Thanks, -  reminds me, that I intended to acqiure this set.

Do you already have his complete EMI set?   The Philips offers only a very partial set of sonatas.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 04, 2009, 07:42:09 PM
I think he was asking about Kovacevich's complete set on EMI  

Was he?  I gather that images of the EMI set are not that difficult to find.  I prefer the sound (and performance) quality of the Philips set, but of course the EMI is quite a bit more complete.  
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on June 04, 2009, 08:17:12 PM
Was he?  I gather that images of the EMI set are not that difficult to find.  I prefer the sound (and performance) quality of the Philips set, but of course the EMI is quite a bit more complete.  
The pic completed the statement, "I only have a few of the sonatas on this Philips set...."  At least that's what he expressed.  Whether that's what he intended to express is another matter, eh?  ;) 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 04, 2009, 08:32:39 PM
The pic completed the statement, "I only have a few of the sonatas on this Philips set...."  At least that's what he expressed.  Whether that's what he intended to express is another matter, eh?  ;)  

I agree coopmv's statement could have been a bit more precise: it is still NOT quite clear whether he does or does not own ALL the sonatas on the Philips set.  ;)  
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 04, 2009, 09:57:28 PM
Do you already have his complete EMI set? 

Yes, and I share DavidR´s opinion of it. This is my reason for acquiring the Philips set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 04, 2009, 10:03:22 PM
I agree coopmv's statement could have been a bit more precise: it is still NOT quite clear whether he does or does not own ALL the sonatas on the Philips set.  ;)  

He asked: How is the set by Kovacevic?, and might as well mean the EMI set.
After this he told, that he only owns a few of the items on this Philips set, adding the picture of it..
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 04, 2009, 11:11:08 PM
...that he only owns a few of the items on this Philips set, adding the picture of it..

So he doesn't own some other items on this Philips set?  There is some ambiguity here if you ask me, noting that all (Bishop-)Kovacevich's Philips recordings were once available either on single CD's or LP's.  

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on June 04, 2009, 11:21:10 PM
You must be from down under.  ;)

Willems won't be in the next tranche (he finished his cycle in 2000 and there are 11 cycles (!) I'm aware of that squeeze between 1996 and 2000). But he'll be included in the 6th.

You don't have Houston's cycle, but know it? Library? Or patriotism?  ;D

I'm an Aussie so patriotism is not the cause.

On a trip to NZ I dropped into the central library in Wellington, handed over my drivers licence and put the CDs I'd selected from their shelves into one of their CD players. I chose a couple of CDs from the Houston set and was very impressed. I went back on subsequent days and listened to as much of the cycle that I could. This is excellent LvB playing and well worth a listen. I nearly bought the set but when I went into a store and saw the price I decided not to.

The Willems cycle is in a similar vein but with different characteristics to Houston. This is also available via the local (Gold Coast) library and is again up there in the better range of LvB playing and is a much better price.

I think Todd has heard the Houston but I'm not sure about the Willems. I'd be interested to see how he rates them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 05, 2009, 12:26:05 AM
So he doesn't own some other items on this Philips set?  There is some ambiguity here if you ask me, noting that all (Bishop-)Kovacevich's Philips recordings were once available either on single CD's or LP's.  



I suppose, that he owns a few of the items from the Philips set, and nothing at all of the EMI set,
and therefore he is asking about the quality of the EMI set.
Expect Coop-  himself to make it clear ASAP.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 05, 2009, 12:31:14 AM
Expect Coop-  himself to make it clear ASAP.

Oh well I have done all I can to advise him I think  >:D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 05, 2009, 01:33:16 AM
 I prefer the sound (and performance) quality of the Philips set...

Me too. I wonder why he didn't complete the cycle in those days? It's a shame that he didn't.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 05, 2009, 05:21:41 AM
I think Todd has heard the Houston but I'm not sure about the Willems. I'd be interested to see how he rates them.



It's the opposite.  I've looked into buying the Houstoun cycle, but it was too expensive when it was available, and now it only appears to be available as downloads.  Even Buywell doesn't list it in physical form.

As to Willems, his cycle is very good.  The best I can describe it is that he takes a conventional approach on a radical instrument.  He's just a bit broad tempo wise, is never flashy, and displays fine dynamics, though the latter is aided by the piano.  He's generally very good in the early and less demanding middle sonatas, a bit lacking in the stormier middle sonatas (even with the aid of the piano in terms of heft), and good in the late sonatas.  The pinnacle of his cycle is Op 26, which is my favorite take on that work at present.  The ABC engineers did what I have to guess is a great job capturing the piano sound.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 06:20:54 PM
Oh well I have done all I can to advise him I think  >:D
 

I do not have a single Beethoven Piano Work by Kovacevich on EMI. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 06, 2009, 11:44:42 PM
I do not have a single Beethoven Piano Work by Kovacevich on EMI. 

But isn't Kovacevich self-recommending based on his Beethoven on Philips, supposing that you
own the set already?  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on June 07, 2009, 01:25:43 AM
But isn't Kovacevich self-recommending based on his Beethoven on Philips, supposing that you
own the set already?  :)

I've found him on EMI quite changed from his early days on Philips, and not for the better: quite deliberate, and over-wrought.

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 03:40:24 AM
I've found him on EMI quite changed from his early days on Philips, and not for the better: quite deliberate, and over-wrought.

Q

Hasn't Philips consistently produced CD's with better (remastering) quality than EMI?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on June 07, 2009, 04:17:24 AM
Hasn't Philips consistently produced CD's with better (remastering) quality than EMI?

Yes, but I was referring to the issue of musical interpretation.

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 04:21:58 AM
Yes, but I was referring to the issue of musical interpretation.

Q

Is there any evidence Kovacevich has gotten worse interpretation-wise with age.  His Philips recordings were all from the 70's and I still have a number of them on LP.  Kovacevich and Misha Dichter were both my favorite pianists on Philips, my favorite label in the LP days.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on June 07, 2009, 04:33:44 AM
Is there any evidence Kovacevich has gotten worse interpretation-wise with age. 

Evidence? ::) It's just a matter of taste: his style changed and I like his earlier recordings better.

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 04:37:37 AM
Evidence? ::) It's just a matter of taste: his style changed and I like his earlier recordings better.

Q

I love Kovacevich's recordings from his Philips days and since I do not own any of his EMI recordings, I really cannot comment on those later recordings.  Perhaps Martha Argerich kind of rubbed off on him since they were married at some point.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 07, 2009, 05:23:31 AM
Anyone got cover art (and information?) from the second Paul Badura Skoda fortepiano cycle, which I believe (but am not sure) was recorded between ?1989 and ?1993 for Auvidis Astrée?


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 07, 2009, 06:27:16 AM
Is there any evidence Kovacevich has gotten worse interpretation-wise with age.  His Philips recordings were all from the 70's and I still have a number of them on LP.  Kovacevich and Misha Dichter were both my favorite pianists on Philips, my favorite label in the LP days.

Hmm, so if you don't already have the Philips CD set which you illustrated with your first post regarding K's Beethoven, you may want to replicate it on CD as well - if it is for me to say, I think the EMI will complement, not replace, the Philips set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 07, 2009, 07:13:38 AM
Hasn't Philips consistently produced CD's with better (remastering) quality than EMI?

They have, and this case is no exception. The Philips Kovacevich has a more natural, closer miking technique that results in a clearer image and much more beautiful piano tone than the EMI. Whether the tone can be more attributed to the sound, the playing or the piano used, remains unclear, but what is clear is that the result is excellent. The EMI is more distantly miked and although it is a more modern recording, the piano tone comes across as harsh and steely.

As for the playing, like Que I prefer the Philips recordings. I recently compared a few sonatas and Bagatelles that are shared by both sets and in each case the EMI sounds too aggressive. I realize that this is Beethoven, but for me, Beethoven's music is special because the more intense passages are balanced with passages of sublime beauty. The Philips performances achieve this wonderfully. Far from being either a wimpy Beethoven with no power or a overly muscular one with no heart, his Philips recordings show that Kovacevich could bring out the intensity and the beauty in this music and in the Philips this is all captured in a flattering acoustic environment. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 07, 2009, 07:18:10 AM
Anyone got cover art (and information?) from the second Paul Badura Skoda fortepiano cycle, which I believe (but am not sure) was recorded between ?1989 and ?1993 for Auvidis Astrée?




I've got the Astrée set, Jens. I'll PM you a link when I get it uploaded.

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestre/Zinman - Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 3rd mvmt - Adagio molto e cantabile
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 07, 2009, 07:44:07 AM
I've got the Astrée set, Jens. I'll PM you a link when I get it uploaded.

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestre/Zinman - Op 125 Symphony #9 in d 3rd mvmt - Adagio molto e cantabile

Super! When you mean uploaded, you are talking about the cover, right. Could you do me a great favor and give me the recording dates, too? I've got 89 to 93, but am not sure about either.
Does he use one fortepiano for all... or different instruments?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 07, 2009, 08:00:26 AM
Super! When you mean uploaded, you are talking about the cover, right. Could you do me a great favor and give me the recording dates, too? I've got 89 to 93, but am not sure about either.
Does he use one fortepiano for all... or different instruments?

I sent you the front and back covers of all 9 disks. They have all the info you could want, including which fortepiano he uses for each disk. Each one is particular to the time of composition, a really nice touch, I must say. :)

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra Winds - FJH Divertimento #3 in Eb for Winds Hob 2:41 3rd mvmt
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 07, 2009, 08:41:05 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/1114RG1KCWL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)

Ian Hobson’s cycle was never high on my list of cycles to hear.  Indeed, I’d largely forgotten about it until I picked up a disc of Michel Block playing some Ravel and Falla works with Mr Hobson conducting.  Alas, that disc for the Zephyr label did not find Mr Block in top form, and I found Hobson’s conducting not especially inspired.  But his name popped back on the radar.  So I did the (almost) inevitable and bought the New Testament.  It ain’t too bad.  It ain’t great, either.

The biggest problem with the set as a whole is that there’s what I can only describe as a generic sound to it.  Hobson adopts generally sensible tempi – not too fast, not too slow.  He plays with an attractive sound, though it’s a bit soft, blunting some of the attack where needed.  His dynamics are well controlled and wide ranging, but rarely does anything really grab the listener’s attention.  (Well, this listener, at any rate.)  There’s heft and drive and rhythmic snap, but perhaps not quite enough.  It’s largely undistinguished.  

That written, I noticed one positive thing about the cycle.  Hobson gets better as the cycle goes along.  I definitely prefer cycles where the quality improves in the later works, but even so it’s hard to think of true standouts.  The critical Op 31 sonatas all fare well, though none really engross like they should.  The Appassionata is a bit broad, and much of the time lacks energy, but in certain portions, especially in the last movement, Hobson plays with real flair and power.  The Hammerklavier is a bit long, but the great Adagio is very good.  Even parts of Op 111, especially the second movement, sound excellent.  

This is a decidedly middle of the road cycle, interpretively and qualitatively.  I can think of literally dozens of cycles I prefer, though I can also think of more than a few that Hobson trumps.  It wouldn’t be a bad introduction to the works for a newcomer, but I don’t see it satisfying in the long run.  I’ll find out.

Sound, though, is quite good.  It appears that the folks at Zephyr went for that audiophile, minimalist set-up, so the piano is a bit distant, but dynamics are excellent and tone on the full side.  And though irrelevant, I must note the poor packaging.  I don’t know who thought up the idea of black lettering on a charcoal gray background, but deciphering what’s on an individual disc from the cover can be challenging.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: springrite on June 07, 2009, 08:44:20 AM
I have one Hobson CD playing Beethoven and it is just too boring.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 09:09:07 AM
Hmm, so if you don't already have the Philips CD set which you illustrated with your first post regarding K's Beethoven, you may want to replicate it on CD as well - if it is for me to say, I think the EMI will complement, not replace, the Philips set.
 

I have had the Philips CD set I illustrated for some times.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 07, 2009, 10:16:37 AM
I sent you the front and back covers of all 9 disks. They have all the info you could want, including which fortepiano he uses for each disk. Each one is particular to the time of composition, a really nice touch, I must say. :)

Very cool, Gurn. I stumbled upon his Op. 2 in the used bins recently and grabbed it, though I haven't heard it yet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: FideLeo on June 07, 2009, 10:50:44 AM
I have had the Philips CD set I illustrated for some times.

That wasn't made clear until now.  Your call to get the EMI set or not.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 11, 2009, 01:04:40 AM
Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 5, 1996 - 1999
(http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_11.html)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)

      

   Michael Houstoun
1994 - 1996 - Morrison Music Trust

   Jean-Bernard Pommier
1991 - 1997 - Erato

   Russell Sherman
1993 - 1997 - GM Recordings

   Robert Taub
1994 - 1997 - Vox

   Georges Pludermacher
1998 - Transart live

   Aldo Ciccolini
1985 - 1999 - Bongiovanni

   Gotthard Kladetzky
19?? - 1998 - Koch Schwann

   André DeGroote
1998 - Naxos (BeNeLux), Solal

   Yukio Yokoyama
1998- 1999 - Sony (Japan)

   Robert Silverman
1999 - Orpheum Masters





Part 1: 1935 - 1969
Part 2: 1967 - 1974
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
Part 4: 1990 - 1996

If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.

This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on June 11, 2009, 02:25:15 PM
That wasn't made clear until now.  Your call to get the EMI set or not.
'Twas clear in the first post to some of us, but native English speakers obviously have an advantage and I can understand why others raised with more syntax would have a hard time.  There are a few other things I understand, but the number about which I am ignorant doubtless exceeds the number of grains of sand on all the beaches of the world.  Thank goodness I know enough to know when I don't know something (usually at least  ;) )!  It makes learning so much easier! 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 21, 2009, 09:27:30 AM
I have one Hobson CD playing Beethoven and it is just too boring.

Thanks for the warnings, guys.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 21, 2009, 09:53:36 AM
Thanks for the warnings, guys.

Hobsons unmannered style appeals much to me, and it is unfair to say that he is boring. On the other hand I do not think he will do much for you, who prefer more muscular playing (Gilels, Schnabel).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 21, 2009, 10:37:51 AM
Part 6 is ready.

Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles Part 6, 2000 - 2005 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html)


   Gerard Willems
1997 - 2000? - ABC


   Anne Øland
1995 - 2002? - T.I.M.


   Stephen Kovacevich
1992 - 2003 - EMI


   David Allen Wehr
1998 - 2004 - Connoisseur Society


   Andrea Lucchesini
1999? - 2004 - Stradivarius


   Seymour Lipkin
2002 - 2004 - Newport Classics
   

   Craig Sheppard
2003 - 2004 - Romeo Records

   Daniel Barenboim III
2005 - EMI (DVD)





Part 1: 1935 - 1969 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Part 2: 1967 - 1974 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_24.html)
Part 3: 1977 - 1989 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html)
Part 4: 1990 - 1996 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Part 5: 1996 - 1999 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_11.html)

If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.

This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 21, 2009, 06:22:50 PM
Hobsons unmannered style appeals much to me, and it is unfair to say that he is boring.

I have a single Hobson disc and find it quite satisfactory.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 30, 2009, 04:45:57 AM
This should bring matters up to date.

Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles Part 7, 2006/07 (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html)


Gerhard Oppitz
2004 - 2006 - Hänssler

Garrick Ohlsson
1992 - 2007 - Bridge (Arabesque)

Idil Biret
1994 - 2005 - IBA

András Schiff
2004 - 2007 - ECM

Paul Lewis
2004 - 2007 - Harmonia Mundi

Kun-Woo Paik
2005 - 2007 - Decca (Korea)




This concludes the listing of all Beethoven Sonata Cycles that are currently complete* and finished‡. There are, however, 14 (or more!) cycles under way, of which Ronald Bräutigam's will most likely be the next complete one (and one of the most important, at that). I will list all cycles that are under way--as well as a selection of historically important attempted cycles that were never finished but include >20 sonatas.

* If you count, as I did, Backhaus II and Arrau II as complete, despite one and two (respectively) missing sonatas.

‡ This includes Idil Biret's cycle which has been all recorded but won't have been issued in its entirety until later this year or early 2010.


Part 1: 1935 - 1969
Part 2: 1967 - 1974
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
Part 4: 1990 - 1996
Part 5: 1996 - 1999
Part 6: 1996 - 1999

If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.

This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 30, 2009, 05:59:26 AM
It looks like you missed a few cycles, mostly Japanese.

Sequeira Costa - VMF records
Ikuyo Nakamichi - RCA Japan
Akiyoshi Sako - Camerata Tokyo
Takahiro Sonoda - 2 cycles: Denon (Nippon Columbia), 1960s (available in Japan and Canada); Evica, 1990s (not available)
Shoko Sugitani - IDC


Plus there are two others that either were finished or close to being finished.

Kazune Shimizu - Sony, reportedly complete but only eight volumes released
Daniela Varinska - an obscure label, but nine volumes complete


Kun-Woo Paik's cycle is available in individual volumes in the US (Han Books) and France.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 30, 2009, 06:01:37 AM
It looks like you missed a few cycles, mostly Japanese.

Sequeira Costa - VMF records
Ikuyo Nakamichi - RCA Japan
Akiyoshi Sako - Camerata Tokyo
Takahiro Sonoda - 2 cycles: Denon (Nippon Columbia), 1960s (available in Japan and Canada); Evica, 1990s (not available)
Shoko Sugitani - IDC


Plus there are two others that either were finished or close to being finished.

Kazune Shimizu - Sony, reportedly complete but only eight volumes released
Daniela Varinska - an obscure label, but nine volumes complete


Kun-Woo Paik's cycle is available in individual volumes in the US (Han Books) and France.

Holy cow... so much out there that I had no clue about. Thanks much for pointing it out!
If you have any information on these (recording dates of the Denon Sonoda cycle, for example, or
cover pictures),
could you let me know?

So far I've not found at all:

Sequeira Costa - VMF records
Akiyoshi Sako - Camerata Tokyo (found some of them.)
Takahiro Sonoda -  Evica, 1990s (found it. still available, too.)
 
I've found (individually):

Ikuyo Nakamichi - RCA Japan
and the Denon Sonoda cycle. But not an alleged third that may or may not be out there.

I've found 9 volumes for Varinska, but nothing of Shimizu--except the quote that he did record it and that it's out of print.

Sugitani searches have only revealed the complete concertos to me... and the last volume of her cycle... but nothing else. I ain't finished looking, yet, of course.
Any links welcome!

Did BL Gelber ever get beyond six volumes on Denon?


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on June 30, 2009, 09:43:07 AM
This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.
For those seeking reviews comparing many (most?) of the extant cycles, but who are not familiar with Todd's Herculean efforts, I strongly recommend looking up his LvB sonata cycle reviews on the old GMG forum--or hunting them down on the two or three other forums where he posted them.  Although I do not agree with all of his judgments, I think his reviews are valuable not only for the great variety of cycles he has examined, but also for his thoroughness and consistency--qualities many professional reviewers could learn something about from him.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 30, 2009, 10:44:30 AM
First off, where’s Sonoda's Evica cycle available?  That one interests me.

Sequeira Costa: http://www.vdamotta.org/vmfrecords.html  I’ve tried two volumes, and plan on getting more at some point.

The Sonoda Denon cycle is incorrectly labeled as four discs at HMV Japan.  It’s a complete set, and potentially the best by a Japanese pianist. 

Shoko Sugitani is available at HMV Japan: http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/search/index.asp?adv=1&label=Idc+%2Aclassic%2A&category=1.  The search has to be on IDC and then the various LvB volumes; all eleven appear to be available.

Akiyoshi Sako is the same way.  I bought them blind a year or two ago with fingers crossed and was rewarded with a fine cycle.

Kazune Shimizu is apparently still available: http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/745233 .  Last time I looked the only way I could find the discs was searching by sequential catalog numbers.

Ikuyo Nakamichi’s cycle is already being reissued piece by piece even though her cycle is from this decade.  It is arguably the best sounding cycle available, up there with the Lewis and on-going Leotta cycles.

For on-going cycles, it looks like Hiroaki Ooi and Irina Mejoueva may need to be added.

Gelber stopped at six volumes as far as I know.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 30, 2009, 11:05:59 AM
First off, where’s Sonoda's Evica cycle available?  That one interests me.

Sequeira Costa: http://www.vdamotta.org/vmfrecords.html  I’ve tried two volumes, and plan on getting more at some point.

The Sonoda Denon cycle is incorrectly labeled as four discs at HMV Japan.  It’s a complete set, and potentially the best by a Japanese pianist.  

Shoko Sugitani is available at HMV Japan: http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/search/index.asp?adv=1&label=Idc+%2Aclassic%2A&category=1.  The search has to be on IDC and then the various LvB volumes; all eleven appear to be available.

Akiyoshi Sako is the same way.  I bought them blind a year or two ago with fingers crossed and was rewarded with a fine cycle.

Kazune Shimizu is apparently still available: http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/745233 .  Last time I looked the only way I could find the discs was searching by sequential catalog numbers.

Ikuyo Nakamichi’s cycle is already being reissued piece by piece even though her cycle is from this decade.  It is arguably the best sounding cycle available, up there with the Lewis and on-going Leotta cycles.

For on-going cycles, it looks like Hiroaki Ooi and Irina Mejoueva may need to be added.

Gelber stopped at six volumes as far as I know.


Thanks again! Now it's time to credit you in the survey!

The second Sonoda cycle can be found here (http://www.mother-earth-publishing.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=sonoda&page=1&sort=4d).

Once I clean up my complete Excel file of all the cycles, I'll send you a copy, if you are interested.

Did you know of a cycle by Pietro Galli on Cassiope?? (Never mind. Who knew that this Cimarosa kid also composed 32 Sonatas. Clearly any cycle titled "The 32 Sonatas" makes me think of LvB, no matter how bold the composer's name is on the cover.  ::)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 04, 2009, 08:13:28 AM
This Backhaus' set has been most delightful and I am glad to have grabbed it at a great bargain price ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511Y72TQB6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Opus106 on August 07, 2009, 05:49:04 AM
Re-release of Brendel's Philips cycle at a cheaper price.
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4781821
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on August 07, 2009, 05:56:46 AM
Re-release of Brendel's (second) Philips cycle at a cheaper price.
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4781821

I'm waiting for the same Philips-to-Decca magic to take place with the Arrau (first) cycle to happen... as that was pulled a few months ago, too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Air on August 07, 2009, 08:41:18 AM
Re-release of Brendel's Philips cycle at a cheaper price.
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4781821

I'd say just get the late sonatas of Brendel on Philips, skip the rest.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on August 07, 2009, 08:45:13 AM
I'd say just get the late sonatas of Brendel on Philips, skip the rest.

And I'd say get his Haydn instead.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Valentino on August 08, 2009, 01:06:56 AM
Nah, Brendel's digital cycle is good stuff, almost Salzburgian...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Opus106 on August 08, 2009, 05:33:23 AM
Hammerklavier, a work that I must say I have never loved

A shocker! Really. However, I'm glad at the turn of events. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on December 10, 2009, 11:42:24 AM
I just found this upload of Cziffra playing the Waldstein on youtube -- I like it a lot. Not too romantic.

Has anyone heard the recording it comes from? A concert CD on Ermitage I think. My finger is twitching over the one-click button.

http://www.youtube.com/v/iLSTzg_cWoE
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 10, 2009, 01:00:14 PM
I just found this upload of Cziffra playing the Waldstein on youtube -- I like it a lot. Not too romantic.

Has anyone heard the recording it comes from? A concert CD on Ermitage I think. My finger is twitching over the one-click button.

I have an EMI recording of his Waldstein. Is it live? Mine is studio I think.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on December 10, 2009, 01:40:20 PM
I have an EMI recording of his Waldstein. Is it live? Mine is studio I think.

Yes, it's live. It comes on a CD with Schumann's Carnival and the Bach/Busoni Chaconne. A concert in Lugano.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on December 11, 2009, 01:30:28 AM
I just found this upload of Cziffra playing the Waldstein on youtube -- I like it a lot. Not too romantic.

Has anyone heard the recording it comes from? A concert CD on Ermitage I think. My finger is twitching over the one-click button.

http://www.youtube.com/v/iLSTzg_cWoE

I have this twice. The Ermitage CD and as part of the 40 CD set issued by EMI. Movements 2 and 3 of the Waldstein are superb but the opening is not so good. The first movement needs to have a forward impetus and Cziffra is a bit diffident in this regard.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on December 11, 2009, 02:01:25 AM
I have this twice. The Ermitage CD and as part of the 40 CD set issued by EMI. Movements 2 and 3 of the Waldstein are superb but the opening is not so good. The first movement needs to have a forward impetus and Cziffra is a bit diffident in this regard.

actually that was my impression from youtube. Thanks.

Is the Schumann Carnival on the same disc interesting?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on December 11, 2009, 04:19:09 PM
Yes, well worth listening to as is much of Cziffra's Schumann.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 30, 2010, 06:47:44 PM
Found this today and figured that I would post it here:

Who is the Greatest Interpreter of Beethoven's Music? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/7089789/Who-is-the-greatest-interpreter-of-Beethovens-piano-music.html)

 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on January 30, 2010, 07:32:29 PM
The more I listen to Brautigam, the more I think he deserves to be ranked with the best. I like his aggressive style.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 30, 2010, 08:34:35 PM
Found this today and figured that I would post it here:

Who is the Greatest Interpreter of Beethoven's Music? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/7089789/Who-is-the-greatest-interpreter-of-Beethovens-piano-music.html)

There was no mention of Wilhelm Backhaus and I am not familiar with Richard Goode ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 31, 2010, 06:33:40 AM
Found this today and figured that I would post it here:

Who is the Greatest Interpreter of Beethoven's Music? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/7089789/Who-is-the-greatest-interpreter-of-Beethovens-piano-music.html)

Nice riposte, George. You went for the juggler jugular  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 06:36:42 AM
Nice riposte, George. You went for the juggler  ;D

Sarge

I was inspired by the full moon.  ;D

They didn't show it on their site until this morning so I assumed that they weren't going to post it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: MN Dave on January 31, 2010, 07:06:39 AM
The more I listen to Brautigam, the more I think he deserves to be ranked with the best. I like his aggressive style.

Is he finished with the cycle? They should box that stuff up.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 07:08:28 AM
The more I listen to Brautigam, the more I think he deserves to be ranked with the best. I like his aggressive style.

The aggressive style might go down well with Beethoven, but not with Chopin ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 31, 2010, 07:55:34 AM
Found this today and figured that I would post it here:

Who is the Greatest Interpreter of Beethoven's Music? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/7089789/Who-is-the-greatest-interpreter-of-Beethovens-piano-music.html)

George - I'm sure that Todd & you could extend that rather short listing!  :D  A lot 'missing in action' that have graced the pages of this & other threads - Dave  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 08:04:01 AM
George - I'm sure that Todd & you could extend that rather short listing!  :D  A lot 'missing in action' that have graced the pages of this & other threads - Dave  :)

Did you see my reply below that article?  0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 31, 2010, 08:25:34 AM
Did you see my reply below that article?  0:)

No, did not scroll down fall enough to see if replying was an option - your response is certainly longer than the original!  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 08:42:27 AM
No, did not scroll down fall enough to see if replying was an option - your response is certainly longer than the original!  ;D

 ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on January 31, 2010, 08:49:21 AM
... your response is certainly longer than the original!  ;D

... and by far more intelligent, even when it avoids to be sarcastic. BTW, the another replies are not inferior to the original article.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 09:07:19 AM
... and by far more intelligent, even when it avoids to be sarcastic.

I thank you, Antoine! I tried my best to be civil.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on January 31, 2010, 09:38:35 AM
Who is the Greatest Interpreter of Beethoven's Music? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/7089789/Who-is-the-greatest-interpreter-of-Beethovens-piano-music.html)



Brief, conventional, and inaccurate (Barenboim has recorded three cycles, after all).  Yawn.  I always wonder how many cycles people listen to before compiling a list of the "greatest", however one could determine that.



The more I listen to Brautigam, the more I think he deserves to be ranked with the best. I like his aggressive style.

I have the opposite reaction.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on January 31, 2010, 09:48:36 AM
Brief, conventional, and inaccurate (Barenboim has recorded three cycles, after all).  Yawn.  I always wonder how many cycles people listen to before compiling a list of the "greatest", however one could determine that.
Re: Brautigam: I have the opposite reaction.

I agree. What a shitty piece of re-hashing stereotypes, cliches, and conventional wisdom--spiced up with inaccuracies and meaningless chatter. (Kempff's mono cycle messy? WTF? Compared to Pollini. Maybe. And then the "Schnabel insights, unsurpassed" blah blah blah. You don't need to listen to a single note to write any of that. He is (arguably) right, however, in plagiarizing the fact that Schnabel's recordings are best gotten on Naxos.

p.s. Count me among those who are continuously amazed at how great the Brautigam LvB Sonata cycle sounds. What a tremendous achievement; a victory for the forte-piano, which sounds ghastly all too often on other recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Novi on January 31, 2010, 10:27:07 AM
Err, guys, it is the Telegraph, after all...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on January 31, 2010, 12:33:48 PM
I have the opposite reaction.

Well, I didn't offer any specifics, but I am curious to hear yours. What are his weaknessess, do you think he's superficial? Whom do you prefer in this vein, Gulda?
Actually, when I first started listening to Brautigam, I loved him, but part of it was because of the fortepianos. Then I liked him a little less, for his lack of overt rumination and poetry, I suppose. Now I like his directness, steadfastness, and still the fortepianos.

Some positives for Brautigam, I think:
-Technique is never lacking
-Not genteel, I can hear Serkin's influence
-He brings real force and bravura to his playing when called for, to a level unlike Goode and definitely Paul Lewis, but he still brings awareness of Beethoven's classicism.
-It's a valid interpretation to play Beethoven's pieces aggressively, without too much pondering or romanticizing, and sometimes perhaps with abandon.
-Brautigam seems not be contradicting Czerny's recommendations on the sonatas. To play in time, and never drag. But with requisite technique and lightness and bravura in supply.   
-Most of the sonatas were written when Beethoven was less or not much older than 30 years. Beethoven's symphonies have the most fervid metronome markings, up to and including the 9th, as do many of his string quartets. This suggests that he may have preferred playing without too much lingering. 
-Instruments

Sure, I like Kempff's poetry, Fischer's intensity, Backhaus' seriousness, Richter's command, and Serkin's no b.s. drama. Yet I think Brautigam has many admirable qualities too and isn't at all lacking power.   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 02:12:40 PM
Brief, conventional, and inaccurate (Barenboim has recorded three cycles, after all). 

Yeah, that was my first thought too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on January 31, 2010, 03:10:57 PM
What are his weaknessess, do you think he's superficial? Whom do you prefer in this vein, Gulda?


I don't think Brautigam is superficial, but he's something of a one-trick pony.  His speed, clean articulation, and intensity - ie, aggressiveness - work well in the early sonatas, but he doesn't offer enough in later works.  Starting with Op 28, and especially with Op 31 and later, he sounds too monochrome, too limited.  His 31/1 is too dry, too intense, for instance.  His most recent disc shows that he hasn't adopted any notable chanes in the late works.  I had high hopes for the cycle, and still like the earlier works, but for me, a great cycle must be better at the end of the 32 than the beginning.

In terms of a similar approach that I find more to my liking, yes, Gulda is the man.  Had Hungerford completed his cycle, he'd be the second man, if you will.  Brautigam, not so much.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on January 31, 2010, 03:59:52 PM
Found this today and figured that I would post it here:

Who is the Greatest Interpreter of Beethoven's Music? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/7089789/Who-is-the-greatest-interpreter-of-Beethovens-piano-music.html)

Who is Damian Thompson?  Does he have any musical background?  Why have I never, ever, ever, heard about him? 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 04:25:22 PM
Who is Damian Thompson?  Does he have any musical background?  Why have I never, ever, ever, heard about him?

I would hope he has the proper credentials as a music critic if he writes for the Telegraph ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on January 31, 2010, 05:44:08 PM

I don't think Brautigam is superficial, but he's something of a one-trick pony.  His speed, clean articulation, and intensity - ie, aggressiveness - work well in the early sonatas, but he doesn't offer enough in later works.  Starting with Op 28, and especially with Op 31 and later, he sounds too monochrome, too limited.  His 31/1 is too dry, too intense, for instance.  His most recent disc shows that he hasn't adopted any notable chanes in the late works.  I had high hopes for the cycle, and still like the earlier works, but for me, a great cycle must be better at the end of the 32 than the beginning.

In terms of a similar approach that I find more to my liking, yes, Gulda is the man.  Had Hungerford completed his cycle, he'd be the second man, if you will.  Brautigam, not so much.

I will have to check out Hungerford.

But oy, are we listening to the same discs? I like Brautigam on the earlier sonatas, but I think he catches fire later on repeatedly in the nicknamed sonatas. Op. 27/1 is great. Op. 27/2 presto agitato is almost flawless, not overdone, as is often the case. Except for the scherzo, the Pastorale is pretty darn excellent, and benefits from the tone of the fortepiano. Maybe the Tempest isn't as impressive as Richter's, but op 31/3 has extraordinary touch and sense of wit, and seems informed by his many years playing Haydn and Mozart.

Disc 6, so much variety exploited, and the Graf copy is a wonderful instrument.
Waldstein is fantastic, particularly the rondo. Op. 79 Andante has so much feeling. The Appassionata is definitely one of best I have ever heard, in terms of pacing and tonal dimension. It sounds like 4 different instruments fused together, in a good way.

On 7, Les Adieux, Das Wiedersehen is pretty awesome, how it picks up from the previous movement. While I think Rudolf Serkin's may be my favorite Hammerklavier in its humanity, Brautigam's has tons of rhythmic personality not found in other versions. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 05:54:25 PM

I don't think Brautigam is superficial, but he's something of a one-trick pony.  His speed, clean articulation, and intensity - ie, aggressiveness - work well in the early sonatas, but he doesn't offer enough in later works.  Starting with Op 28, and especially with Op 31 and later, he sounds too monochrome, too limited.  His 31/1 is too dry, too intense, for instance.  His most recent disc shows that he hasn't adopted any notable chanes in the late works.  I had high hopes for the cycle, and still like the earlier works, but for me, a great cycle must be better at the end of the 32 than the beginning.

In terms of a similar approach that I find more to my liking, yes, Gulda is the man.  Had Hungerford completed his cycle, he'd be the second man, if you will.  Brautigam, not so much.

I thought not long ago I saw some posts singing Brautigam praises in a big way.  While I do not own any of his recordings, I was curious. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on January 31, 2010, 06:22:26 PM
I would hope he has the proper credentials as a music critic if he writes for the Telegraph ...

Actually, after I posted that I googled the man.  The only references to his writings that I could find were about religion.  He has a blog on the Telegraph and his academic background is in history and religion.   I don't think I will take his music criticism too seriously.  I suppose he just decided to post his particular preferences there the same way I might post my preferences here.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 06:26:10 PM
Actually, after I posted that I googled the man.  The only references to his writings that I could find were about religion.  He has a blog on the Telegraph and his academic background is in history and religion.   I don't think I will take his music criticism too seriously.  I suppose he just decided to post his particular preferences there the same way I might post my preferences here.

An academic background in history and religion is not exactly that out of line with being a music critic IMO ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Herman on January 31, 2010, 06:26:57 PM
Nice riposte, George. You went for the juggler  ;D

Sarge

having nothing to add about LvB's 32 (I hardly ever listen to this stuff) I do want to point out this is unfair to the juggling profession. It's jugular.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 06:30:27 PM
Yeah, that was my first thought too.

George,  IIRC, you do not really have a very high opinion on the set by Barenboim ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DarkAngel on January 31, 2010, 06:31:17 PM
Brautigam is moving up the piano forte line as Beethoven sonata series gets into later sonatas and Beethoven would have access to more advanced upgraded instruments........fortunately the booklets detail this and provide photos.

Volume 1-5 use a replica 1802 Walter fortepiano
Volume 6,7 use replica 1819 Graf fortepiano

Perhaps another keyboard to finish set, we shall see..............

I also really like Brautigam set to date, and even if it is not your very favorite versions important to have  at least some of the set using the keyboards Beethoven himself composed them on, I have  not heard any other fortepiano Beethoven sonatas that surpass Brautigam's work (although Bunny has begged to check out Komen)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on January 31, 2010, 06:34:14 PM
I will have to check out Hungerford.

But oy, are we listening to the same discs? I like Brautigam on the earlier sonatas, but I think he catches fire later on repeatedly in the nicknamed sonatas. Op. 27/1 is great. Op. 27/2 presto agitato is almost flawless, not overdone, as is often the case. Except for the scherzo, the Pastorale is pretty darn excellent, and benefits from the tone of the fortepiano. Maybe the Tempest isn't as impressive as Richter's, but op 31/3 has extraordinary touch and sense of wit, and seems informed by his many years playing Haydn and Mozart.

Disc 6, so much variety exploited, and the Graf copy is a wonderful instrument.
Waldstein is fantastic, particularly the rondo. Op. 79 Andante has so much feeling. The Appassionata is definitely one of best I have ever heard, in terms of pacing and tonal dimension. It sounds like 4 different instruments fused together, in a good way.

On 7, Les Adieux, Das Wiedersehen is pretty awesome, how it picks up from the previous movement. While I think Rudolf Serkin's may be my favorite Hammerklavier in its humanity, Brautigam's has tons of rhythmic personality not found in other versions.

I think Brautigam's cycle is excellent and I especially love the 6th volume with the Waldstein and Appassionata.  In fact, that Waldstein is probably the gem of the collection.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 06:39:40 PM
George,  IIRC, you do not really have a very high opinion on the set by Barenboim ...

I've only heard his second set, the DG one, and I think it's OK. Not great, not terrible.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on January 31, 2010, 06:45:05 PM
An academic background in history and religion is not exactly that out of line with being a music critic IMO ...

Yes, but he doesn't write music criticism or music reviews.  He edits the Catholic Herald (a conservative Roman Catholic paper in England) and writes about religion for the Guardian Telegraph.  I think he just decided to write about his preferences in Beethoven sonata cycles.  As Todd pointed out, the piece doesn't demonstrate any great depth of knowledge.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 07:14:15 PM
Yes, but he doesn't write music criticism or music reviews.  He edits the Catholic Herald (a conservative Roman Catholic paper in England) and writes about religion for the Guardian Telegraph.  I think he just decided to write about his preferences in Beethoven sonata cycles.  As Todd pointed out, the piece doesn't demonstrate any great depth of knowledge.

I also was surprised I did not see the version by Backhaus mentioned in his column.  I have the set by Backhaus and it is excellent ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 31, 2010, 07:14:36 PM
I thought not long ago I saw some posts singing Brautigam praises in a big way.  While I do not own any of his recordings, I was curious.

Stuart - don't discard Ronald Brautigam on just his Beethoven performances (which I've not heard yet) - I own a number of his other performances on the fortepiano and find them wonderful - just one example are his Mozart solo recordings - reviewed on MusicWeb HERE (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Mar01/Mozart_Brautigam.htm) - so keep your ears open on this guy!   ;) ;D  Dave

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2000/dec00/Mozart_complete_piano_sonatas.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 07:15:35 PM
I've only heard his second set, the DG one, and I think it's OK. Not great, not terrible.

So Barenboim's EMI set may be the worst in terms of performance?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 07:17:29 PM
Yes, but he doesn't write music criticism or music reviews.  He edits the Catholic Herald (a conservative Roman Catholic paper in England) and writes about religion for the Guardian Telegraph.  I think he just decided to write about his preferences in Beethoven sonata cycles.  As Todd pointed out, the piece doesn't demonstrate any great depth of knowledge.

Well, Telegraph has a credibility issue here. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2010, 07:18:07 PM
So Barenboim's EMI set may be the worst in terms of performance?

Without having heard it, I really can't say.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 07:20:02 PM
Without having heard it, I really can't say.

Maybe I will pick up that EMI big box when MDT runs sale on it again ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on January 31, 2010, 07:31:33 PM
Well, Telegraph has a credibility issue here.

Not really, blogs reflect only the opinion of the blogger. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on January 31, 2010, 07:56:31 PM
Not really, blogs reflect only the opinion of the blogger.

I was under the impression it was a column in the Telegraph.  I rarely pay attention to bloggers.  You know, the type of bloggers I dislike the most are those who try to dispense investment advice.  If you follow their advices, there is no limit as to what kind of money you can lose ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on January 31, 2010, 08:20:49 PM
Maybe I will pick up that EMI big box when MDT runs sale on it again ...


Make that the EMI DVD cycle, and you've got his best one.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bunny on January 31, 2010, 11:07:27 PM
I was under the impression it was a column in the Telegraph.  I rarely pay attention to bloggers.  You know, the type of bloggers I dislike the most are those who try to dispense investment advice.  If you follow their advices, there is no limit as to what kind of money you can lose ...

You really have to be soooo careful nowadays!  Most of the columnists/reporters at a newspaper or tv channel website are allowed to have a blog on the media website.  They appear at the site, but they are still blogs. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2010, 06:53:45 AM
So Barenboim's EMI set may be the worst in terms of performance?

No, no...not at all. Some of us quite like it (well, I do anyway).  As a cycle I prefer it (marginally) to George's favorites but I bow to Todd's expertise and his claim that the DVD cycle is Barenboim's best (I haven't heard it). I find most of the EMI performances satisfying but be aware he has a penchant for taking fast movements really fast, slow ones really slow.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2010, 06:58:31 AM
having nothing to add about LvB's 32 (I hardly ever listen to this stuff) I do want to point out this is unfair to the juggling profession. It's jugular.

George and I were discussing a circus performance. What are you talking about?

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 01, 2010, 07:23:04 AM
No, no...not at all. Some of us quite like it (well, I do anyway).  As a cycle I prefer it (marginally) to George's favorites but I bow to Todd's expertise and his claim that the DVD cycle is Barenboim's best (I haven't heard it). I find most of the EMI performances satisfying but be aware he has a penchant for taking fast movements really fast, slow ones really slow.

Sarge

I wasn't aware of that. With the DG I found that the fast movements were often too slow, in fact that was my biggest beef with his Beethoven sonatas. Perhaps I'd like the EMI. OTOH, I'm already up to my ears in Beethoven sonatas, not to mention poor, so I will pass for now.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2010, 08:03:48 AM
I wasn't aware of that. With the DG I found that the fast movements were often too slow, in fact that was my biggest beef with his Beethoven sonatas. Perhaps I'd like the EMI. OTOH, I'm already up to my ears in Beethoven sonatas, not to mention poor, so I will pass for now.

Barenboim's EMI set might be characterized as a young romantic's Beethoven: impetuous, daring fast movements, heavily romanticized slow movements. He was in his mid-twenties when he recorded the cycle. It's not the only way I want to hear Beethoven but I have plenty of antidotes when I need one (Pollini, for example, or Gould when I want to grin  ;D).

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 01, 2010, 08:13:32 PM
Barenboim's EMI set might be characterized as a young romantic's Beethoven: impetuous, daring fast movements, heavily romanticized slow movements.

When you get a chance, can you get me the timings for Op. 2 and Op. 10? I cam curious how they compare to Schnabel's. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2010, 04:27:20 AM
When you get a chance, can you get me the timings for Op. 2 and Op. 10? I cam curious how they compare to Schnabel's.


             I          II       III       IV
2/1     3:48     5:50   4:10   5:04

2/2     7:18    7:29    3:20   6:34

2/3    10:33    9:00   3:01   5:20

10/1    5:59    9:11   4:44

10/2    6:26    4:24   2:12

10/3    7:09   12:01   2:53  3:55


Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 02, 2010, 04:33:59 AM
Thanks Sarge!

Overall, his fast movements are a bit slower there than on his DG set (but pretty close), but the slow movements are also slower on the EMI.

Compared to Schnabel, his fast movements are clearly slower overall, unless Schnabel skips some repeats (I don't think so, though.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on February 02, 2010, 04:36:37 AM
Compared to Schnabel, his fast movements are clearly slower overall, unless Schnabel skips some repeats (I don't think so, though.)

I don't have any Schnabel set on hand for checking, but I was rather certain--barring faulty memory--that he did skip a good number of repeats.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Lilas Pastia on February 02, 2010, 07:25:33 PM
For those interested, the Paul Lewis set on HM is available at BRO for 49.90$
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on February 03, 2010, 12:39:16 AM
I have to say I wasn't at all impressed by Barenboim's DVD cycle. To my ears it's mostly generic with haphazard good moments. Unless found very cheaply (for the included masterclass documentaries), not recommended.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 03, 2010, 01:23:15 AM
I have to say I wasn't at all impressed by Barenboim's DVD cycle. To my ears it's mostly generic with haphazard good moments. Unless found very cheaply (for the included masterclass documentaries), not recommended.

Quite surprised to see a comment like this. I could undertand if someone complained about the mistakes he sometimes made or some of his choices in some of the sontatas. But the whole time I was watching, I always felt I was listening to someone who had really gotten underneath and into the pieces, someone with long experience playing them. I found myself often thinking about them long after I had heard them.  So while I would not choose this as a first choice or the choice if I could only have one, I thought this would make a great supplement (especially if one wanted to watch). Then again, I saw it for free on TV (well, pay cable, so not exactly free either), so maybe my reaction would be different if I shelled out $100 or whatever it costs.

Putting the money aside, I felt there was a lot to be learned and gained here.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 03, 2010, 02:42:31 AM
Those who are curious about the Barenboim EMI set (as I am) can sample the Appassionata first movement here.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8nATAg9NL4&feature=PlayList&p=B7157A43D2AF966C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 03, 2010, 02:55:35 AM
Those who are curious about the Barenboim EMI set (as I am) can sample the Appassionata first movement here.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8nATAg9NL4&feature=PlayList&p=B7157A43D2AF966C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6)

Also, here's the first movement of  Op. 111 by Barenboim. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSIVfnsSOns&feature=related)

And the same by Richter, from his 1963 Leipzig concert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n1KGqfpZiU&feature=related)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Wanderer on February 03, 2010, 03:17:19 AM
...the mistakes he sometimes made or some of his choices in some of the sontatas.

Mistakes I don’t mind so much, after all these are live performances. It’s the interpretations that mostly don't click. Thankfully, I got the set really cheap; it’s good to have around as a visual document and for some occasional good insights he brings to the music; in general, though, this is nowhere near a top cycle in my book.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 03, 2010, 04:16:32 PM
Oh dear, do I really need another one, but how to resist this for just over 35 bucks.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LK3UUwEmL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 03, 2010, 08:56:11 PM
Oh dear, do I really need another one, but how to resist this for just over 35 bucks.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LK3UUwEmL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

A splendid choice. It was something like my 10th set (albeit incomplete), but I did not regret it. My only complaint is that the outer movements tend to be slower than I like. But the slow movements are to die for!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 04, 2010, 08:51:08 AM
Looking forward to it.

What are the best choices for Beethoven Sonatas on Forte-Piano?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on February 04, 2010, 03:46:09 PM
What are the best choices for Beethoven Sonatas on Forte-Piano?

Good question - Ronald Brautigam on BIS is up to Vol. 7 (I believe) - not sure how many more volumes are planned, and of course BIS will eventually put out a 'cheaper' box - could be years?

Not sure if there are other complete sets existing or ongoing on the fortepiano, so will look forward to additional comments -  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 04, 2010, 04:51:43 PM
Brautigam isn't just doing the sonatas, but the complete music for solo piano. There is most probably one more disc left for the sonatas, i.e. vol 8.

I highly recommend these recordings. I'd start with volume 6.

There is also Paul Komen, whom I haven't heard but many people seem to enjoy.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 04, 2010, 04:53:35 PM
Looking forward to it.

What are the best choices for Beethoven Sonatas on Forte-Piano?

I can't say, as they are not my forte.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on February 04, 2010, 08:17:06 PM
What are the best choices for Beethoven Sonatas on Forte-Piano?


There are limited choices if you want to go complete.  Brautigam is almost done and is mixed (at least for me); Paul Badura-Skoda recorded a period cycle, but it's hard to find complete (though single volumes pop up); Malcolm Binns on L'Oiseau Lyre is out there; and Hiroaki Ooi is a newcomer.  For incomplete cycles, Paul Komen's is almost universally lauded.  That's what I will most likely try next in the period arena. 

Alexei Lubimov, Melvyn Tan, Jos van Immerseel, and John Khouri have apparently recorded some as well.  (There are no doubt others.)  I also read that Andrea Lucchesini has perfomed some LvB on period instruments.  I'd like to hear that, on disc or in person.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 04, 2010, 10:36:19 PM
I can't say, as they are not my forte.  8)

Ok - that was funny  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on February 05, 2010, 12:05:10 AM
Malcolm Binns on L'Oiseau Lyre is out there;

I have never seen but the late sonatas on Explore.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2010, 06:45:28 AM
Has anyone here heard this CD -- which contains a recording of Cortot in Op 109 -- a late recording I guess?


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cortot-Plays-Chopin-Liszt-Beethoven/dp/B0000064B5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1265467317&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 06, 2010, 06:52:24 AM
Has anyone here heard this CD -- which contains a recording of Cortot in Op 109 -- a late recording I guess?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cortot-Plays-Chopin-Liszt-Beethoven/dp/B0000064B5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1265467317&sr=1-1

Haven't heard it until today, just listened to the samples of that sonata and it sounds great! I hope that we one day see that rumored set of the 32 Beethoven sonatas by the pianist get released on CD.   :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2010, 10:16:01 AM
Haven't heard it until today, just listened to the samples of that sonata and it sounds great! I hope that we one day see that rumored set of the 32 Beethoven sonatas by the pianist get released on CD.   :-\

Just found out that the 109 is from a piano roll.

Sorry.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on February 06, 2010, 10:40:52 AM
Just found out that the 109 is from a piano roll.

Roll over Beethoven??
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 06, 2010, 12:24:28 PM
Just found out that the 109 is from a piano roll.

Sorry.

Thanks for the warning. I almost bought the CD this morning.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 06, 2010, 02:40:51 PM
I think your a bit too negative Holden. I have the Cd now and I like it a lot -- even the first movement.

But you're right: forward impetus is not his main concern. It's more classical -- stucture and elegance.

Your possibly correct but when you have superb recordings of the Waldstein by Serkin, Gilels (live), Kovacevich, Tomsic and Solomon you can afford to be a little picky. Don't get me wrong, the Cziffra is an excellent performance and I bought it on recommendation and haven't regretted it. It's since been supplanted by the ones I mentioned above.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 06, 2010, 02:43:03 PM
Your possibly correct but when you have superb recordings of the Waldstein by Serkin, Gilels (live), Kovacevich, Tomsic and Solomon you can afford to be a little picky. Don't get me wrong, the Cziffra is an excellent performance and I bought it on recommendation and haven't regretted it. It's since been supplanted by the ones I mentioned above.

Serkin's mono Waldstein is still tops in my book.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 06, 2010, 06:36:17 PM
...and it's probably mine as well....... though Tomsic runs it close.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 06, 2010, 06:54:42 PM
...and it's probably mine as well....... though Tomsic runs it close.

Haven't heard that one. Yet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 06, 2010, 07:03:01 PM
Haven't heard that one. Yet.

Found it on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuz4xLVWa0A

I see what you mean, Holden, it's a great recoridng. But I recall Serkin's performance as being more exciting.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2010, 11:22:06 PM
Found it on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuz4xLVWa0A

I see what you mean, Holden, it's a great recording. But I recall Serkin's performance as being more exciting.

Yes -- but there other ways to play it which sometimes hit the spot with me. That's why I think that the Cziffra recording is so valuable. It does other things with the Waldstein than make it exciting.



Lupu -- he is very good in this. That is maybe my favourite. Well worth trying I would say as you can normally get it for peanuts.

And I like Amir Katz.

But neither Lupu nor Katz are particularly exciting -- they underplay the bravura element of the sonata. And I think that's a jolly good thing.

Serkin's early one  is good -- but the sound is not so good. Schnabel is good too, you know. And so is Pletnev.

Haven't heard Tomsic. Will listen. The clip on youtube sounds like just another Waldstein to me -- but I know not to judge from youtube. The sound syestem on my computer is so poor.

I don't  like Gilels much. Sorry. Not even in the Aix recording.

What do you guys think of Hofmann's Casimir Hall recording? If you think of this as a bravura piece, then I think you will love it.

And another famous one -- Backhaus. He even played it on the last recital disc. Any supporters?

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 07, 2010, 05:59:45 AM
Yes -- but there other ways to play it which sometimes hit the spot with me. That's why I think that the Cziffra recording is so valuable. It does other things with the Waldstein than make it exciting.

I just listened to it and can see why you like it, though I wouldn't count it among my favorites. I like to hear more struggle in the first movement, more mystery in the second and a faster finale.

Quote
Lupu -- he is very good in this. That is maybe my favourite. Well worth trying I would say as you can normally get it for peanuts.
And I like Amir Katz.
But neither Lupu nor Katz are particularly exciting -- they underplay the bravura element of the sonata. And I think that's a jolly good thing.

Haven't heard the Katz, but I own the Lupu. Haven't heard it, as I bought the CD for his Moonlight (which is the best I have heard.) Will put it on and report back later.

Quote
Serkin's early one  is good -- but the sound is not so good. Schnabel is good too, you know. And so is Pletnev.
Haven't heard Tomsic. Will listen. The clip on youtube sounds like just another Waldstein to me -- but I know not to judge from youtube. The sound syestem on my computer is so poor.
I don't  like Gilels much. Sorry. Not even in the Aix recording.
What do you guys think of Hofmann's Casimir Hall recording? If you think of this as a bravura piece, then I think you will love it.

With the Serkin, the strength of the performance made me forget the sound after a few minutes. I had already heard over two dozen Waldsteins, including his stereo performance and wasn't expecting much. I was blown away by his ability to take the excitement up at least a notch above everyone else that I had heard. Then I heard Hofmann's Casimir recording and was again awestruck. Having previously been only somewhat impressed by Hofmann's performances, I couldn't believe that this was the same pianist. I instantly became a fan of his and started collecting everything I could get my hands on by the pianist.

Quote
And another famous one -- Backhaus. He even played it on the last recital disc. Any supporters?

I enjoy his stereo Decca recording, but I think others do better - Schnabel, Horowitz (Sony), Gilels (DG) and Annie Fischer (Hungaroton.) The latter two were my favorites until I heard Serkin and the Casimir Hofmann. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 07, 2010, 06:14:33 AM
Lupu -- he is very good in this. That is maybe my favourite. Well worth trying I would say as you can normally get it for peanuts.

Just listened to the Lupu Waldstein. As expected, his tone is lovely. It's well recorded and he plays with great dynamic contrast and sensitivity. I think this is more successful because unlike Cziffra, he doesn't go for the exciting approach from the very start. The finale still lacks some of the excitement I like to hear in this work, but this is a performance that I will certainly return to. Thanks for the recommendation. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 07, 2010, 08:05:55 AM
I am very ambivalent about Casimir.

I went through a phase of being seriously impressed. Hofmann's like that -- the glitter and virtuosity of it all is so entertaining.

But lately I have changed with the wind. When I listen to that Casimir Hall Beethoven I feel that he has turned the sonata into shallow bravura -- there's no depth of feeling there.

And I wouldn't have kind words to say about the Chopin either. To me his crescendos sound like bluster.

But the wind may change direction again.

BTW I just listened to Backhaus's last Waldstein. Compared with Lupu I thought it was really crude.

And I agree that the Lupu recording is probably more successful than Cziffra. But I like Cziffra partly because it is such a personal and unique reading, and I would say that it bears repeated listenening very well. It's interesting.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 07, 2010, 08:11:19 AM
I am very ambivalent about Casimir.
I went through a phase of being seriously impressed. Hofmann's like that -- the glitter and virtuosity of it all is so entertaining.
But lately I have changed with the wind. When I listen to that Casimir Hall Beethoven I feel that he has turned the sonata into shallow bravura -- there's no depth of feeling there.

I can see what you mean, though I am still happily upwind.  8)

Quote
BTW I just listened to Backhaus's last Waldstien. Compared with Lupu I thought it was really crude.

Talk about a pair of opposites.  :o To me, Backhaus only really sounds good next to his own work. Whenever I have compared him against others, he has never come up in first or even second place. However, I still enjoy his stereo set and recommend it to others. He's just very individual and best enjoyed after just hearing another Backhaus recording IMO.

Quote
And I agree that the Lupu recording is probably more successful than Cziffra. But I like Cziffra partly because it is such a personal and unique reading, and I would say that it bears repeated listenening very well. It's interesting.

I'm sure I'll try out the Cziffra again. I kinda wish he'd at least pretend that those difficult passages were difficult for him.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 08, 2010, 01:55:26 AM
I've just relistened to both the Tomsic and the Serkin and in the end it's the depth of playing in the "Introduzione" and the slightly slower (but no less dramatic) speed of the Serkin Rondo that wins out for me. I've played this piece and while my execution of the prestissimo is just a total mess I enjoy the rest of the work. What appeals to me about Serkin is that he plays at tempos that I would play at. Tomsic is a fraction too fast in the Rondo for my liking but it's still a great exposition of this movement.

I had one Waldstein up my sleeve that I neglected to reveal and it may suit Mandryka. I don't know if it's on YouTube but the Hungerford Op 53 is something quite special.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 08, 2010, 05:39:30 AM
I had one Waldstein up my sleeve that I neglected to reveal and it may suit Mandryka. I don't know if it's on YouTube but the Hungerford Op 53 is something quite special.

Yes, I listened to that one this morning and it is indeed special. Great forward momentum in the first movement, nice stillness in the second and though the finale wasn't as good, it ended quite well.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2010, 10:52:07 AM
Serkin's mono Waldstein is still tops in my book.  :)

Is this the one on the music & arts disc?
http://www.musicandarts.com/CDpages/CD1141hi.html
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 08, 2010, 11:05:04 AM
Is this the one on the music & arts disc?
http://www.musicandarts.com/CDpages/CD1141hi.html

Yes it is. The Sound Quality isn't very good, just so you know.

Archiv Music has it - http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=132112
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2010, 11:15:52 AM
Yes it is. The Sound Quality isn't very good, just so you know.

Archiv Music has it - http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=132112

I don't mind old piano recordings, and I love Serkin. Thanks for the heads up. I will put this in my queue.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 08, 2010, 11:20:19 AM
I don't mind old piano recordings, and I love Serkin. Thanks for the heads up. I will put this in my queue.

Your welcome. I just sent you a personal message.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2010, 11:36:31 AM
Your welcome. I just sent you a personal message.

Replied, joyfully informed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 09, 2010, 10:58:53 PM


I had one Waldstein up my sleeve that I neglected to reveal and it may suit Mandryka. I don't know if it's on YouTube but the Hungerford Op 53 is something quite special.

I will listen.

And one up my sleeve for you. Moiseiwitch's on Naxos.

I enjoy it despite myself. George -- if you think Lupu's tone is lovely, just wait till you hear this.

With pianists of Moiseiwitch's ilk, there's always a danger of being seduced by the ravishing beauty of the tone, and the sparkle. And there is an equal and opposite danger of devaluing it because it is so ravishing (that's a trap I often fall into.)

 But I think that Moiseiwitch is rather more than empty note spinning here. It's full of memorable insights.

BTW you can't but applaud Naxos for their Moiseiwitch series. Some real treasures have become easily and cheaply available as a result of that project.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 10, 2010, 03:54:40 AM
Mandryka - Those Moisewitsch Naxos CDs have been on my MDT wishlist ever since they came out. At some point (likely the next sale at MDT) I will snap some (or all) of them up.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 10, 2010, 08:14:59 AM
Mandryka - Those Moisewitsch Naxos CDs have been on my MDT wishlist ever since they came out. At some point (likely the next sale at MDT) I will snap some (or all) of them up.

He's always outstanding pre-war, and sometimes outstanding after that.

The single best record of his is, I think, the one of Schumann and Brahms on Testament -- I don't know if that stuff has transfered to Naxos or not.

And if you look on rmcr I posted a link recently to his 1939 Chopin Barcarolle, which is quite extraordinary and very hard to find (don't confuse it with his inferior 1941 recording) . Let me know if you can't find the link and you are interested.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on April 27, 2010, 11:53:27 AM
Because there are not enough complete cycles, I started looking for new cycles in progress.  Sure enough I found the following (all on micro-labels):

Irina Mejoueva - now complete, available in Japan

Martin Roscoe - just under way (Volume 1 coming soon)

Per Tengstrand - just under way (Volumes 1 & 2 coming soon)

Mitsutaka Shiraishi - First two volumnes out


Nah, I don't need to hear any of these . . .
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bulldog on April 27, 2010, 12:01:30 PM
Because there are not enough complete cycles, I started looking for new cycles in progress.  Sure enough I found the following (all on micro-labels):

Irina Mejoueva - now complete, available in Japan

Martin Roscoe - just under way (Volume 1 coming soon)

Per Tengstrand - just under way (Volumes 1 & 2 coming soon)

Mitsutaka Shiraishi - First two volumnes out


Nah, I don't need to hear any of these . . .

Same here.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on April 29, 2010, 05:29:30 AM
(http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/t_200/orfeoc808109l.jpg)


Looks like the Andante liner notes to the Gulda set of Schubert, Debussy, et al had it right after all: Friedrich Gulda did record three LvB sonata cycles, and the one that hasn't been released is the earliest, from the early 50s, when Gulda was a very young man.  I don't think this will be as good as his Amadeo cycle since his earlier Decca cycle is not, and most of the other early career recordings I've heard don't quite match the later ones for quality.  But I must have it.  Alas, I must wait for almost a whole month to get it.  Damn.

(Presto Classical already has it listed: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Orfeo/C808109L (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Orfeo/C808109L).)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on September 19, 2010, 03:07:26 PM
Listening to and comparing these two "Pathétiques", about 20 years apart.  I played each movement from each cd, so both firsts, etc.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pGZEgt8vL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
1946
Timings
6:43
5:13
4:36

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LpLmdmiTL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
1962
Timings
8:44
5:35
4:42

Taking into account the added noise on the first, the later recording still had me as I just prefer the slower approach.  Also, on the first third movements of the earlier recording I found Rubinstein's playing a bit too playful for my taste.  Not that he went "honky-tonk" on it, but enough "cuteness" to make me raise an eyebrow and pause while getting my weekly ironing done.

Hmmm....noticed a 1954 recording.  That may be of interest.  Volume 33 on that one, George.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on September 19, 2010, 03:18:40 PM
Ah, what the heck....spinning

Op. 8 No. 13 Op 13 No. 8 ;D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yT9ZERgwL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on September 19, 2010, 03:36:18 PM
Listening to and comparing these two "Pathétiques", about 20 years apart.  I played each movement from each cd, so both firsts, etc.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pGZEgt8vL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
1946
Timings
6:43
5:13
4:36

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LpLmdmiTL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
1962
Timings
8:44
5:35
4:42

Taking into account the added noise on the first, the later recording still had me as I just prefer the slower approach.  Also, on the first third movements of the earlier recording I found Rubinstein's playing a bit too playful for my taste.  Not that he went "honky-tonk" on it, but enough "cuteness" to make me raise an eyebrow and pause while getting my weekly ironing done.

Hmmm....noticed a 1954 recording.  That may be of interest.  Volume 33 on that one, George.

Thanks for that Bill, I would suspect that most of that big difference in the first movement is due to an omitted repeat. At any rate, I have the later one and therefore, I am glad you enjoy it more.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on September 19, 2010, 03:37:00 PM
Ah, what the heck....spinning

Op. 8 No. 13 Op 13 No. 8 ;D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yT9ZERgwL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Now you're cookin'  8)

You got Moravec's Pathetique yet?  $:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 19, 2010, 03:43:19 PM
Now you're cookin'  8)

You got Moravec's Pathetique yet?  $:)

Watch it Bill. George is a cruel man who wants company on the path he's chosen...  >:D 

:)

8)

----------------
Now playing:
Andreas Staier (Fortepiano) & Damiel Sepec (Violin) - Bia 340 2 Op 30 #2 Sonata #7 in c for Keyboard & Violin 4th mvmt - Allegro
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on September 19, 2010, 03:44:57 PM
Watch it Bill. George is a cruel man who wants company on the path he's chosen... 

Call me Roper...

(http://www.la2day.com/files/u201/ThreesCompany03.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on September 19, 2010, 03:49:51 PM
Now you're cookin'  8)

You got Moravec's Pathetique yet?  $:)


Dfifiuclt to tpye and iron at the smae tmie. ;D

Not on cd.  I believe I have it in the "vinyl vault".

Now "Pathétique" a la Schnabel (recorded 1933/34).  Rain just came in so it's adding to the sound....wait.....check that....it's just the Pearl transfer. ;D



Watch it Bill. George is a cruel man who wants company on the path he's chosen...  >:D 

:)

8)

----------------
Now playing:
Andreas Staier (Fortepiano) & Damiel Sepec (Violin) - Bia 340 2 Op 30 #2 Sonata #7 in c for Keyboard & Violin 4th mvmt - Allegro

:D


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on September 19, 2010, 03:52:21 PM
Now "Pathétique" a la Schnabel (recorded 1933/34).  Rain just came in so it s adding to the sound....wait.....check that....it's just the Pearl transfer. ;D

 ;D :D ;D

Oh and Bill, I'm not cruel. If I was, I would have suggested Bernard Roberts's cycle.  0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Gurn Blanston on September 19, 2010, 03:57:46 PM
;D :D ;D

Oh and Bill, I'm not cruel. If I was, I would have suggested Bernard Roberts's cycle.  0:)

Fair enough, your point is made. :D

8)

----------------
Now playing:
Quatuor Mosaiques - D 173 Quartet #9 in g for Strings 3rd mvmt - Allegro vivace
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 22, 2010, 02:35:37 PM
On a whim, I got the El Bacha complete Beethoven from Amazon France (33 euro - you can also get his complete chopin for the same price) and thought he was magnificent.  Someone in this post has called him boring, but I thought he was anything but.  Maybe that was the impression he gave because he has a truly outstanding technique and usually moves along at a flowing tempo, without many heavy accents or pauses.  In other words, he doesn't over-interpret like so many in this field. But when he hits the turbo button he can be breathtaking.
 
Anyway, I think it's an exceptional set.  Got no idea why this guy doesn't have a big name like lots of the pretentious bores play the Beethoven sonatas who do. 

Oh, and the sound is exceptional.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on October 23, 2010, 09:10:05 AM
Got no idea why this guy doesn't have a big name like lots of the pretentious bores play the Beethoven sonatas who do. 

Oh, and the sound is exceptional.



I'm one of those people who think his cycle is boring.  It's just plain bland and mechanical.  You are right, he doesn't over-interpret.  It sounds like he's sight reading most of the time; he doesn't really interpret at all.  The reason he doesn't have a big name is because he's not particularly good.  Out of curiosity, who are the pretentious bores you refer to?

I must also disagree about the sound.  It's mostly mediocre by even 80s standards.  I have no idea how you can say it’s exceptional.  Nakamichi, Lewis, Sherman, Willems, Brautigam (for HIP fans), most of Pommier, now those cycles are in exceptional sound. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bulldog on October 23, 2010, 12:25:17 PM
I'm not familiar with El Bacha's Beethoven, but I am very familiar with his Schumann: lousy piano tone and entirely generic performances.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on October 23, 2010, 12:57:54 PM
one man's meat....... oh well.

I've just received this

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EwrUgM37L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

...and it was not what I expected!!

Previous EG sonata performances I'd heard include the Moscow 1961 of 8, 14, 23, a fantastic Waldstein from 1966, Les Adieux and briefly, the Hammerklavier. I'd been expecting something a bit more bombastic, good solid performances, well interpreted and great to listen to - a la Annie Fischer I suppose.

Well, this is very thoughtful playing indeed. it was evident from the first few bars of Op 2 no 2 and it is endemic throughout the sadly incomplete cycle. I know the LvB PS very well both as a listener and a player and EG had me carefully listening to virtually every bar. This is not because of feats of jaw dropping prestidigitation but the way the work was unfolding, in a completely fresh way, before my ears.

Yes, when he has to Gilels lets her rip, but only when he has to. No unnecessary bravura here. So what stands out? Well, immaculate phrasing for a start and in many cases because he eschews the use of the sustain pedal an incredible clarity of  line and articulation. There are delicately voiced ppps, thunderous fffs and a wide and rich tonal palette. It's made me realise that I had come to have a somewhat monochromatic view of these works and that there is a world beyond Richter (who I love in LvB).

The down side is I now feel obliged to seek out sets I'd avoided such as the mono Kempff who I know has a different interpretative perspective from what I am currently listening to. Maybe Nat, Heidsieck and Frank should be on my list of acquired LvB though I can't imagine them surpassing this set.

I'm giving it the Todd litmus test at the moment - Op 31.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who has this box set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on October 23, 2010, 02:10:37 PM
I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who has this box set.



I have the earlier incarnation, and it is top-flight stuff.  His absolute technical command, and his almost breath-taking dynamic range, make the set indispensible.  His playing is generally slower than I prefer, but that matters not one bit.  He makes the strongest possible case for his approach and for slower tempi. 

Of the other cycles you mention, the one you may want to try first is Heidsieck’s.  His approach is unique, to say the least.  It’s downright idiosyncratic at times, but it always sounds of-the-moment, or close to it, even though Heidsieck obviously put a lot of thought into what he wanted to do.  (The sound is a bit bright and metallic).  Frank is also exceptional, but he’s sterner and less flexible than Heidsieck or Gilels.  Kempff’s mono set is, for me, a must hear.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 23, 2010, 05:10:09 PM

There are limited choices if you want to go complete.  Brautigam is almost done and is mixed (at least for me); Paul Badura-Skoda recorded a period cycle, but it's hard to find complete (though single volumes pop up); Malcolm Binns on L'Oiseau Lyre is out there; and Hiroaki Ooi is a newcomer.  For incomplete cycles, Paul Komen's is almost universally lauded.  That's what I will most likely try next in the period arena. 

Alexei Lubimov, Melvyn Tan, Jos van Immerseel, and John Khouri have apparently recorded some as well.  (There are no doubt others.)  I also read that Andrea Lucchesini has perfomed some LvB on period instruments.  I'd like to hear that, on disc or in person.

I already have 9 complete cycles and I am done.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 24, 2010, 04:55:12 PM
Interesting how Gilels gets to be solid and straightforward (and that's acceptable) because he's a Russian big name - though, quite frankly, his Hammerklavier sends me to sleep (though not as much as Arrau).

El Bacha, on the other hand, is accused of sight-reading.  But I take back what I've said about him being good - if he's sight-reading his way through the hammerklavier, he's a genius.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on October 25, 2010, 01:50:00 AM
Interesting how Gilels gets to be solid and straightforward (and that's acceptable) because he's a Russian big name - though, quite frankly, his Hammerklavier sends me to sleep (though not as much as Arrau).

El Bacha, on the other hand, is accused of sight-reading.  But I take back what I've said about him being good - if he's sight-reading his way through the hammerklavier, he's a genius.

This is an interesting reply from you Fred. At no stage did I suggest that Gilels was solid and straight forward in the Hammerklavier.

Any competent pianist could sight read their way through the Hammerklavier. I believe that Barenboim could do it before he was 13!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on October 25, 2010, 07:03:24 AM
Holden, I have to say that your comments have made me curious to hear Gilels' set in toto. While I have perhaps a third or more of his DGG sonatas, I don't think I've ever heard the "entire" (incomplete) cycle. As a result, I've found myself often doing spin-offs that lead me to prefer his live (or sometimes simply earlier) renditions of various sonatas. The Hammerklavier is a good case in point: to my ears, his Melodiya version trumps the DGG rather handily (this opinion created by an A-B comparison many years back...I think I still have the DGG Hammerklavier on vinyl but not CD). However, you make me wonder if I'd have the same opinion if approaching the performance with my ear attuned to the style he apparently established for his full studio effort.

I'll be interested in hearing your opinion again after you've listened through another time or two (as I'm sure you will).
 ;)

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 07:41:11 AM
I would kill for a complete set of Gilels playing the Beethoven sonatas, ca. 1950. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 25, 2010, 03:18:29 PM
Holden - at the speed Barenboim plays I'm sure he can sight-read everything (he's not a fav either).  But I recently read Kovacevich (who is a fav) saying that it took him two years to learn the hammerklavier and the experience almost drove him to despair.

But I'd be interested to know your comments on Gilel's Hammerklavier.  In the first movement, I keep waiting for lift-off, but all he does is taxi to the runway.   It's as if he's channelling Richter playing Schubert.  What's he up to?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 25, 2010, 05:05:45 PM
El Bacha, on the other hand, is accused of sight-reading.  But I take back what I've said about him being good - if he's sight-reading his way through the hammerklavier, he's a genius.

Fred - you've made 3 posts to this forum and on a very difficult & controversial topic, i.e. the LvB Piano Sonatas, and have come up w/ an apparent recommendation on El Bacha, a performer that I've never heard of until your appearance here?  :-\

Now, I'm not one of the 'experts' here in this repertoire but have own about a half dozen sets of these sonatas - now just have about half of that number, but others here must have a dozen or more - thus my question to you, is how many have your heard, how many do you own currently, and why is El Bacha apparently at the TOP of your list?  Just wondering -  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 25, 2010, 06:06:33 PM


Excellent and fair question:

Complete sets: I own - Lortie (not listened yet); Kovacevich (big fan), Gilels, Fischer, Grinberg (pretty good), fair bit of Arrau, Lewis (a bit too cultured for my liking), Goode (ditto  - but wonderful in places), schiff, wehr (seriously good, and cheap) and several others that don't spring to mind right now.  Got lots of Richter and love him.

I got a bit addicted to the beethoven sonatas at one stage.  So maybe after listening to every man and his dog try to show me how great this music was, I finally appreciated someone who just plays it and lets me be the judge (El Bacha).  I know some people see him as too straightforward - but I prefer to think of him as unaffected and you certainly get to hear every note you pay for. True, he can make it sound a bit easy at times and maybe he should pretend to struggle, even when he isn't.  But, paradoxically, I think there is real energy inside his playing (if you listene) and he isn't afraid to bang away, it's just that when he does, he never sounds harsh.

Anyway, if that doesn't make any sense, it's probably appropriate.  I agree with you totally that when it comes to assessing the Beethoven piano sonatas it's incredibly hard.  There's a set for every stage of your life and every mood you're in.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 06:12:35 PM
I tried to sample some of El Bacha's Beethoven over at youtube and found nothing.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 25, 2010, 06:16:54 PM


Excellent and fair question:

Complete sets: I own - Lortie (not listened yet); Kovacevich (big fan), Gilels, Fischer, Grinberg (pretty good), fair bit of Arrau, Lewis (a bit too cultured for my liking), Goode (ditto  - but wonderful in places), schiff, wehr (seriously good, and cheap) and several others that don't spring to mind right now.  Got lots of Richter and love him.

I got a bit addicted to the beethoven sonatas at one stage.  So maybe after listening to every man and his dog try to show me how great this music was, I finally appreciated someone who just plays it and lets me be the judge (El Bacha).  I know some people see him as too straightforward - but I prefer to think of him as unaffected and you certainly get to hear every note you pay for. True, he can make it sound a bit easy at times and maybe he should pretend to struggle, even when he isn't.  But, paradoxically, I think there is real energy inside his playing (if you listene) and he isn't afraid to bang away, it's just that when he does, he never sounds harsh.

Anyway, if that doesn't make any sense, it's probably appropriate.  I agree with you totally that when it comes to assessing the Beethoven piano sonatas it's incredibly hard.  There's a set for every stage of your life and every mood you're in.

It's a civilized and intelligent response. Additionally, you wrote an excellent line: "... he can make it sound a bit easy at times and maybe he should pretend to struggle, even when he isn't".   :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on October 25, 2010, 06:27:05 PM
Additionally, you wrote an excellent line: "... he can make it sound a bit easy at times and maybe he should pretend to struggle, even when he isn't".   :)

A grammarian would disagree with the "excellent line" evaluation, but I have to admit, I rather like the thought expressed myself.
 ;D

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on October 25, 2010, 06:27:13 PM
It's a civilized and intelligent response. Additionally, you wrote an excellent line: "... he can make it sound a bit easy at times and maybe he should pretend to struggle, even when he isn't".   :)

I used to think playing the notes would be enough.  Then I heard Pommier.  He gave me the deep insight that playing the notes is not enough.   :P
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 25, 2010, 06:30:13 PM
I listened to El Bacha on Amazon France before I bought.  The Australian dollar has been putting on muscle recently (finally) which is one reason why I've been buying Beethoven sets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 06:38:03 PM
I listened to El Bacha on Amazon France before I bought.  The Australian dollar has been putting on muscle recently (finally) which is one reason why I've been buying Beethoven sets.

Thanks, I found some samples at amazon.fr.

Bacha's Beethoven is far too relaxed for me. I like more tension, more excitement in my Beethoven.

I bet the sound is good, though.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 25, 2010, 06:52:46 PM
Sound is excellent.  No tension?  You sure? If tension is "I'm not sure this guy will be able to play this music" then El Bacha doesn't have much tension.  But if tension is "I want to keep listening to this guy and hear what he's got to say" I find plenty of tension.   I just pulled out his disk of the late sonatas.  El Bacha does 109 to 111 in 61 minutes.  Leonskaja does them in 70 minutes; Jerome Rose in 66; Lortie 67.37. So I'm not sure you should call him "relaxed". The guy doesn't dawdle.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on October 25, 2010, 06:57:52 PM
I bet the sound is good, though.


Sound is mediocre.  Taste regarding playing may differ widely, but sonics are a different matter.  There is no way this set can be said to be in particularly good sound.



The guy doesn't dawdle.


If only tempo in itself signified anything.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 07:07:35 PM
Sound is excellent.  No tension?  You sure? If tension is "I'm not sure this guy will be able to play this music" then El Bacha doesn't have much tension.  But if tension is "I want to keep listening to this guy and hear what he's got to say" I find plenty of tension.   I just pulled out his disk of the late sonatas.  El Bacha does 109 to 111 in 61 minutes.  Leonskaja does them in 70 minutes; Jerome Rose in 66; Lortie 67.37. So I'm not sure you should call him "relaxed". The guy doesn't dawdle.

Well, I didn't say no tension, I said "far less tension than I like in Beethoven." Tension to me is a sense of drama, of excitement. Tempo plays a part, but mostly it comes down to style. It isn't dictated by technique, for pianists like Gulda, Richter and Pollini have wonderful technique but also can generate a high level of tension in their playing. Also, by relaxed I meant something similar to lacking tension. I don't mean relaxed = slow, though. I just mean relaxed in the sense that it lacks that nervous energy and urgency that makes Beethoven sonata performances exciting for me. El Bacha is definitely not alone in this, however. I think Gilels is often too relaxed in the outer movements as well. His slow movements are stunning however. I think Kempff is another Beethoven pianist who lacks tension, but he makes up for it in beauty. Goode, Brendel and Silverman are more pianists that come to mind when I think of those who lack drama and excitement. Since I already have all of the above sets, I see no need to get another in this style.   

Examples of pianists who play Beethoven in the way I most enjoy are Rudolf Serkin (mono recordings especially), Josef Hoffman's live Waldstein, Moravec (Pathetique), Richter, Annie Fischer, Gulda and Schnabel.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Philoctetes on October 25, 2010, 07:30:16 PM

Lortie

Loveeeeeeeeeeeeee it.

Such clean and crisp playing. Lightness of touch. Probably my second favorite Beethoven.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 25, 2010, 07:41:28 PM
I could be wrong about the sound, because I haven't really noticed it.

Lortie's box set is out now - got mine from presto classical.

Well, el bacha IS Lortie (though he motors a bit more).

In fact, I just did an A/B of Lortie and El Bacha in last movement 31/3.  Think El Bacha won it by a hair - though I would say that, wouldn't I.  But, God, he makes a gorgeous sound.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 07:41:54 PM
Loveeeeeeeeeeeeee it.

Such clean and crisp playing. Lightness of touch. Probably my second favorite Beethoven.

Who is your first?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Philoctetes on October 25, 2010, 07:42:12 PM
Who is your first?

Kuerti
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 07:43:32 PM
Kuerti

Wow! That took you 18 seconds!  :o

I don't have that set. Someday...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 07:44:23 PM
Loveeeeeeeeeeeeee it.

I was going to argue that you can't hold a silent e, but then I realized it'd be impossible to prove.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 25, 2010, 07:45:02 PM
Isn't Kuerti supposed to be a bit slow??? and hasn't he done a couple???
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Philoctetes on October 25, 2010, 07:45:11 PM
Wow! That took you 18 seconds!  :o

I don't have that set. Someday...

You can get it pretty cheaply from this website:

http://www.jwentworth.com/pianists/anton_kuerti/order.htm
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Philoctetes on October 25, 2010, 07:46:01 PM
Isn't Kuerti supposed to be a bit slow??? and hasn't he done a couple???

I don't know if I would call him slow, but he definitely has very interesting takes on the music, which is really what draws my ear to him.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on October 25, 2010, 07:49:23 PM
I don't have that set. Someday...

... but you must wait at least three months. I'm talking seriously, boy.  >:(
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 25, 2010, 07:54:31 PM
... but you must wait at least three months. I'm talking seriously, boy.  >:(

Totally. I just got the new Gulda and that will keep me busy for at least that long, plus I have to finish listening to my Silverman set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on October 25, 2010, 07:58:49 PM
Isn't Kuerti supposed to be a bit slow??? and hasn't he done a couple???



In the complete cycle Kuerti is generally slow, and at times exceedingly slow, like in 106.  He has recorded only one complete cycle, a one off of Op 28/2 and 106, and then the last five sonatas.  His cycle is his least compelling LvB, with the most recent recordings the best, and his superb concerto cycle.  Better still is him playing Beethoven in recital based on what I heard earlier this year.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on October 26, 2010, 01:15:22 PM
Holden - at the speed Barenboim plays I'm sure he can sight-read everything (he's not a fav either).  But I recently read Kovacevich (who is a fav) saying that it took him two years to learn the hammerklavier and the experience almost drove him to despair.

But I'd be interested to know your comments on Gilel's Hammerklavier.  In the first movement, I keep waiting for lift-off, but all he does is taxi to the runway.   It's as if he's channelling Richter playing Schubert.  What's he up to?

Richter and Gilels are worlds apart in LvB and the Hammerklavier defines this quite well. SR plays with far more bombast than Gilels and this will give the work the 'take-off' that you are talking about. However, the adagio sostenuto is IMO one of the greatest slow movements ever written for the piano and many a performance has foundered on this not inconsiderable 'rock'. Gilels and Richter are like chalk and cheese in this movement. Where Richter is very good, Gilels brings out an atmosphere that is almost 'other worldly' and a portent of what was to come in the Arietta of Op 111.

However, neither performance is my favourite of Op 106. That honour goes to two recordings. One is the justifiably famous Solomon Cutner from the 1950s. The other is by Grigory Sokolov.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 26, 2010, 02:55:58 PM
Haven't heard Cutner.  Totally agree on Sokolov.  Someone I think very good in the hammerklavier is Ursula Oppens - seems to be almost the only non-contemporary recording she's made. I also think Feltsman is magnificent in the last three: haven't heard his hammerklavier though, which has mixed reviews.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 26, 2010, 03:41:48 PM
Haven't heard Cutner.  Totally agree on Sokolov.  Someone I think very good in the hammerklavier is Ursula Oppens - seems to be almost the only non-contemporary recording she's made. I also think Feltsman is magnificent in the last three: haven't heard his hammerklavier though, which has mixed reviews.

My fave Hammerklavier is Pollini's.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on October 26, 2010, 06:04:43 PM
Totally. I just got the new Gulda and that will keep me busy for at least that long, plus I have to finish listening to my Silverman set.

You bought the Silverman set?  He does nothing for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 26, 2010, 06:14:38 PM
You bought the Silverman set?  He does nothing for me.

Yes and so far, me neither.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on October 26, 2010, 08:34:06 PM
Michael Leslie has recently put out an excellent Hammerklavier (really takes no prisoners).  Then I went looking for his other recordings and found out he's past 60 and the Hammerklavier is about it.  It's as if he spent all his life preparing for just one title match, won and then retired.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on October 27, 2010, 12:43:25 AM
My fave Hammerklavier is Pollini's.

I still have not heard the Pollini late LvB set. I must rectify this!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on October 27, 2010, 06:46:06 AM
I still have not heard the Pollini late LvB set. I must rectify this!

Yes, dear. You certainly must.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: david-jw on October 27, 2010, 08:17:00 AM
 +1 for Solomon in the 106, but I would also suggest Arrau's 1960's Hammerklavier recording as exceptionally fine.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on October 30, 2010, 12:09:54 PM
Todd---have you listened to Gulda's mid 50's set recently released on Orfeo? It is tempting.....
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on October 30, 2010, 01:09:07 PM
Todd---have you listened to Gulda's mid 50's set recently released on Orfeo? It is tempting.....

He has. He started a thread on the set on this board.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 30, 2010, 10:53:48 PM
+1 for Solomon in the 106, but I would also suggest Arrau's 1960's Hammerklavier recording as exceptionally fine.

As far as I know Arrau only recorded it once, which is pretty strange. And I agree it's a very good interpretation.

 What I want from a performance of 106 is a sort of gushing multiple  orgasm of ideas. 

For years now, the Op106s I return to the most are Gould's and Yudina's . And more recently I've enjoyed Levy a lot.

Gould's rhythmic sense really works for him in this I think -- he brings such an infectious swing to the music all the musical gestures feel totally natural and fresh and easy and right. And there's a great lyrical feel to it. It sings. (He sings ;))

Yudina is equally creative and spontaneous sounding -- intense and rugged.

And Levy seems to find more ideas here than anyone else -- it's as if every time you listen to him you hear bits of musi, voices, which the others hide.

All three seem totally cool about the long lines, the long filo.

Schnabel's adagio is one of the best things he ever recorded. Shame about the rest of the sonata.

Solomon's  a bit bloodless I think  -- in this as in everything. 

Other ones which I felt very positively about -- but have rarely (if ever) returned to - - are Francois-Frederic Guy's forst recording  and  Paul Lewis's.

I need to listen to Sokolov again in this. And Richter  too.

Listen to this -- it's mad. But who is this guy?
http://www.youtube.com/v/IA2v7ikyuxg


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on October 31, 2010, 12:47:27 PM
Listen to this -- it's mad. But who is this guy?
http://www.youtube.com/v/IA2v7ikyuxg

Hmmm. Beus came into my radar--though only on the periphery, I'm afraid--when a couple of his CDs came into the local library a few months back (less common stuff...Griffes, Bauer, Barber, bit of Scriabin). The most recent addition was on Harmonia Mundi, but not sure if he's signed to that label now. Honestly, I didn't pay that much attention, but based on this wild little outing, I think I'll track those discs down and listen more closely.

I fear I have little to contribute to the Hammerklavier discussion. I have a hard time saying that I even understand, let alone appreciate, the 106. I've always been less impressed than most folks by Solomon's, and I know that the critics have loved it for decades (however, I am a true Solomon fan and I do love his earlier Beethoven sonatas...his Waldstein knocks most other pianists in the dust...so I can hardly concur with your "bit bloodless...in this as in everything" comment). The first pianist to make this sonata even sort of coherent for me was Egon Petri: I have a Columbia Special Products LP and a downloaded transfer of a later Westminster LP, plus I believe there are some live performances floating around. I've paid enough attention to Gilels' versions to know that I prefer his earlier Melodiya. Years ago, I was quite impressed upon first hearing Pollini's DGG and still have the LP set in my collection. And more recently, I too have enjoy listening to Levy. But I also have plenty of other doing the work (including two or more renditions by Richter...so why am I not recalling and gushing over one of his, I ask myself?). Apparently, I am in dire need of an op.106 spin-off session.

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 31, 2010, 01:31:56 PM
Well, I've not reviewed all of the back pages in this thread, but today I was perusing the November-December issue of Fanfare, and a complete Beethoven Piano Sonata cycle was reviewed w/ a rather excellent recommendation:

Andre De Groote - never heard of this performer; according to the review he has also done a complete Brahms cycle - so just curious from our 'experts' here - any comments?   :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IbGJbhAbL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on October 31, 2010, 01:45:13 PM
Andre De Groote - never heard of this performer...any comments?



Not bad: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15357.msg376026.html#msg376026 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15357.msg376026.html#msg376026).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on October 31, 2010, 03:19:27 PM
Charles Rosen's Hammerklavier. Proper tempo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85AMx6OD87A
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on October 31, 2010, 10:43:14 PM
Charles Rosen's Hammerklavier.

He recorded it 3 times. 

I believe that Glen Gould was so impressed by the first that he refused to record the sonata for his Beethoven survey -- he said that he couldn't do better than Rosen. Later on he changed his mind of course.

Does anyone else know this story? I'm sure I read it somewhere but I don't know where. It may be a figment of my imagination.

Proper tempo.

You mean that it's the tempo Beethoven indicated, or that you like it at that tempo?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on November 01, 2010, 01:14:39 AM

I fear I have little to contribute to the Hammerklavier discussion. I have a hard time saying that I even understand, let alone appreciate, the 106. I've always been less impressed than most folks by Solomon's, and I know that the critics have loved it for decades (however, I am a true Solomon fan and I do love his earlier Beethoven sonatas...his Waldstein knocks most other pianists in the dust...so I can hardly concur with your "bit bloodless...in this as in everything" comment). The first pianist to make this sonata even sort of coherent for me was Egon Petri: I have a Columbia Special Products LP and a downloaded transfer of a later Westminster LP, plus I believe there are some live performances floating around. I've paid enough attention to Gilels' versions to know that I prefer his earlier Melodiya. Years ago, I was quite impressed upon first hearing Pollini's DGG and still have the LP set in my collection. And more recently, I too have enjoy listening to Levy. But I also have plenty of other doing the work (including two or more renditions by Richter...so why am I not recalling and gushing over one of his, I ask myself?). Apparently, I am in dire need of an op.106 spin-off session.

Dirk

G'day Dirk. For me Op 106 is the most enigmatic of the LvB sonatas. My first recording of it was actually Solomon on a World Record Club LP which I bought for his accompanying recording of the Pathetigue. Op 13 was what I wanted to listen to and the HK was put on the back burner. I only returned to it when I purchased the Barenboim recording (also on LP) but it was not initially DB who brought it to life for me. I'd had the privilege of hearing Brendel perform this live and I was just blown away. I went out and bought the DB (as Brendel wasn't available) and just loved Barenboim's Adagio.

Since then I've heard many recordings of Op 106. When I returned to Solomon (on CD) I auditioned it at my local record store. I started the audition with the adagio and knew that if I liked the opening two movements I had a winner. The adagio is one of the greatest slow movements ever written for piano IMO. Solomon is somewhat austere in I, playful in II but out of this world in III. The other III that grabbed me when I first heard it was Sokolov's.

III is in my own repertoire and I don't know how the top pianists make it work. It is so long so you have to maintain the tension throughout its entirety. I enjoy playing it but I suspect that if I made a recording of myself I would be very disappointed.

If I had to recommend a recording at this point in time it would be Sokolov.

Do you have Sokolov?

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 01, 2010, 01:45:07 AM
G'day Dirk. For me Op 106 is the most enigmatic of the LvB sonatas. My first recording of it was actually Solomon on a World Record Club LP which I bought for his accompanying recording of the Pathetigue. Op 13 was what I wanted to listen to and the HK was put on the back burner. I only returned to it when I purchased the Barenboim recording (also on LP) but it was not initially DB who brought it to life for me. I'd had the privilege of hearing Brendel perform this live and I was just blown away. I went out and bought the DB (as Brendel wasn't available) and just loved Barenboim's Adagio.

Since then I've heard many recordings of Op 106. When I returned to Solomon (on CD) I auditioned it at my local record store. I started the audition with the adagio and knew that if I liked the opening two movements I had a winner. The adagio is one of the greatest slow movements ever written for piano IMO. Solomon is somewhat austere in I, playful in II but out of this world in III. The other III that grabbed me when I first heard it was Sokolov's.

III is in my own repertoire and I don't know how the top pianists make it work. It is so long so you have to maintain the tension throughout its entirety. I enjoy playing it but I suspect that if I made a recording of myself I would be very disappointed.

If I had to recommend a recording at this point in time it would be Sokolov.

Do you have Sokolov?
Have you heard the Eschenbach on EMI (with 29-32)? He has one of the slowest Adagios I've ever heard (at just over 25 minutes).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on November 01, 2010, 07:31:41 AM
You mean that it's the tempo Beethoven indicated, or that you like it at that tempo?

The youtube video matches the CBS/Sony recording I have, from the set of late sonatas.

I like the tempo because it's an allegro, and closer to what Beethoven indicated, 138 on the half note. Solomon is similar. Gulda and Pollini are even closer. Schnabel comes the closest, at like 136, but makes mistakes.

Unfortunately, Richter, Levy, Gilels, Kempff, etc, for all their other virtues, IMO do the exact wrong thing here and change the feel of the movement to grandness.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: zamyrabyrd on November 01, 2010, 07:54:05 AM
What do y'all think of Op. 110? I don't think I have ever sat down and played that piece to any degree of satisfaction. Here are some of the problems: the extreme range of the first movement, the "Scherzo" in 2 that a teacher said was from a drinking song, how to relate the recitatives to the mournful slow part(s) (partially borrowed from Bach), also NEVER got a right tempo for that, the fugue (not a conventional one for sure) and relating all of the above in the culmination at the end.

Actually, I like the inversion of the fugue in G major, this is the only part that sort of clicked.  I didn't find at least for myself the definitive performance yet.

ZB
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 01, 2010, 08:04:21 AM
What do y'all think of Op. 110?

It's my favorite Beethoven sonata. My favorite performance of it is Serkin's 1960 recording.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on November 01, 2010, 08:15:57 AM
It's my favorite Beethoven sonata. My favorite performance of it is Serkin's 1960 recording.

That's on unreleased studio recordings, correct? I must pick that up, but I keep putting it off because I only really want that recording.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 01, 2010, 08:24:13 AM
That's on unreleased studio recordings, correct? I must pick that up, but I keep putting it off because I only really want that recording.

Yes, it is.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on November 01, 2010, 09:04:18 AM


Not bad: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15357.msg376026.html#msg376026 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15357.msg376026.html#msg376026).

Todd - thanks for the link - I assumed that you had heard this set and should have done a search!   :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Martin Lind on November 02, 2010, 04:13:29 PM
I have heard Schnabel, several times. Awfull sound of course, but interesting and intriguing. Then several performances in the Sony Beethoven box, a cycle, but with differant piano players. Then the Gulda cycle. Not my cup of tea. Some Gilels and Richter. Fine. Serkin for the last piano sonatas. Haven't heard that for a very long time.

In the last weeks I bought the very affordable Brendel box from Brilliant, with Brendels early recordings for Vanguard, Vox and Tournabot. An interesting set and I think these perfomances of the piano sonatas ( 1962 - 1964) are very fine and I enjoy that alot. I don't wether this is the "best" set but these recordings are deeply satisfieing.

Regards
Martin


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on November 02, 2010, 10:38:41 PM
So many Op 110s.

There's a recording by Edwin Fischer which is somehow very fine -- and the piano he uses sounds very beautiful.

Actually a couple of days ago I played Gould's -- the live one from Stockholm -- and I was extremely impressed. He's so "musicical", Gould --  in that Stoclholm concert he totally draws me in, convinces me.

I haven't compared it to the studio one.

Also Arrau's EMI is very special for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: canninator on November 04, 2010, 03:42:51 AM
The Annie Fischer set is kind of pricey so I thought I would buy a Gulda set but there seems to be a few around so I was looking for some clarification.

There is the set on Brilliant
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rxezrqg5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Then there is a set on Decca
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JJPv-iurL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

and this one also
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HJBY61XVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Finally, the amadeo set appears to be pretty cheap on amazon.de
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Q983YGXYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Are these all different versions of the same thing? Are some better remasters than others.

Links are here

Amadeo
http://www.amazon.de/Klaviersonaten-1-32-Gesamtaufnahme-Friedrich-Gulda/dp/B000025NV8/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1288869860&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.de/Klaviersonaten-1-32-Gesamtaufnahme-Friedrich-Gulda/dp/B000025NV8/ref=sr_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1288869860&sr=1-4)

Brilliant
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Sonatas-Complete-Ludwig-van/dp/B000B8WEL4/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_h__1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Sonatas-Complete-Ludwig-van/dp/B000B8WEL4/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_h__1)

Decca sets
http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Sonata-Concerto-Box/dp/B000BQV52A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1288870323&sr=8-1-catcorr (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Sonata-Concerto-Box/dp/B000BQV52A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1288870323&sr=8-1-catcorr)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/GULDA-PLAYS-BEETHOVEN-CONCERTOS-1968-1973/dp/B00004SA9B/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1288870417&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/GULDA-PLAYS-BEETHOVEN-CONCERTOS-1968-1973/dp/B00004SA9B/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1288870417&sr=1-1)

Any guidance here greatly appreciated.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 03:44:45 AM
I think they might be the same thing, but I know for sure that the first two and the last one are all the same performance, just with different mastering.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 04, 2010, 04:08:55 AM
I think they might be the same thing, but I know for sure that the first two and the last one are all the same performance, just with different mastering.
Those are all the same. The most recent release (from 1953-54), on Orfeo, came out just this year. The third set is on Decca from the 50's.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: canninator on November 04, 2010, 04:40:04 AM
Those are all the same. The most recent release (from 1953-54), on Orfeo, came out just this year. The third set is on Decca from the 50's.

I thought the brilliant set was the '67 cycle remastered from the amadeo? That would make sense if the amadeo is so cheap as it apparently has reverb added. Then the other two sets are the 50's cycle.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 04:41:03 AM
Those are all the same. The most recent release (from 1953-54), on Orfeo, came out just this year. The third set is on Decca from the 50's.

OK, thanks. It's worth noting that the Orfeo was his first set of the sonatas, with the Amadeo/Brilliant being his third. The second one was on Original Masters Decca.

I agree with Todd that the Amadeo/Brilliant is his best set. Luckily, it is also the cheapest and the easiest to find. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 04:43:58 AM
I thought the brilliant set was the '67 cycle remastered from the amadeo?

Those two are different masterings of the same performances.

Quote
That would make sense if the amadeo is so cheap as it apparently has reverb added. Then the other two sets are the 50's cycle.

No, the other two are the same performances, just reissued and likely remastered.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 04, 2010, 05:02:36 AM
I thought the brilliant set was the '67 cycle remastered from the amadeo? That would make sense if the amadeo is so cheap as it apparently has reverb added. Then the other two sets are the 50's cycle.
It is confusing. Why that one set has been licensed and re-licensed, I don't know. All four that you posted though, these are all the same recording.

The two I was referring to were these:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ICOVOqB1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21Xt6oI7PhL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

And here is a link you may find useful (by our very own Jens - maybe he knows the history better than I do): http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/June09/Beethoven_piano_cycles2.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/June09/Beethoven_piano_cycles2.htm)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 05:19:17 AM
Indeed it is confusing. All four posted by Furioso are the third (last) complete cycle by Gulda.

This one is the second complete set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ICOVOqB1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

And this one is the first:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21Xt6oI7PhL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 05:21:50 AM
It is confusing. Why that one set has been licensed and re-licensed, I don't know.

I could gue$$.

;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: canninator on November 04, 2010, 05:22:13 AM
Indeed it is confusing. All four posted by Furioso are the third (last) complete cycle by Gulda.

Okay, I got there in the end  :D

So is the Brilliant set is generally considered to be the best mastering of that cycle? How does the playing compare to the first and second cycles?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: canninator on November 04, 2010, 05:34:28 AM
And here is a link you may find useful (by our very own Jens - maybe he knows the history better than I do): http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/June09/Beethoven_piano_cycles2.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/June09/Beethoven_piano_cycles2.htm)

That was a really useful link thanks. Now I've decided I want the Kempff II, BackhausII , Arrau I, and Gulda II so maybe I shouldn't thank you that much  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 05:40:26 AM
That was a really useful link thanks. Now I've decided I want the Kempff II, BackhausII , Arrau I, and Gulda II so maybe I shouldn't thank you that much  ;)

Just so you know, that survey by Jens isn't up to date, as his Gulda II is actually Gulda III.

Since he did that survey the Orfeo (Gulda I) has been released.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 04, 2010, 06:00:07 AM
Okay, I got there in the end  :D

So is the Brilliant set is generally considered to be the best mastering of that cycle? How does the playing compare to the first and second cycles?
Not having heard all the different masterings, I don't know. But I would choose from Decca Eloquence or Brilliant sets (as the most recent and remastered). I would imagine they are fine (and quick check on the clips will confirm for you). Perhaps someone who has heard more than one will be able to better guide you.

I don't really know the different Gulda's well enough to pick between them (especially the newest on Orfeo, which I haven't heard).

EDIT: I see that Sarge just posted a listen to the Decca version of the remastering in the listening thread - he may know more.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 06:21:38 AM
So is the Brilliant set is generally considered to be the best mastering of that cycle? How does the playing compare to the first and second cycles?

The playing on the Brilliant/Amadeo set is better than the first cycle. I will add that the sound is better on the Brilliant/Amadeo too. I should also say that the style is not very different. I haven't heard the second one (Original Masters,) but since the other two are so close, I may not bother with it.

Whether the Brilliant is the best mastering, I am not sure, as I have not heard the Amadeo. The sound on the Brilliant is perfectly fine, though and certainly better than the Orfeo.     
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 04, 2010, 07:26:09 AM
Just so you know, that survey by Jens isn't up to date, as his Gulda II is actually Gulda III.

Since he did that survey the Orfeo (Gulda I) has been released.

I will call it: "Gulda 0" :-)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 04, 2010, 07:39:25 AM
I will call it: "Gulda 0" :-)

Clever. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: canninator on November 04, 2010, 12:18:03 PM
Thanks George, ukrneal for your advice and jlaurson for the excellent site.

I went with Backhaus II and supplemented that with the DG 2CD set of the Pollini late sonatas. The Backhaus seems to be a good match for my musical personality and the Pollini seemed to good to pass up given that the only reservations in the Backhaus appear to be in the late sonatas.

Strange that I've never bought a complete cycle given the amount of classical period stuff I have for guitar.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 04, 2010, 02:11:34 PM
Thanks George, ukrneal for your advice and jlaurson for the excellent site.

I went with Backhaus II and supplemented that with the DG 2CD set of the Pollini late sonatas. The Backhaus seems to be a good match for my musical personality and the Pollini seemed to good to pass up given that the only reservations in the Backhaus appear to be in the late sonatas.

Strange that I've never bought a complete cycle given the amount of classical period stuff I have for guitar.
Congratulations! Hope you enjoy them.  I like the Pollini as well - you always feel that you are in the presence of someone who has given them a lot of thought. Of course, there are lots of good versions these days. Don't forget to report back - very interested in your reaction.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on November 04, 2010, 04:09:35 PM
Thanks George, ukrneal for your advice and jlaurson for the excellent site.

I went with Backhaus II and supplemented that with the DG 2CD set of the Pollini late sonatas. The Backhaus seems to be a good match for my musical personality and the Pollini seemed to good to pass up given that the only reservations in the Backhaus appear to be in the late sonatas.

Strange that I've never bought a complete cycle given the amount of classical period stuff I have for guitar.

Good choices. If someone pried all but two sets of LvB from my dead, cold hands, those would be the ones that remain.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on November 15, 2010, 11:37:33 AM
Looks like a couple more cycles are either now or soon to be available in affordable boxes:

First is Louie Lortie.  I didn't know he finished the cycle.  Looks like I'll be buying this soon, as in today or tomorrow.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61BA7K5UAML._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


The other is by one Peter Takacs, a name new to me.  It comes out in January.  Should I buy, I wonder?


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KKpV3ZaLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on November 22, 2010, 04:09:12 PM
Looks like a couple more cycles are either now or soon to be available in affordable boxes:

First is Louie Lortie.  I didn't know he finished the cycle.  Looks like I'll be buying this soon, as in today or tomorrow.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61BA7K5UAML._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Todd - will be interested in your comments on the Lortie cycle - just read Scott Morrison's review on Amazon HERE (http://www.amazon.com/Louis-Lortie-Complete-Beethoven-Sonatas/dp/B0040MF1XK/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1290470092&sr=1-1) - he gave the box a 4*/5 rating w/ some reservations regarding the different recording periods, and also the opinion that this would not be a first choice.  I've enjoyed Lortie in other performances, esp. of the French composers, so will be curious of the thoughts of our LvB experts here -  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 22, 2010, 10:36:05 PM
Todd - will be interested in your comments on the Lortie cycle - just read Scott Morrison's review on Amazon HERE (http://www.amazon.com/Louis-Lortie-Complete-Beethoven-Sonatas/dp/B0040MF1XK/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1290470092&sr=1-1) - he gave the box a 4*/5 rating w/ some reservations regarding the different recording periods, and also the opinion that this would not be a first choice.  I've enjoyed Lortie in other performances, esp. of the French composers, so will be curious of the thoughts of our LvB experts here -  :D
I'm interested as well, especially as I have a disc of Lortie playing various variations for piano, and they are quite good.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on November 23, 2010, 07:32:58 PM
I hadn't listened to Annie Fischer's sonata set for awhile, so over the last week I did.  It was triggered by watching her fantastic performance of the Emperor concerto on youtube. As always, I am amazed by the quality and depth of her playing in the sonatas. For me it is the most consistent of all the Beethoven sonata sets I have heard. What a great musician. By the way, Amazon U.S. lists the box set for $18--obviously a misprint for this very expensive set, but might be worth a try to see if you could get it for that! :)   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on November 23, 2010, 08:04:15 PM
I hadn't listened to Annie Fischer's sonata set for awhile, so over the last week I did.  It was triggered by watching her fantastic performance of the Emperor concerto on youtube. As always, I am amazed by the quality and depth of her playing in the sonatas. For me it is the most consistent of all the Beethoven sonata sets I have heard. What a great musician. By the way, Amazon U.S. lists the box set for $18--obviously a misprint for this very expensive set, but might be worth a try to see if you could get it for that! :)   

Good lord. For that price, I'd consider getting a second copy.
 :o

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 23, 2010, 08:08:13 PM
Good lord. For that price, I'd consider getting a second copy.
 :o

Dirk

...they'd make nice stocking stuffers.   0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on November 23, 2010, 08:17:31 PM
I hadn't listened to Annie Fischer's sonata set for awhile, so over the last week I did.  It was triggered by watching her fantastic performance of the Emperor concerto on youtube. As always, I am amazed by the quality and depth of her playing in the sonatas. For me it is the most consistent of all the Beethoven sonata sets I have heard. What a great musician. By the way, Amazon U.S. lists the box set for $18--obviously a misprint for this very expensive set, but might be worth a try to see if you could get it for that! :)   

But Amazon reserves the right to cancel an order after the recording in question is not available for a period of time.  That happened to me once before.  So until one receives the email saying the order has been shipped, nothing can be taken for granted ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 23, 2010, 10:34:37 PM
I hadn't listened to Annie Fischer's sonata set for awhile, so over the last week I did.  It was triggered by watching her fantastic performance of the Emperor concerto on youtube. As always, I am amazed by the quality and depth of her playing in the sonatas. For me it is the most consistent of all the Beethoven sonata sets I have heard. What a great musician. By the way, Amazon U.S. lists the box set for $18--obviously a misprint for this very expensive set, but might be worth a try to see if you could get it for that! :)   
Appears to be up to $52, which is still a good price for this set. I've rarely seen it below $100! But it is out of stock, so who knows...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on November 28, 2010, 12:17:31 PM
Looks like Garrick Ohlsson's cycle will have the final volume released next month.  I'm thinking I may wait for the inevitable box set to come out before I buy. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Philoctetes on November 29, 2010, 08:24:55 AM
Looks like Garrick Ohlsson's cycle will have the final volume released next month.  I'm thinking I may wait for the inevitable box set to come out before I buy.

I'm sure you'll end up purchasing it anyway, but I've been, personally, underwhelmed by Ohlsson's playing. (But I also don't really know the works, as you do, so I could be missing something or a lot.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on November 30, 2010, 12:32:07 PM
I just ordered the "new" budget ($27 from Amazon) release by Musical Concepts of the Schnabel box set of sonatas. My experience with Musical Concepts/Alto has been very positive in terms of remastering. Since I hadn't ever replaced my lp set of the Schnabel I think this might be the time. I'll report on them in a few weeks.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: The new erato on November 30, 2010, 02:04:40 PM
Since I hadn't ever replaced my lp set of the Schnabel I think this might be the time.

Yep. Oldnslow seems just about the right moniker.  :D

Welcome BTW.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on November 30, 2010, 04:26:59 PM
I just ordered the "new" budget ($27 from Amazon) release by Musical Concepts of the Schnabel box set of sonatas. My experience with Musical Concepts/Alto has been very positive in terms of remastering. Since I hadn't ever replaced my lp set of the Schnabel I think this might be the time. I'll report on them in a few weeks.

It seems there are 30 sec samples on Napster

http://music.napster.com/artur-schnabel-music/album/beethoven%3A-complete-piano-sonatas/14001128

Although given the price, perhaps the recordings are mixed up from the emi release.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on November 30, 2010, 07:21:40 PM
Thanks. The samples don't sound half bad. I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with Mr. Schnabel and Beethoven........
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on November 30, 2010, 07:28:45 PM
Thanks. The samples don't sound half bad. I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with Mr. Schnabel and Beethoven........

I am not sure if I posted this here, but I have uploaded 60 second samples of 5 different CD transfers (EMI, Pearl, Naxos, Nuovo Era and Dante) from the central movement of the Moonlight Sonata here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?lvppl6vj4omdj
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on November 30, 2010, 09:20:06 PM
I am not sure if I posted this here, but I have uploaded 60 second samples of 5 different CD transfers (EMI, Pearl, Naxos, Nuovo Era and Dante) from the central movement of the Moonlight Sonata here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?lvppl6vj4omdj

Thanks for that, great to hear. I wonder if the pearl will ever be rereleased. Utterly ridiculous that in our age of digital media, one cannot acquire recordings through an online store. Instead, we have to take out a loan to acquire the out of print cds. 

I hope someone eventually posts it on demonoid. There, I said it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on December 01, 2010, 02:44:56 PM
Thanks. What are your impressions, if you have heard them, of Schnabel's collection of Schubert recordings on Music and Arts?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 01, 2010, 03:23:37 PM
Thanks. What are your impressions, if you have heard them, of Schnabel's collection of Schubert recordings on Music and Arts?

I haven't really digested it yet, but the mastering is superb. What I have heard I have enjoyed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on December 01, 2010, 11:00:34 PM
I just ordered the "new" budget ($27 from Amazon) release by Musical Concepts of the Schnabel box set of sonatas. My experience with Musical Concepts/Alto has been very positive in terms of remastering. Since I hadn't ever replaced my lp set of the Schnabel I think this might be the time. I'll report on them in a few weeks.

I would welcome a modern remastering!  :) Does Musical Concepts/Alto by your knowledge transfers from 78 rpm? Because if not, most likely and common transfers around are from the LP reissue that must have run out of copyright in Europe.

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 02, 2010, 04:40:59 AM
I would welcome a modern remastering!  :) Does Musical Concepts/Alto by your knowledge transfers from 78 rpm? Because if not, most likely and common transfers around are from the LP reissue that must have run out of copyright in Europe.

Q

The Richter material that first appeared on Olympia and then was licensed by Regis has now been licensed again by Alto. I don't think that Alto does their own transfers.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on December 02, 2010, 07:00:32 AM
The Richter material that first appeared on Olympia and then was licensed by Regis has now been licensed again by Alto. I don't think that Alto does their own transfers.

I have two CDs from Alto;  both state they were remastered by Paul Arden-Taylor.  One is a Shostakovich recording (VC 2, with Oistrakh, paired with Symphony 15; Kondrashin conducting the Moscow Philharmonic in both works) that was apparently licensed from somewhere in Eastern Europe;  the other (Brendel playing Mozart PCs 17 and 27--originally a Vox recording)  says:
remastered from analogue by Classic Sound, New York
Re-compiled/re-mastered for alto by Paul Arden-Taylor

SQ on the Mozart is fine; SQ on the Shostakovich is not so fine, especially on the violin concerto--although I think the fault there was in the original tapes, since it sounds as if all the mikes were placed close to the soloist, and the orchestra then placed on the opposite side of the room.   Even with the bad SQ, it's still an interesting recording, and since it was recorded in 1967--meaning at the same time or within a few weeks of the work's premiere--is probably the concerto's earliest recording.

The Shostakovich CD, btw, gives an URL for Arden-Taylor: www.dinmore-records.co.uk
ETA:  Ah, having checked the Dinmore site--it's a very small English label, for which he records as performer on the oboe and recorder;  audio engineering is a recent avocation.
Dinmore itself apparently has no connection to alto.
ETA 2: Listening to the Shostakovich concerto now.  SQ is better than I remembered it being.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 02, 2010, 07:42:05 AM
I would welcome a modern remastering!  :)

Have you heard the Naxos?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on December 03, 2010, 03:02:18 PM
The Schanbel set from Musical Concepts arrived today. They are apparantly a reissue from Nuova Era, and do use the Cedar system. In any event, they sound fine to me--very clear and for the age of the recordings I have no complaints. It is very nice to hear these great performances again.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on December 03, 2010, 08:43:31 PM
The Schanbel set from Musical Concepts arrived today. They are apparantly a reissue from Nuova Era, and do use the Cedar system. In any event, they sound fine to me--very clear and for the age of the recordings I have no complaints. It is very nice to hear these great performances again.

I am perfectly happy with my Schnabel's Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas on Naxos Historical ...   ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on December 06, 2010, 03:08:15 PM
OK, kids and kiddies who are lovers of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, I have a little question for you. Since Beethoven wrote 32 sonatas, and I'd argue that at least 30 of them are either masterpieces or near masterpieces (excluding Op.49, which he might not have even wanted published), which three contiguous sonatas (either under a single opus number or three consecutive opus numbers) are your favorites and why?  I suspect many folks might choose Opus 53-57 or Opus 109-111, but I would choose Opus 31. These sonatas are all brilliant, have great variety melodically and rhythmically, and  convey many emotions, from joy, to humor, to pathos, and I never get tired of listening to them. What say you?   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on December 06, 2010, 04:14:06 PM
but I would choose Opus 31. These sonatas are all brilliant, have great variety melodically and rhythmically, and  convey many emotions, from joy, to humor, to pathos, and I never get tired of listening to them.



Op 31 for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on December 06, 2010, 04:29:14 PM
Op. 109-111
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 06, 2010, 09:22:47 PM
Apologies if this has been mentioned already (long thread) but has anybody been keeping up with the David Allen Wehr yet-to-be-completed cycle on Connoisseur Society? (http://www.connoisseursociety.com/excerpt.htm)

Judging by CS's samples this is some major piano playing here (especially the late sonatas)!

 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 06, 2010, 10:40:14 PM
OK, kids and kiddies who are lovers of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, I have a little question for you. Since Beethoven wrote 32 sonatas, and I'd argue that at least 30 of them are either masterpieces or near masterpieces (excluding Op.49, which he might not have even wanted published), which three contiguous sonatas (either under a single opus number or three consecutive opus numbers) are your favorites and why?  I suspect many folks might choose Opus 53-57 or Opus 109-111, but I would choose Opus 31. These sonatas are all brilliant, have great variety melodically and rhythmically, and  convey many emotions, from joy, to humor, to pathos, and I never get tired of listening to them. What say you?
This is not an uninteresting question, just not sure this is the place to ask it. If you allow it, I would pick 106, 109, 110. I think.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on December 06, 2010, 11:38:14 PM
13, 14, 15
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 06, 2010, 11:41:09 PM
Apologies if this has been mentioned already (long thread) but has anybody been keeping up with the David Allen Wehr yet-to-be-completed cycle on Connoisseur Society? (http://www.connoisseursociety.com/excerpt.htm)

Judging by CS's samples this is some major piano playing here (especially the late sonatas)!
Interesting  - as I had never heard of these before. I believe, however, that it is completed. I counted 32 and one of the reviews of #4 refers to it as the final volume. Thanks for mentioning these and I hope someone will comment on them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 07, 2010, 03:57:47 AM
Apologies if this has been mentioned already (long thread) but has anybody been keeping up with the David Allen Wehr yet-to-be-completed cycle on Connoisseur Society? (http://www.connoisseursociety.com/excerpt.htm)

Judging by CS's samples this is some major piano playing here (especially the late sonatas)!

"yet to be completed"? ? ? I have the complete cycle, and had it for some time.

See also: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 07, 2010, 04:36:04 AM
"yet to be completed"? ? ? I have the complete cycle, and had it for some time.

See also: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html)
What did you think of it? I'd be particularly interested in volume 4.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 07, 2010, 06:16:53 AM
I believe, however, that it is completed. I counted 32 and one of the reviews of #4 refers to it as the final volume.

Ah, sleepy/late night posting led to negligence. :-X

 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 07, 2010, 06:19:43 AM
"yet to be completed"? ? ? I have the complete cycle, and had it for some time.

See also: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html)

Okay, Einstein. So tell us what you think of it!

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on December 07, 2010, 06:30:46 AM
Okay, Einstein. So tell us what you think of it!

First (and only) impression was favorable (but hey, it's Beethoven, after all)... but no particular opinion about it yet. I'll pop in volume 4 this week and report back.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on December 11, 2010, 04:16:56 PM
It was fun listening to the "new"Schnabel set on Musical Concepts. Basically pretty good sound considering the source material (some slight pitch issues but nothing major, and a couple of very brief moments of drop outs/distortion). Well worth the minimal outlay for this classic set. I was reminded of the swift tempos Schnabel chose, most of which work very well (the exception being the first movement of Op.106, which is simply too fast). Listening again to this set it is hard to overestimate the influence these performances must have had on other musicians. I expect what we take for granted in Beethoven playing today hardly existed before Schnabel, at least with regard to what would have then been  the lesser known works. Next it is on to the concertos (with Sargeant on Naxos, and the 4th and 5th Schnabel recorded with Stock in Chicago in 1942.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on December 20, 2010, 09:16:43 AM
After seeing mention here I checked out samples of Brautigam's recording of the Hammerklavier on fortepiano.  I am intrigued.  (The sample gives a good impression of the sound of the instrument, obviously the performance cannot be judged without hearing the thing in its entirety.)  In any case, I've put in an order for volumes 7 and 8, which cover the late sonatas.  The claim that the late sonatas demand the modern piano can be questioned, I think.  I tend to find the sound of the piano too big, rather than not big enough, in recordings of those works.  Maybe Beethoven wouldn't have demanded all that banging if he had an instrument that could produce a stronger sound.  The more intimate sound of the forte-piano might be just the thing!  (runs away)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 20, 2010, 09:23:35 AM
After seeing mention here I checked out samples of Brautigam's recording of the Hammerklavier on fortepiano.  I am intrigued.  (The sample gives a good impression of the sound of the instrument, obviously the performance cannot be judged without hearing the thing in its entirety.)  In any case, I've put in an order for volumes 7 and 8, which cover the late sonatas.  The claim that the late sonatas demand the modern piano can be questioned, I think.  I tend to find the sound of the piano too big, rather than not big enough, in recordings of those works.  Maybe Beethoven wouldn't have demanded all that banging if he had an instrument that could produce a stronger sound.  The more intimate sound of the forte-piano might be just the thing!  (runs away)
I have to admit that I also listened to some of the samples and was intrigued as well. I'll be interested to hear what you think.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on December 20, 2010, 09:24:18 AM
After seeing mention here I checked out samples of Brautigam's recording of the Hammerklavier on fortepiano.  I am intrigued.  (The sample gives a good impression of the sound of the instrument, obviously the performance cannot be judged without hearing the thing in its entirety.)  In any case, I've put in an order for volumes 7 and 8, which cover the late sonatas.  The claim that the late sonatas demand the modern piano can be questioned, I think.  I tend to find the sound of the piano too big, rather than not big enough, in recordings of those works.  Maybe Beethoven wouldn't have demanded all that banging if he had an instrument that could produce a stronger sound.  The more intimate sound of the forte-piano might be just the thing!  (runs away)

No need to run!  ;D 8)

As for the late sonatas on fortepiano Paul Komen's recordings on Globe (unfortunately an as yet incomplete cycle) are worth your investigation.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510sHpkgg1L._SS500_.jpg)

SAMPLES (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002OBLB0Q/sr=1-1/qid=1292865713/ref=sr_1_1_digr?ie=UTF8&qid=1292865713&sr=1-1)

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on January 23, 2011, 11:58:41 AM
Are these three that are on this set:



Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor ("Appassionata"), Op. 57

the same as the recordings on this set:


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on January 23, 2011, 02:01:34 PM
Recently listened to No 32, Op 111 by Lortie



I've always enjoyed the first movement, but I think this is the first time I have really appreciated the second movement variations.  I enjoy Lortie's way with the music, but the point is I decided that I would listen to the piece over and over until I figured it out, and it worked.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: RJR on January 23, 2011, 03:45:20 PM
OK, kids and kiddies who are lovers of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas, I have a little question for you. Since Beethoven wrote 32 sonatas, and I'd argue that at least 30 of them are either masterpieces or near masterpieces (excluding Op.49, which he might not have even wanted published), which three contiguous sonatas (either under a single opus number or three consecutive opus numbers) are your favorites and why?  I suspect many folks might choose Opus 53-57 or Opus 109-111, but I would choose Opus 31. These sonatas are all brilliant, have great variety melodically and rhythmically, and  convey many emotions, from joy, to humor, to pathos, and I never get tired of listening to them. What say you?

Love the Opus 10s as well. In fact, my first purchase ever was Wilhelm Kempff's stereo recording of those works. I bought them by mistake. I was looking for the first Barenboim  recording of the Hammerklavier (Op. 106) and the Kempff front cover said klaviersonaten. So I figured that was what I was looking for. Rookie mistake.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: RJR on January 23, 2011, 03:46:39 PM
Opus 10 for me. My first classical record purchase. Wilhelm Kempff. Still have it 43 years later.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 25, 2011, 07:44:47 PM
Are these three that are on this set:



Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor ("Appassionata"), Op. 57

the same as the recordings on this set:



No. The former were all from 1955, while the latter were recorded in 1953, 56 and 51.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on January 25, 2011, 08:10:49 PM
No. The former were all from 1955, while the latter were recorded in 1953, 56 and 51.

Wow!  This is interesting.  thanks, buddy.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 25, 2011, 08:11:21 PM
Wow!  This is interesting.  thanks, buddy.

You're welcome!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: RJR on January 28, 2011, 07:40:01 PM
I have a potential remedy for those of you who are bothered by too much hiss and surface noise on old recordings: transfer the cds to VCR Hi-Fi tapes. Six hours or two hours, your choice. It's not 100 percent but it will help.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on January 29, 2011, 04:43:12 AM
I hope you won't find much in the way of hiss and crackle on my transcriptions of  the Artur Schnabel cycle (in the early stages, Two Volumes only made public, I do have the complete 12 Album set) which you will find on
www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 29, 2011, 04:47:53 AM
I hope you won't find much in the way of hiss and crackle on my transcriptions of  the Artur Schnabel cycle (in the early stages, Two Volumes only made public, I do have the complete 12 Album set) which you will find on
www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk

True, but as is the case with transfers of 78s that opt for little or no hiss, the piano tone suffers, resulting in a muffled sound in the upper frequencies.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 29, 2011, 05:21:14 AM
....which three contiguous sonatas (either under a single opus number or three consecutive opus numbers) are your favorites and why

Op.10/3 (because of the gorgeous Largo), op.13 (because it's my favorite Beethoven sonata) and op.14/1....because it comes next  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on January 29, 2011, 08:39:43 AM
I hope, George, that you will give my Schnabel efforts a considered listening, especially for that muffled tone.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 29, 2011, 08:51:38 AM
I hope, George, that you will give my Schnabel efforts a considered listening, especially for that muffled tone.

Earlier, I listened to the entirety of the first movement through decent headphones. Other than the upper frequencies, which are muffled compared to the Naxos and Pearl transfers of these performances, I think the sound is excellent. However, for me the those upper frequencies are very important to the overall sound picture, especially with piano recordings. I'd rather have more noise and more of those upper frequencies.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on January 29, 2011, 10:07:17 AM
Thank you, George. I'll see what I can do with the next Volume.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 29, 2011, 10:09:58 AM
Thank you, George. I'll see what I can do with the next Volume.

I'd love to hear it.  :)

I have uploaded 60 second samples of the Schnabel Beethoven from 5 different transfers here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?lvppl6vj4omdj
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on January 31, 2011, 11:33:36 AM
Well, MediaFire, hey! that was an experience. Intrusive ads, surplus screens appearing, pop-up blocking all the time but at last the five samples were downloaded. Has anybody else listened? First response was that Dante, EMI and Nuovo Era were acceptable but the noise on Naxos and Pearl was too intrusive without any obvious benefit in brilliance of the sound. I then put the first two and a half seconds of each sample through a noise-reduction sampler which sums the frequency content of the music. The acceptable three gave a graph with intensity falling steadily with increasing frequency as you would expect all music to do. The Naxos plot showed more (!) noise at the very highest frequencies than at lower but still high frequencies. The Pearl showed the noise/music content rising instead of falling at a highish frequency. not what you'd expect. Listening more extensively you become aware of a whooshing in the background of the Nuovo Era take. The EMI seems to be better balanced with a warmer bass as you would expect (they should know what equalisation was used) however this brings with it more bass content to the background. Dante was also well-balanced. My thanks to George for his contribution to my education.  What did I do next?, well just a suggestion, but I went to my site
                                                www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk
                                                                            (forgive the reminder) and put on Sonata No.4 in E flat major. The graph for this gave the same pattern as the three similar ones above. No offence taken if it doesn't appeal!
                                   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on January 31, 2011, 11:38:08 AM
Well, MediaFire, hey! that was an experience. Intrusive ads, surplus screens appearing, pop-up blocking all the time but at last the five samples were downloaded. Has anybody else listened? First response was that Dante, EMI and Nuovo Era were acceptable but the noise on Naxos and Pearl was too intrusive without any obvious benefit in brilliance of the sound. I then put the first two and a half seconds of each sample through a noise-reduction sampler which sums the frequency content of the music. The acceptable three gave a graph with intensity falling steadily with increasing frequency as you would expect all music to do. The Naxos plot showed more (!) noise at the very highest frequencies than at lower but still high frequencies. The Pearl showed the noise/music content rising instead of falling at a highish frequency. not what you'd expect. Listening more extensively you become aware of a whooshing in the background of the Nuovo Era take. The EMI seems to be better balanced with a warmer bass as you would expect (they should know what equalisation was used) however this brings with it more bass content to the background. Dante was also well-balanced. My thanks to George for his contribution to my education.  What did I do next?, well just a suggestion, but I went to my site
                                                www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk
                                                                            (forgive the reminder) and put on Sonata No.4 in E flat major. The graph for this gave the same pattern as the three similar ones above. No offence taken if it doesn't appeal!
                                 

Thanks for listening.

So of the five, what was your favorite? There were two EMI Samples.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Leon on January 31, 2011, 11:47:12 AM
Well, MediaFire, hey! that was an experience. Intrusive ads, surplus screens appearing, pop-up blocking all the time but at last the five samples were downloaded. Has anybody else listened? First response was that Dante, EMI and Nuovo Era were acceptable but the noise on Naxos and Pearl was too intrusive without any obvious benefit in brilliance of the sound. I then put the first two and a half seconds of each sample through a noise-reduction sampler which sums the frequency content of the music. The acceptable three gave a graph with intensity falling steadily with increasing frequency as you would expect all music to do. The Naxos plot showed more (!) noise at the very highest frequencies than at lower but still high frequencies. The Pearl showed the noise/music content rising instead of falling at a highish frequency. not what you'd expect. Listening more extensively you become aware of a whooshing in the background of the Nuovo Era take. The EMI seems to be better balanced with a warmer bass as you would expect (they should know what equalisation was used) however this brings with it more bass content to the background. Dante was also well-balanced. My thanks to George for his contribution to my education.  What did I do next?, well just a suggestion, but I went to my site
                                                www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk
                                                                            (forgive the reminder) and put on Sonata No.4 in E flat major. The graph for this gave the same pattern as the three similar ones above. No offence taken if it doesn't appeal!
                                 

I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed your website, which you have put together in very fine form.  The page devoted to your father was very touching and conjured up a warm picture of a delightful man.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on February 01, 2011, 02:38:15 AM
George,  the most listenable was the one you labelled "EMI". It all comes down to whether you like to hear the music through a veil of hiss which hints at greater frequency range without actually guaranteeing it or as in my case forgoing this for the benefits of a greater dynamic range and  clarity. I do not use any top-cut as such in my processing  and although some high frequencies may be diminished in intensity my guess is that they are still present. At the very least an alternative way of enjoying great music is available. Freedom of choice!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 01, 2011, 06:01:52 AM
Always depressing when a discussion of Beethoven Piano Sonatas degenerates to a discussion of hiss.  Maybe we can bracing discussion of whether god exists will help us break out of it.   0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2011, 11:04:59 AM
http://www.youtube.com/v/ffesxg5K5NQ

This Waldstein from 1970 shows quite a lot about Argerich's art at its worst.

It's really exciting in the first movement -- but so what? Her Waldstein is just that -- a cheap thrill. She's got very little to say with the music -- it's not quite typing but not far off. She's fast. The articulation is clean, somewhere between staccato and legato. There are one or two seconds of unusual balances. But that's not enough to make this music into anything interesting.

Admittedly this is a hard movement to make interesting (it's a bit repetitive!) But there are some fantastic performances on record -- she's just not up to it. She's not wayward enough in fact -- she's too firmly on the rails. I kept imagining what Ernst Levy or Claudio Arrau must have thought if they had heard her play it.

Don't get me wrong -- I like some of the recordings: the Bach Toccata and Partita, the Chopin mazurkas and sonata released last year by DG (historic material previously in the archives), the Brahms duet with Zilberstein, The Mendelssohn 1st trio.

But mostly she's not a favourite.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on February 06, 2011, 11:46:06 AM
http://www.youtube.com/v/ffesxg5K5NQ

This Waldstein from 1970 shows quite a lot about Argerich's art at its worst.

It's really exciting in the first movement -- but so what? Her Waldstein is just that -- a cheap thrill. She's got very little to say with the music -- it's not quite typing but not far off. She's fast. The articulation is clean, somewhere between staccato and legato. There are one or two seconds of unusual balances. But that's not enough to make this music into anything interesting.

Admittedly this is a hard movement to make interesting (it's a bit repetitive!) But there are some fantastic performances on record -- she's just not up to it. She's not wayward enough in fact -- she's too firmly on the rails. I kept imagining what Ernst Levy or Claudio Arrau must have thought if they had heard her play it.

Don't get me wrong -- I like some of the recordings: the Bach Toccata and Partita, the Chopin mazurkas and sonata released last year by DG (historic material previously in the archives), the Brahms duet with Zilberstein, The Mendelssohn 1st trio.

But mostly she's not a favourite.

Agree about Argerich's Beethoven, and I share your general impression of her playing. However, I remember really liking some of her early Schumann recordings (Kinderszenen, Kreisleriana). Time for me to revisit those early favorites, now that I have listened to quite a few other recordings of those works.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2011, 11:51:48 AM
I've just noticed I posted on the wrong thread -- sorry :(
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on February 06, 2011, 12:44:27 PM
Admittedly this is a hard movement to make interesting
??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

That said, that's a really insensitive performance for sure. I would have expected much, much better out of someone that well-respected.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 06, 2011, 12:54:37 PM
Argerich is not known for being sensitive, she is known for brilliance, which is present in fair measure here.  And criticizing a pianist of that level of talent based on a crappy youtube transfer of a live tape from 1970 strike me as ridiculous.  Par for the course.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2011, 01:19:53 PM
Oh I think she can be very sensitive -- in the Chopin B minor sonata and mazurkas issued on DG  last year.  And she can be wonderfully spontaneous, like in this Chopin Ballade from a Carnegie Hall recital in 1981. Also I would say she is a very great  Bach pianists.


http://www.goear.com/files/external.swf?file=ad67744



But not in that Beethoven. Her performance is  flat. Limited dynamic contrasts; limited contrasts of tempo; relatively unnuanced; boring phrasing. I just listened to Ernst Levy to remind me how this can sound.

And I actually thought the sound on that youtube was very good!




Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on February 06, 2011, 01:27:43 PM
Oh I think she can be very sensitive -- in the Chopin B minor sonata and mazurkas issued on DG  last year.  And she can be wonderfully spontaneous, like in this Chopin Ballade from a Carnegie Hall recital in 1981.


http://www.goear.com/files/external.swf?file=ad67744



But not in this case. Her performance is  flat. Limited dynamic contrasts; limited contrasts of tempo; relatively unnuanced; boring phrasing.

And I actually thought the sound on that youtube was very good!

I'd also say that the Schumann recordings I referred to are characterized by high sensitivity. Perhaps the surprising thing is how unsensitive she can sound on some occasions - given an artist of her stature. Perhaps one is expecting too much.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on February 06, 2011, 01:30:21 PM
Jet lag flying to Tokyo....month of February, so possibly the flu (my wife and son have it and I just got over it)....etc.  Who knows? :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Brian on February 06, 2011, 01:42:45 PM
Oh I think she can be very sensitive

Agreed - I have heard her Ravel!  0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2011, 02:01:41 PM
Jet lag flying to Tokyo....month of February, so possibly the flu (my wife and son have it and I just got over it)....etc.  Who knows? :)

Too charitable. There are other recordings which are similarly disappointing I think. The Mozart PC 20 I would say. And some Chopin too. Nocturnes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on February 06, 2011, 02:32:47 PM
Too charitable. There are other recordings which are similarly disappointing I think. The Mozart PC 20 I would say. And some Chopin too. Nocturnes.

Chicken pox? ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: ccar on February 06, 2011, 04:13:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/v/ffesxg5K5NQ

                              She's fast.

           
           Some other, faster ;D, Waldsteins ...


http://www.youtube.com/v/f3nnYGPZlp0 http://www.youtube.com/v/SEn7Asy5w74
http://www.youtube.com/v/Fuz4xLVWa0A http://www.youtube.com/v/X0WhOhUbZLI&playnext=1&list=PLC45C5884240FB976
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 06, 2011, 06:00:30 PM
I have all four of those Waldstein's and would like to comment.

The Schnabel is the poorest in my opinion. He struggles in places to get the necessary articulation

Next on the ladder for me is the Gulda - an exciting first movement but the other two movements don't get the necessary time to 'breathe'.

The Cziffra is the reverse. The first movement, like the Argerich, doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It's fast but it's also like it's jogging on the spot.

The Tomsic (thanks you for including this) is one of my all time favourites of this work. Onward imeptus with brilliant articulation in Movement I, a well considered Introduzione and a rondo that lives up to it's name.

You might consider this as well. It was  my introduction to this work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfqNXgsOP50

However, this is the one to listen to (and I know George will agree).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8R0dPWVod8


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 06, 2011, 06:13:58 PM
However, this is the one to listen to (and I know George will agree).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8R0dPWVod8

Indeed I will.

I will add a plug for the Casimir live recording by Josef Hofmann.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 06, 2011, 10:44:15 PM

Quote from: Mandryka on Today at 11:04:59 AM
Admittedly this is a hard movement to make interesting

Quote from: Brian on Today at 12:44:27 PM
 ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???


I said that because it's  so repetitious. One of the reasons I like Ernst Levy in this is that he finds lots of ways to ring the changes. Colours, phrasing, articulation.

BTW I think fortepianos can help with the first movement -- the dry percussive tone seems to suit the music. I like Komen most, I think. The piano sounds so bang bang thud thud it's wonderful. This music sounds good to me when you take it far away from the slickness of a Steinway 88.


I have all four of those Waldstein's and would like to comment.

The Schnabel is the poorest in my opinion. He struggles in places to get the necessary articulation


Can you say a bit more? You mean in the first movement?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 07, 2011, 01:36:05 AM
Schnabel's left hand and right hands just don't match up in a number of places in I. The left hand is in time but the right hand is struggling to keep up. There are a number of instances of sloppy RH passage work. This is also observable in his recording of the Hammerklavier
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 07, 2011, 08:11:00 AM
Schnabel's left hand and right hands just don't match up in a number of places in I. The left hand is in time but the right hand is struggling to keep up. There are a number of instances of sloppy RH passage work. This is also observable in his recording of the Hammerklavier

I quite like what he does with it. Very much so. I expect he would have rerecorded more of those sonatas if he could have.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 07, 2011, 09:51:58 AM
Schnabel's left hand and right hands just don't match up in a number of places in I. The left hand is in time but the right hand is struggling to keep up. There are a number of instances of sloppy RH passage work. This is also observable in his recording of the Hammerklavier

To me, it is much more important that a player convey the character of a piece than have perfect articulation, especially in the hectic allegro of the Waldstein (Although not everyone interprets it that way, e.g. Gilels). Not to mention, as Mandryka points out, Schnabel didn't have the luxury of modern retakes and editing.

Regardless, he gets as much possible out of the Introduzione with the most imaginative rubato and especially the transition to the Rondo. 

The Hammerklavier I is another good example, where so many players don't even bother playing it allegro, let alone honoring the challenge of Beethoven's metronome marking.
Schnabel's interpretation is faultless, even if his technique lags behind.   

There is also the issue that Schnabel is sometimes criticized for "rushing," when he is swept up in an allegro.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 07, 2011, 09:58:00 AM
Schnabel's interpretation is faultless, even if his technique lags behind.

My interpretation of the piece is superior to Schnabel's, although I can't even play the piano.   0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 07, 2011, 10:50:38 AM
My interpretation of the piece is superior to Schnabel's, although I can't even play the piano.   0:)

I opened myself up to that sort of jibe  ;)

In any case, older recordings are often important and enjoyable for interpretive choices rather than a standard of overall excellence.


 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 07, 2011, 10:54:37 AM

Not to mention, as Mandryka points out, Schnabel didn't have the luxury of modern retakes and editing.
 



Actually it's not  that. There American Federation of Musicians asked all it's members to stop making recordings in August 1942. The dispute was about royalties I think. American Victor's stidios were silent  from July 31, 1942 through November 11, 1944.

Schnabel rerecorded OP 109 and Op 111 in June 1942 -- before the AFM ban.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 07, 2011, 04:03:09 PM
Actually it's not  that. There American Federation of Musicians asked all it's members to stop making recordings in August 1942. The dispute was about royalties I think. American Victor's stidios were silent  from July 31, 1942 through November 11, 1944.

Schnabel rerecorded OP 110 and Op 111 in June 1942 -- before the AFM ban.

Ah, I see what you meant now.
I was speaking only of the 1932 sessions. In any event, what I meant was that the producers couldn't simply "punch-in" and smooth over a perfect retake of a particular section, like they do nowadays with Logic Studio, etc. The recording pressure must have been much greater back then, and Schnabel apparently had problems with that. Not everything is ideal with human beings, and Beethoven himself did not like performing his own compositions in public, having salon audiences sit in separate rooms, preferring to improvise and conduct with his wild gesticulations.

Schnabel recreates the exuberance, tempi, and spontaneous feeling of the sonatas like no one else, and the concertos almost like no one else (Fleisher, Serkin, Solomon, Gilels).
That Schnabel is equally successful in Schubert, who idolized Beethoven, is further evidence to me that Schnabel grokked Beethoven. For modern perfection we have Gulda, Gilels, Pollini, or Solomon and Serkin.

I like this quote about Schnabel:

"The 'fluffs' and the rhythmic telescopings that occasionally make us raise our eyebrows are actually almost always the results of attempts at the impossible, attempts to push an idea to the very limits of its logic and even a bit beyond, rather than results of an imperfect control of mind or fingers."
   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 07, 2011, 06:12:53 PM
I like this quote about Schnabel:

"The 'fluffs' and the rhythmic telescopings that occasionally make us raise our eyebrows are actually almost always the results of attempts at the impossible, attempts to push an idea to the very limits of its logic and even a bit beyond, rather than results of an imperfect control of mind or fingers."
   

Excellent quote.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on February 08, 2011, 01:27:51 AM

Schnabel recreates the exuberance, tempi, and spontaneous feeling of the sonatas like no one else, and the concertos almost like no one else (Fleisher, Serkin, Solomon, Gilels).
That Schnabel is equally successful in Schubert, who idolized Beethoven, is further evidence to me that Schnabel grokked Beethoven.

   

Very well-said. Completely agree with the first part - for me Schnabel is THE Beethoven player. I find most of his Schubert a lot less impressive somehow - although I am a Schnabel fan quite generally (excepting his Schubert).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2011, 02:35:53 AM
Very well-said. Completely agree with the first part - for me Schnabel is THE Beethoven player. I find most of his Schubert a lot less impressive somehow - although I am a Schnabel fan quite generally (excepting his Schubert).

I like some of the Beethoven, but not all. I don't like to focus on the negative but the earlier sonatas are sometimes just too grave for me (in the Largo to 10/3 for example. ) And some of the recordings seem very good, but maybe not really memorable and special. Sometimes (rarely) I think there are some bold but completely failed experiments -- (the first movement of the Hammerklavbier for example)

I find the Schubert more consistently satisfying, though I don't care at all for his Impromptus, which seem rather nervous.

Is there anyone interested in exploring Schnabel's recordings a bit more closely using this forum? You know the sort of thing: choosing a piece (Schubert or Beethoven or Bach or Mozart, concerto, chamber solo: -- I don't mind)  to listen to and posting reactions, whatever they may be.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 08, 2011, 02:55:27 AM
Schnabel has been been put up on a pedestal as pianistic God as regards the LvB sonatas. He was the first to record the whole cycle (beating out Lamond) and a lot of hyperbole has been exuded from that point (regarding his stature)  from whence he gained his place on this pedestal.

Yes, he plays Beethoven very well but as the greatest interpreter of all time - I don't think so. His performances in the 'name' sonatas leaves a lot to be desired and much of it is lack of technical ability. Yes, his musical intelligence comes to the fore but he seems so frequently lost in trying to just play the notes that the musicality just isn't there. His Hammerklavier is a good example. The Adagio is just superb but it follows a very ordinary Scherzo which was preceded by a first movement in which all Schnabel could do was just play as fast as possible and hope that the headlong rush would satisfy as a great performance. When you hear Pollini, Solomon and Richter play it you realise how inept this was.

Where I love Schnabel is in the earlier sonatas. He still has what could be considered a very fresh approach after all these years.

Now his Schubert is a different story. Just sublime in so many areas.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on February 08, 2011, 04:27:39 AM
Is there anyone interested in exploring Schnabel's recordings a bit more closely using this forum? You know the sort of thing: choosing a piece (Schubert or Beethoven or Bach or Mozart, concerto, chamber solo: -- I don't mind)  to listen to and posting reactions, whatever they may be.

Answered here, in the Schnabel thread. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,12010.msg489304.html#msg489304)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on February 08, 2011, 11:02:12 AM
Schnabel has been been put up on a pedestal as pianistic God as regards the LvB sonatas. He was the first to record the whole cycle (beating out Lamond) and a lot of hyperbole has been exuded from that point (regarding his stature)  from whence he gained his place on this pedestal.

Yes, he plays Beethoven very well but as the greatest interpreter of all time - I don't think so. His performances in the 'name' sonatas leaves a lot to be desired and much of it is lack of technical ability. Yes, his musical intelligence comes to the fore but he seems so frequently lost in trying to just play the notes that the musicality just isn't there. His Hammerklavier is a good example. The Adagio is just superb but it follows a very ordinary Scherzo which was preceded by a first movement in which all Schnabel could do was just play as fast as possible and hope that the headlong rush would satisfy as a great performance. When you hear Pollini, Solomon and Richter play it you realise how inept this was.

Where I love Schnabel is in the earlier sonatas. He still has what could be considered a very fresh approach after all these years.

Now his Schubert is a different story. Just sublime in so many areas.

Yes, his technical command is often less than satisfying. And in those sonatas where this is all too evident, I tend to prefer other pianists.
With Schnabel I feel  that he has almost always something to say (a lot in fact), often more than most other pianists I know. But in Schubert, this is not enough for me. I think his Schubert speaks, but it does not sing (to my ears). 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 08, 2011, 12:56:40 PM
Yes, his technical command is often less than satisfying. And in those sonatas where this is all too evident, I tend to prefer other pianists.
With Schnabel I feel  that he has almost always something to say (a lot in fact), often more than most other pianists I know. But in Schubert, this is not enough for me. I think his Schubert speaks, but it does not sing (to my ears).

I just wish Schnabel had been born 100 years later.  Then some admission committee at Juliard or Curtis would have got a good laugh out of his mangled audition tape, and he could have had a productive life selling car insurance.   Of course our main loss would be the interminable discussions of how miraculous his interpretations would have been if could actually play the piano.  ::)   I'll take Angela Hewitt's Beethoven Sonata over Schnabel's any day, if she ever gets around to finishing it, although it is a let-down that they are not issuing them in SACD anymore.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bulldog on February 08, 2011, 01:00:51 PM
I just wish Schnabel had been born 100 years later.  Then some admission committee at Juliard or Curtis would have got a good laugh out of his mangled audition tape, and he could have had a productive life selling car insurance.   Of course our main loss would be the interminable discussions of how miraculous his interpretations would have been if could actually play the piano.  ::)   I'll take Angela Hewitt's Beethoven Sonata over Schnabel's any day, if she ever gets around to finishing it, although it is a let-down that they are not issuing them in SACD anymore.

Sounds like a good time for a Schnabel vs. Hewitt smack-down.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2011, 01:28:53 PM

The Cziffra is the reverse. The first movement, like the Argerich, doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It's fast but it's also like it's jogging on the spot.



Cziffra's Beethoven interests me a lot. I'm not at all clear yet about what he's doing.

It's as if he sees the  music as studies in proportion, colour and texture. Rather than as exercises in bravura, or as emotional expression.

I've just been listening to his WoO 80, where you hear the same sort of restraint, same sort of refinement, same sort of stasis as you hear in the primo to the Waldstien.

The things he seems to value in Beethoven -- elegance, poise -- are maybe a bit unfashionable.

One thing I'd like to do is listen to the bits of Beethoven we have from Cortot -- the stuff on youtube, the master class recordings and even the piano rolls. From memory there's a similar texture to Cortot's Beethoven as there is to Cziffras. The two were friends of course.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2011, 03:13:01 PM
I just wish Schnabel had been born 100 years later.  Then some admission committee at Juliard or Curtis would have got a good laugh out of his mangled audition tape, and he could have had a productive life selling car insurance.   Of course our main loss would be the interminable discussions of how miraculous his interpretations would have been if could actually play the piano.  ::)   I'll take Angela Hewitt's Beethoven Sonata over Schnabel's any day, if she ever gets around to finishing it, although it is a let-down that they are not issuing them in SACD anymore.

How disrespectful.
Artur Schnabel studied with Leschetizky, performed and kept company with the greatest players and conductors of Europe. He also taught many significant students.
I don't think a committee decision or any emphasis of technicality over musicality is relevant. How far would Cortot get in the Chopin competition?

I do, however, completely understand the preference, especially in the late sonatas, for Serkin, Solomon, Richter, Gulda, Gilels, Pollini, Rosen, Hungerford, Brautigam i.e. pianists both with great technical command and individuality. Or Kempff and Nat.

Angela Hewitt is an accomplished but safe pianist. Never mind her simplistic characterization of the harpsichord or her sometimes pretentious and self-styled demeanor or shilling of Fazioli (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAeLjliS1LY&feature=related), her Beethoven (like most of her playing) is over-elegant, smooth, moderate, melodious and pretty but lacking urgency, exertion, wit and brio. She's not exactly a virtuoso either. 

If you want elegant, thoughtful and lyrical Beethoven just get Paul Lewis and be done with it. He has many more virtues.
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on February 08, 2011, 03:18:43 PM
If you want elegant, thoughtful and lyrical Beethoven just get Paul Lewis and be done with it. He has many more virtues.



And what would those virtues be?  Perhaps one is an aid for those who have a hard time falling asleep.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on February 08, 2011, 03:23:01 PM

Angela Hewitt is an accomplished but safe pianist. Never mind her simplistic characterization of the harpsichord or her sometimes pretentious and self-styled demeanor or shilling of Fazioli..

...I see we feel the same about that aspect: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/angela-hewitt-lectures-us-on-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/angela-hewitt-lectures-us-on-bach.html)

Quote
...her Beethoven (like most of her playing) is over-elegant, smooth, moderate, melodious and pretty but lacking urgency, exertion, wit and brio. She's not exactly a virtuoso either.

...but this may be an element of her recordings more so than her performances. I've seen her raw and ready in the Brahms f-minor (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/angela-hewitt-lectures-us-on-bach.html), for example... and that was rough and excessive and wild and urgent and, although not virtuosic, a real ride.

There are many sides to most artists...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 08, 2011, 03:23:38 PM
If you want elegant, thoughtful and lyrical Beethoven just get Paul Lewis and be done with it. He has many more virtues.

Never heard of him.  I do have Lortie's set, as well as O'Conor and Pommier, who might fall into that catagory.  So far only heard a tiny bit of Hewitt's set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2011, 03:34:45 PM


And what would those virtues be?  Perhaps one is an aid for those who have a hard time falling asleep.

As you could gather from my other comments, his is not my favorite style, but at least he has a lyrical point of view and is something of a virtuoso (op 106). I don't really care enough to defend him more than that.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2011, 03:37:59 PM
...I see we feel the same about that aspect: http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/angela-hewitt-lectures-us-on-bach.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/angela-hewitt-lectures-us-on-bach.html)

...but this may be an element of her recordings more so than her performances. I've seen her raw and ready in the Brahms f-minor (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2008/03/angela-hewitt-lectures-us-on-bach.html), for example... and that was rough and excessive and wild and urgent and, although not virtuosic, a real ride.

There are many sides to most artists...

I see your point, but don't think she is worth the trouble when there are so many greater artists who no doubt go unnoticed. Plus, the recordings are still her fault.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on February 08, 2011, 03:39:47 PM
Never heard of him.  I do have Lortie's set, as well as O'Conor and Pommier, who might fall into that catagory.  So far only heard a tiny bit of Hewitt's set.



Lortie and O'Conor are both better than Lewis to my ears.  Unless you like elegant, pretty (and boring) LvB, I would suggest spending your money on other recordings.

That written, I do agree with Clever Hans about 106 - why wasn't more of the cycle like that?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Scarpia on February 08, 2011, 03:42:04 PM
I see your point, but don't think she is worth the trouble when there are so many greater artists who no doubt go unnoticed. Plus, the recordings are still her fault.

I saw her live performing Franck and thought she gave a wonderful performance.  You clearly take great pride in finding fault with her, so you owe her a debt of gratitude for that, at the very least.   ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 08, 2011, 03:46:59 PM


Lortie and O'Conor are both better than Lewis to my ears.  Unless you like elegant, pretty (and boring) LvB, I would suggest spending your money on other recordings.

That written, I do agree with Clever Hans about 106 - why wasn't more of the cycle like that?

I won't argue with that, since I don't know Lortie and O'Conor. Perhaps the success of Lewis' first set will allow him to produce another down the line, when he has matured, widened his performing repertoire, and maybe become more eccentric or cranky.   

I saw her live performing Franck and thought she gave a wonderful performance.  You clearly take great pride in finding fault with her, so you owe her a debt of gratitude for that, at the very least.   ;D

That is a psychologically complex and funny thought.  :-*
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2011, 10:54:21 PM
His performances in the 'name' sonatas leaves a lot to be desired and much of it is lack of technical ability. . .Where I love Schnabel is in the earlier sonatas. He still has what could be considered a very fresh approach after all these years.


Is it only his technique which bothers you, or do you have other problems? In fact I find his approach rather unsatisfying in the early sonatas but I very much like him in the later ones.

For me his  Op 109 through op 111 and the diabelli variations and the bagatelles are rich in ideas, intelligently and sensitively phrased, beautiful sounding  . . . 

How disrespectful.
I do, however, completely understand the preference, especially in the late sonatas, for Serkin, Solomon, Richter, Gulda, Gilels, Pollini, Rosen, Hungerford, Brautigam i.e. pianists both with great technical command and individuality. Or Kempff and Nat.

 

Well I certainly don't -- except maybe for Richter. What is wrong with his 109, or the remakes of 110 or 111? (I haven't heard Nat)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 08, 2011, 11:03:38 PM
His performances in the 'name' sonatas leaves a lot to be desired and much of it is lack of technical ability. . .Where I love Schnabel is in the earlier sonatas. He still has what could be considered a very fresh approach after all these years.


Is it only his technique which bothers you, or do you have other problems? In fact I find his approach rather unsatisfying in the early sonatas but I very much like him in the later ones.

For me his  Op 109 through op 111 and the diabelli variations and the bagatelles are rich in ideas, intelligently and sensitively phrased, beautiful sounding  . . . 

How disrespectful.
I do, however, completely understand the preference, especially in the late sonatas, for Serkin, Solomon, Richter, Gulda, Gilels, Pollini, Rosen, Hungerford, Brautigam i.e. pianists both with great technical command and individuality. Or Kempff and Nat.

 

Well I certainly don't -- except maybe for Richter. What is wrong with his 109, or the remakes of 110 or 111? (I haven't heard Nat)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on February 09, 2011, 02:04:22 AM
Is it only his technique which bothers you, or do you have other problems? In fact I find his approach rather unsatisfying in the early sonatas but I very much like him in the later ones.

For me his  Op 109 through op 111 and the diabelli variations and the bagatelles are rich in ideas, intelligently and sensitively phrased, beautiful sounding  . . . 

Yes, it is more than his technique that bothers me in the well known sonatas. Schnabel is a very thoughtful Beethoven pianist and in many of the lesser PS his approach has a very fresh appeal.

Listening to much of Beethoven's earlier works you become aware of the 'statement' in one hand and the 'reply' in the other that is quite pervasive in these works. I sense that Schnabel understood this dialogue very well and that there are a number of ways of making the statement and couching the reply musically. This is what fascinates me about AS' interpretations of the early and middle sonatas.

Beethoven moved away from this after his middle period and I don't think that Schnabel moved with him. The one exception is his superb recording of the Diabelli Variations.

The one area where Schnabel excels in the late sonatas is the adagio of Op 106 but apart from that I'd rather listen to Pollini, Solomon, Hess, Hungerford, Levy or Richter in nos 28- 32
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on February 09, 2011, 04:56:29 AM
How disrespectful.
Artur Schnabel studied with Leschetizky, performed and kept company with the greatest players and conductors of Europe. He also taught many significant students.
I don't think a committee decision or any emphasis of technicality over musicality is relevant. How far would Cortot get in the Chopin competition?

I do, however, completely understand the preference, especially in the late sonatas, for Serkin, Solomon, Richter, Gulda, Gilels, Pollini, Rosen, Hungerford, Brautigam i.e. pianists both with great technical command and individuality. Or Kempff and Nat.

Angela Hewitt is an accomplished but safe pianist. Never mind her simplistic characterization of the harpsichord or her sometimes pretentious and self-styled demeanor or shilling of Fazioli (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAeLjliS1LY&feature=related), her Beethoven (like most of her playing) is over-elegant, smooth, moderate, melodious and pretty but lacking urgency, exertion, wit and brio. She's not exactly a virtuoso either. 

If you want elegant, thoughtful and lyrical Beethoven just get Paul Lewis and be done with it. He has many more virtues.
 

Completely agree re your characterization of Hewitt. In fact, I'd probably take mistake-ridden Schnabel over Hewitt any day. Luckily, there are some other pianists who excel where Schnabel's technique is indeed too messy. Well, to each his (her) own, I guess.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 09, 2011, 01:44:25 PM
Well I certainly don't -- except maybe for Richter. What is wrong with his 109, or the remakes of 110 or 111? (I haven't heard Nat)

I'm not saying I actually prefer other pianists, just that I understand the preference for technical perfection (e.g. some of the pianists Holden named) in the complex fugues and variations and difficult playing from 101 on. Interpretively, however, I still rate Schnabel tops, including in the opening of the Hammerklavier. While very interesting on their own terms, many others recast Beethoven with grand and expansive tempi: Richter (beyond op 106 i. e.g. allegro molto 110), Gilels (e.g. 109 prestissimo), Kempff (everything), Levy (everything). 

Personally I more often prefer those who do not do this--Rosen, Solomon, Gulda, Pollini, Hungerford, Brautigam, and Serkin (especially his earlier recordings), who makes the best case for a steady and powerful Hammerklavier opening (which I still think is wrong).

Yves Nat is less technically secure but raw, intense and expeditious. Basically the opposite of Hewitt.
Remastered in Ses Enregistrements box, also containing his great Schumann.


Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on February 09, 2011, 02:21:10 PM
When a performer chooses tempi which are faster than he can handle, he will always seem uncomfortable, and very little energy is left for expression. So he will disappoint his listeners, because music communicates first and foremost expression. Whether he is Schnabel or someone else. In Schnabels Beethoven I much prefer his slow movements, in which he often delivers wonderful expression, while many of his fast movements (the fugue of the Hammerklavier even more than the first movement) are at best uninteresting. Another disappointing pianist is Gulda, who manages to play very fast, but has to concentrate so much upon perfection to do it, that expression often suffers. So in a way a similar situation to Scnabel´s.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 09, 2011, 04:11:33 PM
When a performer chooses tempi which are faster than he can handle, he will always seem uncomfortable, and very little energy is left for expression. So he will disappoint his listeners, because music communicates first and foremost expression. Whether he is Schnabel or someone else. In Schnabels Beethoven I much prefer his slow movements, in which he often delivers wonderful expression, while many of his fast movements (the fugue of the Hammerklavier even more than the first movement) are at best uninteresting. Another disappointing pianist is Gulda, who manages to play very fast, but has to concentrate so much upon perfection to do it, that expression often suffers. So in a way a similar situation to Scnabel´s.

Obviously your points are carefully justified.

Not arguing taste, but I think Gulda had plenty left in reserve, was an astonishing pianist technically, and chose to give straightforward and refreshing interpretations. You can hear the same style in his cello sonatas with Fournier and Mozart. I recall you used to like Gulda's style. Why did you like him before and how did you change your mind?

Although there are specific examples of stunning broad interpretations, such as Giulini's eroica, I usually prefer that players follow a composer's indications. Especially in the case of Beethoven, where there is considerable evidence that he favored very fast tempos where indicated. The modern piano adds considerable weight already. On the other hand, one may also infer based on descriptions of Beethoven's performing and conducting, that he went for utmost expression and fantasy (at least compared to Classical standards), was not the most even-tempered man and was a great improvisor. So it may be argued that players like Gulda run counter to this aspect of his personality.     

Still, I generally don't like allegros played as andantes and prestos played as allegro ma non troppos. Often it transforms the entire character of a piece, usually for the worse. The Hammerklavier first movement is to me the most obvious example. As Charles Rosen says:

"It does not matter what metronome marking a pianist chooses for this movement providing it sounds Allegro; there is no excuse, textual or musical, for making it sound majestic, like Allegro maestoso, and such an effect is a betrayal of the music. It is often done because it mitigates the harshness of the work, but this harshness is clearly essential to it. A majestic tempo also saps the rhythmic vitality on which the movement depends"



 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 09, 2011, 10:27:07 PM

Listening to much of Beethoven's earlier works you become aware of the 'statement' in one hand and the 'reply' in the other that is quite pervasive in these works. I sense that Schnabel understood this dialogue very well and that there are a number of ways of making the statement and couching the reply musically. This is what fascinates me about AS' interpretations of the early and middle sonatas.

Beethoven moved away from this after his middle period and I don't think that Schnabel moved with him. The one exception is his superb recording of the Diabelli Variations.


I think I can hear what you mean -- in the primo of Op 110 for example I think I hear something of the statement/reply structure that you're thinking of, more than I do in Richter's Leipzig performance.

But why is it a problem? Why do you say that Beethoven moved away from this mode of expression? Are you saying that, as a matter of fact, Schnabel plays Op 110 in a way which isn't in line with Beethoven's ideas? Or are you saying that poetically Schnabel's style compromises the music?

When a performer chooses tempi which are faster than he can handle, he will always seem uncomfortable, and very little energy is left for expression. So he will disappoint his listeners, because music communicates first and foremost expression.

But  in the primo of the Waldstein, there's plenty of expression in Schnabel's performance. But according to Hoden he's playing it faster than he can handle.

More generally  speed itself is a form of expression. An example where it's very clear to me  is Yudina's Tempest sonata.

And so is a sense of discomfort and struggle and even near failour. I can think of lots of examples of this in Bach.  Weissenberg in the Bach/Busoni prelude Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein and maybe Gould in the second English suite.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on February 10, 2011, 09:53:30 AM
Not arguing taste, but I think Gulda had plenty left in reserve, was an astonishing pianist technically, and chose to give straightforward and refreshing interpretations. You can hear the same style in his cello sonatas with Fournier and Mozart. I recall you used to like Gulda's style. Why did you like him before and how did you change your mind?

About 15 years ago I decided - after a long Beethoven pause -  to refresh the passion of my youth for this composer, caused by the fact that I inherited Backhaus´ stereo sonata set from my mother. One of the first boxes I acquired was the original Amadeo Gulda sonata set. I was very impressed at first, but being a completist by nature I acquired many other sets - most of them within the last 5 years, and listening to these my idea of these works changed, I gradually realised that Gukda did not have much else to offer than his infallible dexterity. I do not find a degree of poetry or passion in his playing which matches his reputation.

Quote from: Clever Hans
Although there are specific examples of stunning broad interpretations, such as Giulini's eroica, I usually prefer that players follow a composer's indications. 

Composers metronome markings can not be but rough guidelines. Even composers play their own works in different tempi at different times.

Quote from: Clever Hans
Still, I generally don't like allegros played as andantes and prestos played as allegro ma non troppos. Often it transforms the entire character of a piece, usually for the worse. 

Still, I generally don't like allegros played as prestos and prestos played as prestissimos. Often it transforms the entire character of a piece, usually for the worse.

Quote from: Clever Hans
"It does not matter what metronome marking a pianist chooses for this movement providing it sounds Allegro;

Exactly. This is because it is the character and the mood which counts. Tempo is just one of the components which determine the mood of a piece of music. I think tempo steals the attention of many listeners because it is easy to understand and discuss. Topics like articulation is more difficult to understand but equally important in dertermining the mood.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on February 10, 2011, 10:00:19 AM
More generally  speed itself is a form of expression.

Obviously, but too much speed results in a rather inarticulate expression - a kind of primate cry.
I do not think Beethoven meant to invite to such primitive effects.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 10, 2011, 11:41:16 AM
Obviously, but too much speed results in a rather inarticulate expression - a kind of primate cry.
I do not think Beethoven meant to invite to such primitive effects.

Yes -- but whose to say what's too much?

 Hoffman plays Beethoven fast, but I wouldn't say his Waldstien is like an animal cry, becausehe  has complete rhythmic control and he varies the dynamics quite interestingly.

Fast performances can be nuanced. And of course you can gain things from the speed.

One thing  that you can gain is a sense of jaw dropping virtuosity. I like that. I also think it's part of the Beethoven style.

Here's Stephen Beus  in the fugue of the Hammerklavier

http://www.youtube.com/v/IA2v7ikyuxg

Unfortunately Yudina's tempest isn't on youtube.


Another guy who I believe plays Beethoven very fast is Paul Jacobs -- but I haven't heard it (I've just ordered the CD). Anyone know it?




Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: ccar on February 10, 2011, 01:36:01 PM
Yes -- but whose to say what's too much?

Hoffman plays Beethoven fast, but I wouldn't say his Waldstein is like an animal cry, because he  has complete rhythmic control and he varies the dynamics quite interestingly.

Fast performances can be nuanced. And of course you can gain things from the speed.

Absolutely agree. The tempo is obviously a part of the expressive content. But the question is what you are able to say, be it faster or slower.   


Another guy who I believe plays Beethoven very fast is Paul Jacobs -- but I haven't heard it (I've just ordered the CD). Anyone know it?



Yes, it's a fast one. A live recital and a wild performance. Not with the greatest "technical" command but with many interesting and unexpected ideas - in phrasing, color accents and especially in the variations of tempi he chooses. Regarding the Waldstein, it's curious how he begins with a very fast Allegro (8:51), relaxes immensely in the Adagio (3:45) to create a very beautiful and natural transition to the Rondo and finishes in an uncontrolled Prestissimo. The other Beethoven sonata (No.7 Op. 10/3) is an even wilder reading. For me a very fresh and stimulating musical experience but certainly a shocking example for any purist. Wonderful artist.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: dirkronk on February 10, 2011, 01:38:54 PM
OK, since folks are talking about playing Beethoven fast, yet with expression, allow me to beg once again:

Does anyone...ANYONE...have the Sergio Fiorentino last movement of the Appassionata, done live in some monastery, that used to be readily available on the web several years back? I've been looking to get a download copy of that one forever (didn't have download capacity when it WAS available). Incomplete or not, it was one of the fastest yet most controlled versions I've ever heard.

Hoping...

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on February 10, 2011, 06:24:51 PM
I gradually realised that Gukda did not have much else to offer than his infallible dexterity. I do not find a degree of poetry or passion in his playing which matches his reputation.

Thanks for the elaboration.

Composers metronome markings can not be but rough guidelines. Even composers play their own works in different tempi at different times.

But I'm not talking about metronome markings (although the Hammerklavier 138 on half note definitely reinforces a fast tempo, as do the Beethoven quartet and symphony markings). Simply that when a composer says fast, he or she wants it played fast, or moderate he or she wants it...etc
Doing something else needs to be justified with an overwhelming effect (which is why I cited Giulini). Rarely does this occur. Usually it just ends up being ponderous and overstated.   

Still, I generally don't like allegros played as prestos and prestos played as prestissimos. Often it transforms the entire character of a piece, usually for the worse.

I see what you did there  ;) Nevertheless, you avoid my point. When Beethoven says allegro, he obviously did not have in mind Arrau's allegro. Just like Mozart did not envision a clotted mess of his symphonies.

Exactly. This is because it is the character and the mood which counts. Tempo is just one of the components which determine the mood of a piece of music. I think tempo steals the attention of many listeners because it is easy to understand and discuss. Topics like articulation is more difficult to understand but equally important in dertermining the mood.

Yes and no. I agree that tempo is only one element. It is still bad thing to get it wrong. Despite tempo being simple, people screw it up constantly.
Just play the piece as indicated for the love of god. That is almost always the best way.
Yet we often have recordings cited as references when they directly contradict the composer's indications. Surely that makes no sense. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 18, 2011, 01:13:51 PM
This recording of Op 2/1  is intelligent, colourful, elegant, technically excellent, beautifully recorded. The nuances of phrasing are very very nice. It's self effacing without being bland.  Stylistically it is ideal for early Beethoven: the connection to Haydn is very audible to me.

Yet I hate it.

I hate it because Perahia has no spontaneity at all. He’s doesn’t sound FREE. He sounds so controlling and careful.

Listening to it has made me realise that for me spontaneity is probably the musical value I prize most highly.



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 18, 2011, 10:34:49 PM
Yet I hate it.

I hate it because Perahia has no spontaneity at all. He’s doesn’t sound FREE. He sounds so controlling and careful.

That's silly. This is a very fine recording and the spontaneity is on a very high level. It's the first recording Perahia made after recovering from his hand ailment and the sense of glee is everywhere. 

I can't help wondering if you're using Levy again (overall as a Beethoven interpreter) as your benchmark which means you'll never be satisfied with anyone else. Levy was an island unto himself and should never be placed in a position of 'benchmark'. It's like giving Pogorelich such status. Fun to flirt with, certainly, but simply tooooo far outside the mainstream....
   

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 19, 2011, 06:09:22 AM
That's silly. This is a very fine recording and the spontaneity is on a very high level. It's the first recording Perahia made after recovering from his hand ailment and the sense of glee is everywhere. 



Not in Op 2/1, at least not to my ears, though I can hear it's refined. Op 2/3 is much better.


I can't help wondering if you're using Levy again (overall as a Beethoven interpreter) as your benchmark which means you'll never be satisfied with anyone else. Levy was an island unto himself and should never be placed in a position of 'benchmark'. It's like giving Pogorelich such status. Fun to flirt with, certainly, but simply tooooo far outside the mainstream....
 

The place I'm coming from is one of equality of interpretations. All that matters is how well the performance works, how coherent it is etc. I'm not very interested in whether a performance deviates from the composer's intentions, from norms of style, or from conventions about how it should be played, though I can see that those questions have a sort of grizzly academic relevance.  I want to take each recital as a thing in itself. I want to reject your model of mainstream and benchmarks and deviants etc. For me the musician is an auteur who creates his own  poetry in response to a score.

And anyway, I didn't know Levy played any Op 2s. Does he really?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 19, 2011, 07:33:00 AM
Not in Op 2/1, at least not to my ears, though I can hear it's refined. Op 2/3 is much better.

The entire disc is Perahia at some of his very best, and I'm not one to gush.

Quote
The place I'm coming from is one of equality of interpretations.

I'm trying to reconcile this statement with an earlier statement you made:

I just listened to Ernst Levy to remind me how this can sound.

To me this reads like you have a preferred vision in mind in certain works and anything deviating from that vision doesn't measure up. Which isn't the same thing as another performer being "bad".


Quote
All that matters is how well the performance works, how coherent it is etc. I'm not very interested in whether a performance deviates from the composer's intentions, from norms of style, or from conventions about how it should be played, though I can see that those questions have a sort of grizzly academic relevance.  I want to take each recital as a thing in itself. I want to reject your model of mainstream and benchmarks and deviants etc. For me the musician is an auteur who creates his own  poetry in response to a score.

Again, all this spells "personal taste". Which isn't the same as your absolutist statements regarding the Perahia disc.

Quote
And anyway, I didn't know Levy played any Op 2s. Does he really?

I don't know for sure. I didn't make any claims one way or another.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 19, 2011, 09:29:08 AM
Sorry -- this is a hard medium for me to be clear in!

I was trying to move away from the idea that there is a core style of performance which confers a sort of validity on the interpretation.

That's not inconsistent as far as I can see with saying that, e.g. Levy in the third movement of the  Appassionata is better than Rubinstein's 1930s recording because . . .  Or that Perahia's Op 2/1 is not as good as Gould's or Annie Fischer's or Richter's or Schnabel's because . . .

The interesting bit is what comes after the because. I was trying to appeal to idea like spontaneity. I'm not sure how subjective spontaneity is -- but given that you hear it in MP's Op 2/1 and I don't, I'm strating to think it is  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: RJR on February 19, 2011, 09:46:20 AM
When Schnabel plays I listen.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: RJR on February 19, 2011, 11:41:13 AM
To Mandryka,
Glad to see that you're still popping in out of this thread on Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. Otherwise I would be chastised for adding a comment-or a cursory remark-to a dead thread. Which, thankfully, this isn't. May it continue to blossom for many more years to come.

I found a link to a short set of comments written in 1950 by Benno Moiseiwitsch on the Grand Style that I thought you might like to read:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:-gY0kdvAiSoJ:www.arbiterrecords.com/musicresourc
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 19, 2011, 09:53:26 PM
The interesting bit is what comes after the because. I was trying to appeal to idea like spontaneity. I'm not sure how subjective spontaneity is -- but given that you hear it in MP's Op 2/1 and I don't, I'm strating to think it is  ;)

Yes, that would indeed be a fascinating topic for dissection. Maybe one day when I have months on end to devote to the topic we might just find some morsel of common ground! :)

As it is, I suppose like many things aesthetic 'spontaneity' can be a highly subjective experience. For instance, that Perahia disc immediately following a Ciani performance sand-blasting would indeed seem mighty tame!



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 19, 2011, 11:53:54 PM
While exploring 2/1 a bit I came across a film of a concert Richter gave in Moscow Conservatory Hall on the 10th  and 16th  October 1976. I actually knew about this recital because it's on a Music and Arts CD which I have.

What I was not prepared for was the visceral quality of the music making in the sound track to the film. IMO this sound track is one of the great Richter recital recordings -- something I would never have said about the transfer on Music and Arts. The 2/1 is riveting and (dare I say it?) spontaneous. He plays like a man possessed. Proof if proof were needed that poor sound  can kill the musical qualities of a recording. I had no idea that this was such an exciting record from the M&A.

Anyway, I have ripped the sound to a FLAC file with TotalRecorder. The sound is here in mp3 320kbps -- the FLAC was too big for Mediafire. I haven't split it up yet -- but the 2/1 is right at the start.

The order of play is Beethoven  Piano Sonata  Op.2 no.1;  Schumann  Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op.26;  Beethoven  Bagatelle in  G major Op.126 no.1; Debussy  Prelude Book 1 No.3, "Le vent dans la  plaine" and  Prelude Book 2 No.8, "Ondine":  Rachmaninov  Prelude in G  sharp minar Op.32 no.1;


Be warned: the microphone is close to the piano. And he plays a wonderful steely soviet piano which I think really enhances this music. And there's a little audience noise. And there's  some  background hiss. But your ears soon gets used to the hiss: it's not really a problem.

http://www.mediafire.com/?s3ddm0kqpmbg3



Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on February 24, 2011, 12:47:51 PM
The other Beethoven sonata (No.7 Op. 10/3) [played by Paul Jacobs] is an even wilder reading. For me a very fresh and stimulating musical experience but certainly a shocking example for any purist. Wonderful artist.

Yes that is one fantastic performance. My initial impression is that I've never heard such a unified reading -- it's as if the fast final movement is an echo of the fast first movement. Wonderful!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on March 03, 2011, 12:13:33 PM
            I apologise for interrupting the mood of reverent consideration and appreciation of great performances and maybe this is for george mainly but following on the discussion of a few pages back in which the comparison of several processes of transcription was made possible by a link to the Mediafire pages,  I have collated the samples into one item which you can hear on my website (link below). I also performed a simple analytical test which turned out to prove "not much" ! As I posted on the Schnabel thread, the whole of the "Moonlight" sonata together with the other two in "Volume 4" specifically Op 2 No 2 and "Les Adieux" have been uploaded to the site.
            A propos speeds, as a pianist with just enough skills to get a few bars "perfect" but no more and seeing the very detailed markings in the sonatas, I have always worried about performances that gloss over details such as staccato dots, for example. These feature, for example in the  figuration of bars 12 to 16 of the 1st movement of Op 110 but the marking is " Molto cantabile..." so no problem (provided no pedal is used)  but in Op31 no1's 1st movement, "Allegro vivace", in bars 39 to 43 we also have the 1st and 5th semiquavers ( sorry !) dotted. What is the poor pianist to do? Can you be "lively" at a speed which allows you to make these detailed markings audible or do you just assume that "emphasis" was implied over and above the natural stresses?  The "Allegro moderato" finale of the "Waldstein"  has many full bars of  8 semiquavers (sixteenth notes!) in the left hand, all dotted.
            To add to my woes I have just you-tubed Gulda and Horovitz in the opening movement of the "Waldstein" at bar 29 the chord in the left hand is a crotchet but the use of the pedal makes it last two-bars. This is not good. Since the third movement has detailed markings for the use of the pedal we can assume that LvB knew what he was doing.

http://www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk/transcription_process.php     
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on March 03, 2011, 12:22:41 PM
            I apologise for interrupting the mood of reverent consideration and appreciation of great performances and maybe this is for george mainly but following on the discussion of a few pages back in which the comparison of several processes of trancription was made possible by a link to the Mediafire pages,  I have collated the samples into one item which you can hear on my website (link below).
http://www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk/transcription_process.php     

Can you provide a direct link to the samples? I can't seem to find them.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: early grey on March 03, 2011, 02:14:31 PM
Click on the link and scroll down, this should do it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: bigshot on April 04, 2011, 10:31:03 PM
I've posted a short sample of my transfer and restoration of Schnabel's Diabelli Variations here...

http://www.vintageip.com/diabellivariations.mp3

Schnabel's recordings are the hardest to restore because of the slightly distant miking, extreme dynamics and UK shellac with bacon and eggs crackle. I have a lot of theories on how to get the most out of these records without losing the percussive aspects in the low level passages. If anyone is interested, I'll describe my techniques. Some of them are quite different than most people who do this sort of work.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Josquin des Prez on April 05, 2011, 02:51:05 AM
I heard that the best transfer of Schnabel is on Pearl. Hard to find and mighty expensive, so i never got my hands on one.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: bigshot on April 05, 2011, 02:37:30 PM
It depends on the transfer man. I have some Pearl sets that sound like no noise reduction at all was done. With the Schnabel recordings, that would make them pretty much unlistenable.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on April 05, 2011, 02:42:54 PM
It depends on the transfer man. I have some Pearl sets that sound like no noise reduction at all was done. With the Schnabel recordings, that would make them pretty much unlistenable.

Indeed they are. They gave me headaches until Naxos saved the day.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on April 11, 2011, 12:20:47 AM
I've read some rave reviews of his Beethoven Sonata recordings. Before I buy them - they are very expensive - I'd like to ask for further advice. Anyone listened to these? Thanks!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Toccata&Fugue on April 11, 2011, 04:16:12 PM
I have Vol 1 and like it very much. He's a powerful player but not a pounder. The multi-channel SACD audio is great, too. Here's a review:
http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=5228
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Verena on April 14, 2011, 10:52:04 AM
I have Vol 1 and like it very much. He's a powerful player but not a pounder. The multi-channel SACD audio is great, too. Here's a review:
http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=5228

Thanks very much!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: zauberharfe on April 25, 2011, 12:46:28 PM
Maybe it's no worth to renew a discussion over such a little thing, but I feel I must stand up for the Pearl transfer...
It has good sound quality and continuous hiss, yes, but I think unlistenable is an extreme word to describe them. This one is my personal preference; much better than EMI, and maybe even outdoes Naxos.

@bigshot
what was the basis of your transfer?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on April 25, 2011, 03:57:59 PM
Maybe it's no worth to renew a discussion over such a little thing, but I feel I must stand up for the Pearl transfer...
It has good sound quality and continuous hiss, yes, but I think unlistenable is an extreme word to describe them.

I imagine someone who found them listenable would object to someone else calling them unlistenable. Personally, they cause me physical pain to listen to them, that's why I call them unlistenable.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 28, 2011, 09:53:02 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51V-mA8Vu8L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Looks like Rudolf Buchbinder's cycle has been reissued at a budget price.  Perhaps I'll get it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 28, 2011, 10:07:17 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51V-mA8Vu8L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Looks like Rudolf Buchbinder's cycle has been reissued at a budget price.  Perhaps I'll get it.

It is a new recording, a live recording. I have ordered it already and expect to receive it witin a week or so.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 28, 2011, 10:08:44 AM
Re Todd:

That's like saying perhaps the sun will rise again.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 28, 2011, 10:11:28 AM
It is a new recording, a live recording.


Hmm, a new cycle.  Good thing I already ordered it.  Now I have to wait a whole month until the next brand new cycle, by Peter Takacs, is released.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Florestan on June 28, 2011, 12:05:01 PM

Hmm, a new cycle.  Good thing I already ordered it.  Now I have to wait a whole month until the next brand new cycle, by Peter Takacs, is released.

How many cycles do you own?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 28, 2011, 12:37:18 PM
How many cycles do you own?


At least one less than I need.

The Buchbinder will make it 62.  I think.  (It may be only 61 - I'll have to recount.) 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 28, 2011, 09:44:31 PM
The Buchbinder will make it 62.  I think.  (It may be only 61 - I'll have to recount.)

What about the Gilels cycle and the second Backhaus cycle (missing the Hammerklavier), or the late Arrau cycle (missing the Hammerklavier as well as the Mondschein)? Or do you only include strictly complete cycles in your count?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: zauberharfe on June 29, 2011, 02:19:35 AM
@Todd
would you be disposed to share the cycles you own? I also have some (rare ones, too) but I would be happy to have some tips what to buy next.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 29, 2011, 03:50:36 AM
@Todd
would you be disposed to share the cycles you own? I also have some (rare ones, too) but I would be happy to have some tips what to buy next.

Here's also a list of what's available...  Although it needs updating, it might come in handy.

Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 1, 1935 - 1969
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Part 2: 1967 - 1975
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_24.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_24.html)
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/05/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html)
Part 4: 1990 - 1996
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete.html)
Part 5: 1996 - 1999
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_11.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_11.html)
Part 6: 2000 - 2005
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_21.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidW on June 29, 2011, 05:10:50 AM
That is a pretty good list Jens, with some interesting, insightful comments.  Thanks for sharing that list.  Also good to see more praise for Gulda. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 29, 2011, 05:11:36 AM
That is a pretty good list Jens, with some interesting, insightful comments.  Thanks for sharing that list.  Also good to see more praise for Gulda. :)

Gulda's the man!  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidW on June 29, 2011, 05:16:34 AM
Gulda's the man!  8)

Hell yeah!! 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 29, 2011, 05:17:27 AM
Hell yeah!! 8)

I should have added , for Beethoven.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidW on June 29, 2011, 05:18:38 AM
I should have added , for Beethoven.

I haven't heard anything of his outside Beethoven, guess I won't! ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 29, 2011, 05:20:08 AM
Or do you only include strictly complete cycles in your count?


I include incomplete but nearly complete cycles like Gilels, Gieseking (Tahra), and Backhaus.  I don't have the later Arrau.  Yet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 29, 2011, 05:48:44 AM
@Todd would you be disposed to share the cycles you own?


Certainly, though to my chagrin I determined that I overcounted my collection.  The Buchbinder will make it 60 cycles, which does count two incomplete but substantially complete cycles, the Gilels and Gieseking.  (For a purist, that means I will have a lowly 58 when then Buchbinder arrives - and that should be this weekend since the set already shipped.)


Annie Fischer
Arrau
Ashkenazy
Backhaus 1 & 2
Badura-Skoda (Gramola)
Barenboim 1, 2 & 3
Brautigam
Brendel 1, 2 & 3
Buchbinder 2 (on its way)
Ciani
Ciccolini
De Groote
El Bacha
Frank
Gieseking (Tahra)
Gilels
Goode
Grinburg
Gulda 1, 2 & 3
Heidsieck
Hobson
Jando
Kempff 1 & 2
Kovacevich
Kuerti
Kun-woo Paik
Levinas
Lewis
Lill
Lipkin
Lortie
Lucchesini
Mejoueva
Nakamichi
Nat
O'Conor
Oland
Perl
Pludermacher
Pommier
Roberts
Sako
Schiff
Schnabel
Sheppard
Sherman
Silverman
Sonoda 1
Wehr
Willems
Yokoyama
Zechlin

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 29, 2011, 06:02:49 AM
Whoops, I forgot the Oppitz cycle.  I was right the first time. 

Perhaps the fact that I can't even remember all the cycles I have means I have a problem - that problem being that I don't have enough cycles, of course.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 29, 2011, 06:04:00 AM
Whoops, I forgot the Oppitz cycle.  I was right the first time. 

Perhaps the fact that I can't even remember all the cycles I have means I have a problem - that problem being that I don't have enough cycles, of course.
That's a problem!  :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on June 29, 2011, 11:23:18 AM
Whoops, I forgot the Oppitz cycle.  I was right the first time. 

Perhaps the fact that I can't even remember all the cycles I have means I have a problem - that problem being that I don't have enough cycles, of course.

(http://classical.premieremusic.net/images/classical/cds/MMT2011-2013.jpg)

Here's one you don't appear to have which is well worth a listen. This is one of a box of four - very expensive unfortunately.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 29, 2011, 11:40:45 AM
(http://classical.premieremusic.net/images/classical/cds/MMT2011-2013.jpg)

Here's one you don't appear to have which is well worth a listen. This is one of a box of four - very expensive unfortunately.


I have the late sonatas as downloads, and sure enough it makes me think I should get the cycle.  The cost is what's keeping me from pulling the trigger.  Last I checked, it would be around $270-$300 for the cycle if I imported it.  I can download the entire cycle, but the sound quality is unacceptable for me.  Eventually I'll get my hands on it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 29, 2011, 11:59:57 AM

I have the late sonatas as downloads, and sure enough it makes me think I should get the cycle.  The cost is what's keeping me from pulling the trigger.  Last I checked, it would be around $270-$300 for the cycle if I imported it.  I can download the entire cycle, but the sound quality is unacceptable for me.  Eventually I'll get my hands on it.

I wonder if I can find it in lossless form, as I certainly can't afford that price tag.  :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 29, 2011, 02:36:44 PM
Still enjoying this Brendel set.  As far as the sets go, do you folks prefer the Vox, Decca, or the Philips?  Did he actually cycle through three times?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 29, 2011, 02:45:47 PM
Still enjoying this Brendel set.  As far as the sets go, do you folks prefer the Vox, Decca, or the Philips?  Did he actually cycle through three times?

Which Brendel do you mean, Bill? I see no image.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 29, 2011, 02:59:04 PM
Which Brendel do you mean, Bill? I see no image.

Sorry about that:

(http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa35/BillandLinda/Brendel001.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidW on June 29, 2011, 03:42:55 PM
I had to google that... the Murray Hill lps are the vox recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 29, 2011, 04:23:11 PM
Did he actually cycle through three times?



Yes, he recorded the cycle three times: once for Vox and twice for Philips.  The first Philips cycle, from the 70s for the most part, is the best of the three.  Decca branded recordings are reissues now that the Philips label no longer exists.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 29, 2011, 05:09:49 PM
I had to google that... the Murray Hill lps are the vox recordings.

Ah, well Bill, I can't say I am afan of that set. Haven't heard more o Brendel's LvB eiother, nor do I plan to.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 29, 2011, 07:25:47 PM
Thanks, David and Todd! 

Well, not sure how they sound on cd, but the vinyl is very nice at this end.  Now playing SIDE 1, Sonatas 1 and 25.  These discs are in super shape, so the noise on them is minimal.  Nice warm sound about them with a touch of hollowness to give them a touch of depth.

As for the performances, I have only one other modern cycle to compare them with (Kempff/Stereo), and I am guessing that is what you do not care for here buddy.  Might be just my luck that I own so little of these that I can enjoy this set. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on June 29, 2011, 07:51:06 PM
Thanks, David and Todd! 

Well, not sure how they sound on cd, but the vinyl is very nice at this end.  Now playing SIDE 1, Sonatas 1 and 25.  These discs are in super shape, so the noise on them is minimal.  Nice warm sound about them with a touch of hollowness to give them a touch of depth.

As for the performances, I have only one other modern cycle to compare them with (Kempff/Stereo), and I am guessing that is what you do not care for here buddy.  Might be just my luck that I own so little of these that I can enjoy this set. :)

I have some of the Murray Hill/Vox cycle, the last five from the first Philips cycle, and the complete second Philips cycle.   There are, essentially, some good points about each of them.  But like you,  I don't have that much to compare Brendel against--the only other complete cycles I own are Lewis and Schiff, and scatterings of other pianists (for instance,  Uchida's mini cycle of the late sonatas).  Each has its own strengths and flaws,  but I'm fairly satisfied with what I have.   I do have my eye on Kempff as my next purchase in this category.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on June 30, 2011, 01:25:44 AM

Certainly, though to my chagrin I determined that I overcounted my collection.  The Buchbinder will make it 60 cycles, which does count two incomplete but substantially complete cycles, the Gilels and Gieseking.  (For a purist, that means I will have a lowly 58 when then Buchbinder arrives - and that should be this weekend since the set already shipped.)


Annie Fischer
Arrau
Ashkenazy
Backhaus 1 & 2
Badura-Skoda (Gramola)
Barenboim 1, 2 & 3
Brautigam
Brendel 1, 2 & 3
Buchbinder 2 (on its way)
Ciani
Ciccolini
De Groote
El Bacha
Frank
Gieseking (Tahra)
Gilels
Goode
Grinburg
Gulda 1, 2 & 3
Heidsieck
Hobson
Jando
Kempff 1 & 2
Kovacevich
Kuerti
Kun-woo Paik
Levinas
Lewis
Lill
Lipkin
Lortie
Lucchesini
Mejoueva
Nakamichi
Nat
O'Conor
Oland
Perl
Pludermacher
Pommier
Roberts
Sako
Schiff
Schnabel
Sheppard
Sherman
Silverman
Sonoda 1
Wehr
Willems
Yokoyama
Zechlin

You forgot Gould -- if you don't know it there are some fantastic things there, especially among the early sonatas. For someone with your taste for interventionist pianism will relish his style, no doubt.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 02:03:30 AM


Annie Fischer
Arrau
Ashkenazy
Backhaus 1 & 2
Badura-Skoda (Gramola)
Barenboim 1, 2 & 3
Brautigam
Brendel 1, 2 & 3
Buchbinder 2 (on its way)
Ciani
Ciccolini
De Groote
El Bacha
Frank
Gieseking (Tahra)
Gilels
Goode
Grinburg
Gulda 1, 2 & 3
Heidsieck
Hobson
Jando
Kempff 1 & 2
Kovacevich
Kuerti
Kun-woo Paik
Levinas
Lewis
Lill
Lipkin
Lortie
Lucchesini
Mejoueva
Nakamichi
Nat
O'Conor
Oland
Oppitz
Perl
Pludermacher
Pommier
Roberts
Sako
Schiff
Schnabel
Sheppard
Sherman
Silverman
Sonoda 1
Wehr
Willems
Yokoyama
Zechlin

Thanks for this list, Todd. We have (of course) a lot of overlapping. But this is my list:

Annie Fischer
Arrau 1 & 2
Ashkenazy
Backhaus 1 & 2
Badura-Skoda 1 & 2
Bilson and pupils
Biret
Barenboim 1, 2 & 3
Brautigam
Brendel 1, 2 & 3
Buchbinder 1 & 2
Ciccolini
Collective of Russian pianists
De Groote
El Bacha
Frank
Gieseking  1 & 2
Gilels
Goode
Grinberg
Gulda 2 & 3
Heidsieck
Hobson
Jando
Kempff 1 & 2
Kovacevich
Kuerti
Levinas
Lewis
Lill
Lortie
Lucchesini
Nat
Nicolajeva
O'Conor
Oland
Oppitz
Perl
Pludermacher
Pommier
Roberts
Schnabel
Sheppard
Willems
Yokoyama
Zechlin

That makes 57 sets

I used to own Ciani, Schiff and the almost complete Gould, and if I had kept them that would make 60, but they "shrunk" to much upon me with each listening.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 02:12:22 AM
Now I think we have supplied Jens with much stuff for the updating of his list.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 30, 2011, 02:15:47 AM
Now I think we have supplied Jens with much stuff for the updating of his list.

Which ones, actually? I've been looking at the list, but it's overwhelming.

Buchbinder II, obviously... what else have I missed or has been added in the last two years?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 02:48:56 AM
Which ones, actually? I've been looking at the list, but it's overwhelming.

Buchbinder II, obviously... what else have I missed or has been added in the last two years?

Your list is incomplete. And as far as I can see, it includes no recordings made after 2005.

Where are

Biret
Brautigam
Gulda 1 (not the one you call Gulda 1, which really is Gulda 2)
Paik
Lortie
Lewis
Oppitz
Schiff
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 04:04:17 AM
I have some of the Murray Hill/Vox cycle, the last five from the first Philips cycle, and the complete second Philips cycle.   There are, essentially, some good points about each of them.  But like you,  I don't have that much to compare Brendel against--the only other complete cycles I own are Lewis and Schiff, and scatterings of other pianists (for instance,  Uchida's mini cycle of the late sonatas).  Each has its own strengths and flaws,  but I'm fairly satisfied with what I have.   I do have my eye on Kempff as my next purchase in this category.

Yes, I also have a smattering from the likes of Serkin and Moravec (two favorites) and the cycle from Schnabel on Pearl thanks to my buddy George here.  I continue to forget that I also have the Gulda from '67 set in the Complete Beethoven Edition I own.  I have not given those a listen yet, but hear they are worth my time.  Can someone here clear up how many cycles he has with dates and where my run fits in.  As far as the Kempff goes, I have the stereo cycle, but many here enjoy the mono so you may want to consider which one you want to start with.

Now continuing my survey of the Brendel Murray Hill/Vox: Sonata No. 2

PS If I am playing one of your favorites from the cycle during my complete overview, please let me know so I can give it an extra spin.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 30, 2011, 04:31:37 AM
Your list is incomplete. And as far as I can see, it includes no recordings made after 2005.

Where are

Biret
Brautigam
Gulda 1 (not the one you call Gulda 1, which really is Gulda 2)
Paik
Lortie
Lewis
Oppitz
Schiff

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html

Brautigam I will have to add, ditto Gulda "0", both of them weren't out then.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 30, 2011, 05:12:39 AM
I continue to forget that I also have the Gulda from '67 set in the Complete Beethoven Edition I own.  I have not given those a listen yet, but hear they are worth my time.  Can someone here clear up how many cycles he has with dates and where my run fits in.

IMO, the one you have is his best set. I believe Todd agrees. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 30, 2011, 05:26:24 AM
You forgot Gould


No I didn't; I don't have Gould.  I've heard some.  I don't want Gould.


Thanks for this list, Todd. We have (of course) a lot of overlapping. But this is my list:

...Gieseking  1 & 2



Do you have the incomplete EMI cycle on LP, and where/how did you get it?  That’s one of my holy grails, the other being Robert Riefling's cycle.



I believe Todd agrees.


Indeed.  The Amadeo set is the Gulda set to get. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 30, 2011, 06:08:40 AM
BOY, those lists are overwhelming and probably pretty much exhaustive of the choices!  :D

So, since there are some 'new' sets out there, what might be the top half dozen 'best' options for us who may want another set or two?  Thanks in advance -   :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 06:15:14 AM
IMO, the one you have is his best set. I believe Todd agrees. :)

Is the one I have his 1st, 2nd, or 3rd cycle?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 06:21:48 AM
Do you have the incomplete EMI cycle on LP, and where/how did you get it? 

Many years ago I owned some of the LPs (a gift from my father) but I parted with them later. I thought Gieseking was too prosaic. My point of reference was of course Kempff. But I wanted to acquire the recordings again for historical (and maybe sentimental) reasons. Now the set has been rereleased by Idis (2009) in acceptable sound quality:

Link:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/SESSIONID/22d46a7725f6c4527cdde565d1763a41/classic/search?interpret=beethoven&rubric=classic&tracks=gieseking&pd_orderby=score&advancedsearch=1


Vol. 1, 2 and 3 are the EMI recordings. The content of vol. 4 is released by Tahra already.


Quote from: Todd
That’s one of my holy grails, the other being Robert Riefling's cycle.

Mine too. If you ever see the Riefling rereleased, please tell me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 06:24:41 AM
Is the one I have his 1st, 2nd, or 3rd cycle?

Third.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 06:27:48 AM
Many years ago I owned some of the LPs (a gift from my father) but I parted with them later. I thought Gieseking was too prosaic. My point of reference was of course Kempff. But I wanted to acquire the recordings again for historical (and maybe sentimental) reasons. Now the set has been rereleased by Idis (2009) in acceptable sound quality:

Link:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/SESSIONID/22d46a7725f6c4527cdde565d1763a41/classic/search?interpret=beethoven&rubric=classic&tracks=gieseking&pd_orderby=score&advancedsearch=1


Vol. 1, 2 and 3 are the EMI recordings. The content of vol. 4 is released by Tahra already.


Mine too. If you ever see the Riefling rereleased, please tell me.

Thanks!  As far as the Gieseking recordings go, would you prefer the lps over the cd releases, even though they would be more difficult to track down (I am guessing)?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 06:30:11 AM
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/06/beethoven-sonatas-survey-of-complete_29.html

Brautigam I will have to add, ditto Gulda "0", both of them weren't out then.

Thanks for the update. Jens. This was not contained in your first list (reply 813 in this thread).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 06:32:43 AM
So, since there are some 'new' sets out there, what might be the top half dozen 'best' options for us who may want another set or two?  Thanks in advance -   :)

Which sets do you own already. I recall faintly something with Frankl.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 30, 2011, 06:32:56 AM
Now the set has been rereleased by Idis (2009) in acceptable sound quality:

Mine too. If you ever see the Riefling rereleased, please tell me.


Excellent, I'll have to investigate the Gieseking I think.

I'm hoping some enterprising company reissues the Riefling at some point.  I managed to track down six of the LPs, but I want the whole shebang.




So, since there are some 'new' sets out there, what might be the top half dozen 'best' options for us who may want another set or two?  Thanks in advance -   :)


Are you looking for more recent recordings, or is that not important?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 30, 2011, 06:43:12 AM

Are you looking for more recent recordings, or is that not important?

Hi Todd - well, I have only Annie Fischer & Kempff (the latter from the mid-60s) - probably would like both a 'period instrument' and a more modern set - thanks for any suggestions from you or others -  :) Dave
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 06:43:32 AM
Thanks!  As far as the Gieseking recordings go, would you prefer the lps over the cd releases, even though they would be more difficult to track down (I am guessing)?

As I parted with the LPs about 20 years agp no A/B test is practicable. And also the HIFI gear I owned 20 years ago was not up to what I own to day. So I can not answer your question easily. All I can say is, that the sound on the Isis CDs resonably well evokes the sound quality and character I remember from the LPs.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 06:45:28 AM
As I parted with the LPs about 20 years agp no A/B test is practicable. And also the HIFI gear I owned 20 years ago was not up to what I own to day. So I can not answer your question easily. All I can say is, that the sound on the Isis CDs resonably well evokes the sound quality and character I remember from the LPs.

Ah.  It sounds as if I come by the lps in the used bin for a low price then they would be worth snatching up.  Thanks! :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on June 30, 2011, 06:50:29 AM
Hi Todd - well, I have only Annie Fischer & Kempff (the latter from the mid-60s) - probably would like both a 'period instrument' and a more modern set - thanks for any suggestions from you or others


I can't be of much assistance on the period instrument front since all I've heard is Brautigam, which I find good to start but less compelling in the later works, but among more recent cycles I'd suggest Lucchesini (if you can find it), Lortie, Wehr, Lipkin, or perhaps Sheppard.  Though older, Eric Heidsieck's cycle has its substantial charms, too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 07:16:17 AM
So, since there are some 'new' sets out there, what might be the top half dozen 'best' options for us who may want another set or two?  Thanks in advance -   :)

1/ 2: Kempff stereo and Backhaus stereo.
    3: Arrau (1960es Philips set). Probably an acquired taste though.
    4: Badura-Skoda (the HIP set preferable for historical reasons, but the Gramola set offers also fine musicianship on a Bösendorfer)
    5: Heidsieck
    6: Annie Fischer

Lortie and O´Connor are outstanding but very much in the Kempff vein and Buchbinder 1 is much in the Backhaus vein. Buchbinder 2 arrived to day, but is unlistened to so far. Luccesini (live recording) offers a sympathic middle of the road performance.

Contrary to the consensus in this forum I am not that keen on Gulda. I find too much athletic showmanship and too little music in his playing.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 07:17:20 AM
Ah.  It sounds as if I come by the lps in the used bin for a low price then they would be worth snatching up.  Thanks! :)

Yes, I would agree with this.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 30, 2011, 07:40:16 AM
Hi Todd - well, I have only Annie Fischer ...

This statement recalls an episode of Happy Days when Mr. C told Fonzie that it was "just a motorcycle," to which Fonzie replied "and I suppose your mother was just a Mother!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 08:13:29 AM

This statement recalls an episode of Happy Days when Mr. C told Fonzie that it was "just a motorcycle," to which Fonzie replied "and I suppose your mother was just a Mother!

Classic!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on June 30, 2011, 10:58:19 AM
When we talk about complete sets there is another genre - sets by a pianist that were never completed by him/her for whatever reason. In this vein there are some outstanding sets that can still be had despite the fact that up to 10 of them are missing. I'm talking about the likes of:

Richter 21/32
Gilels (already mentioned by Todd) 26/32
Hungerford 22/32
Solomon 18/32

The latter two, if completed, could have been the greatest sets ever produced. Hungerford's performances are always excellent and the same goes for Solomon.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 30, 2011, 11:45:34 AM
The latter two, if completed, could have been the greatest sets ever produced. Hungerford's performances are always excellent and the same goes for Solomon.

Three things:

1. I just ordered the final missing sonata CD by Solomon on Testament, so thanks.

2. Are his concerto recordings on the same label of the same caliber?

3. Let's not forget Moravec, who really should have recorded a lot more Beethoven.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: zauberharfe on June 30, 2011, 12:17:39 PM
Let me also mention Bruno-Leonardo Gelber (who has recorded only ;D 19 of the 32). If someone sees turning up this half-cycle (on Denon) at an affordable price don't hesitate for a moment!

Another name to remember is Vera Gornostaeva (pupil of Neuhaus, undeservedly forgotten).

They're not just two more names to come up with something but are really something special. Let me know if you want samples.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on June 30, 2011, 12:17:55 PM
Gilels's is actually no less complete than Schnabel's. Schnabel left out the three WoO 47. Gilels left out the two 26 and 32 but included two of the WoOs.

It would be good to see Paul Komen finish his cycle.

I regret we didn't have more from Elly Ney and Sofronitsky. And I'm curious about what the Cortot recordings are like.

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 12:41:50 PM
When we talk about complete sets there is another genre - sets by a pianist that were never completed by him/her for whatever reason. In this vein there are some outstanding sets that can still be had despite the fact that up to 10 of them are missing. I'm talking about the likes of:

Richter 21/32
Gilels (already mentioned by Todd) 26/32
Hungerford 22/32
Solomon 18/32

The latter two, if completed, could have been the greatest sets ever produced. Hungerford's performances are always excellent and the same goes for Solomon.

The most regrattable not completed set IMO is Paul Komen´s . BTW he may happen to complete it some day.
I think Solomon,Hungerford and Gilels intended to make a complete set, but was interrupted by ilness resp. death.
Richter on the other hand never harboured the intention to make a complete set,  as far as I know he had not studied all the sonatas, and his recordings are very uneven and it is hard to find the optimal options.
Other partially completed sets are (from the top of my head) Kempff´s prewar set, Hans Richter-Haaser, Melvin Tan, 

Strictly spoken only a few complete sets are indeed complete since the Electoral sonatas are missing from most sets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 12:44:26 PM
Gilels's is actually no less complete than Schnabel's. Schnabel left out the three WoO 47. Gilels left out the two 26 and 32 but included two of the WoOs.

It would be good to see Paul Komen finish his cycle.

I regret we didn't have more from Elly Ney and Sofronitsky. And I'm curious about what the Cortot recordings are like.

Sorry, I had not seen your post, before writing mine. But at least we agree very much.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 12:47:08 PM
Three things:
2. Are his concerto recordings on the same label of the same caliber?

Almost better, his recordings of Concertos 1 and 2 are among my top choices.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on June 30, 2011, 12:50:35 PM
Let me also mention Bruno-Leonardo Gelber (who has recorded only ;D 19 of the 32). If someone sees turning up this half-cycle (on Denon) at an affordable price don't hesitate for a moment!

Not my cup of tea. Intolerably overstated interpretations IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on June 30, 2011, 01:07:20 PM
1/ 2: Kempff stereo and Backhaus stereo.
    3: Arrau (1960es Philips set). Probably an acquired taste though.
    4: Badura-Skoda (the HIP set preferable for historical reasons, but the Gramola set offers also fine musicianship on a Bösendorfer)
    5: Heidsieck
    6: Annie Fischer


    2: Backhaus stereo.
    2: Kempff mono
    3: Gulda "2" (counting: 0, 1, 2)
    4: Gilels
    5: Arrau (1960s)
   
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 30, 2011, 01:36:45 PM

This statement recalls an episode of Happy Days when Mr. C told Fonzie that it was "just a motorcycle," to which Fonzie replied "and I suppose your mother was just a Mother!

Hey George - LOL!  ;D  Well, as I recall, you convinced me to buy the Annie Fischer despite the price (although I did find a decent deal back then) - still great listening to my humble ears -  ;) :D  Dave
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 04:05:47 PM
When we talk about complete sets there is another genre - sets by a pianist that were never completed by him/her for whatever reason. In this vein there are some outstanding sets that can still be had despite the fact that up to 10 of them are missing. I'm talking about the likes of:

Richter 21/32
Gilels (already mentioned by Todd) 26/32
Hungerford 22/32
Solomon 18/32

The latter two, if completed, could have been the greatest sets ever produced. Hungerford's performances are always excellent and the same goes for Solomon.

Where does Moravec land with numbers?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on June 30, 2011, 04:44:02 PM
Hey George - LOL!  ;D  Well, as I recall, you convinced me to buy the Annie Fischer despite the price (although I did find a decent deal back then) - still great listening to my humble ears -  ;) :D  Dave

On a per CD basis, the Annie Fischer's set is still the most expensive box I have ever bought at $106.  I hope to find time to have a second listen for at least some of my favorite sonatas before the summer is over ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 30, 2011, 05:23:43 PM
Where does Moravec land with numbers?

6/32  :-[

From his website:

Sonata No. 8 Pathetique

Sonata No. 14 Moonlight

Sonata No. 15 Pastoral: 1969, New York and 1983, Brussels

Sonata No. 23 Appassionata

Sonata No. 26 Les Adieux: 1969, New York and 1970, Vienna

Sonata No. 27 Op. 90
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on June 30, 2011, 05:31:34 PM
6/32  :-[

From his website:

Sonata No. 8 Pathetique

Sonata No. 14 Moonlight

Sonata No. 15 Pastoral: 1969, New York and 1983, Brussels

Sonata No. 23 Appassionata

Sonata No. 26 Les Adieux: 1969, New York and 1970, Vienna

Sonata No. 27 Op. 90

That is an 0.188 batting average....there are pitchers with a better average.  Still, the ones we have are beauties. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 30, 2011, 05:36:23 PM
That is an 0.188 batting average....there are pitchers with a better average.  Still, the ones we have are beauties. :)

Yeah, I'll take his 6 over many pianists 32 any day.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on June 30, 2011, 05:58:47 PM
Forgive this newcomer to the thread, if this has already been discussed … which complete set(s) do you consider good intersections of less expensive and good?

TIA
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on June 30, 2011, 06:07:57 PM
Forgive this newcomer to the thread, if this has already been discussed … which complete set(s) do you consider good intersections of less expensive and good?

TIA


That would be Gulda on Amadeo, assuming it can still be had for it's original cheap price. EDIT: no, it's seems to now be OOP.

So, I'd say Kempff's stereo set: $26 new on amazon (that's 8 CDs): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CGJ3QS/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1309489622&sr=8-1-spell
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on June 30, 2011, 07:07:12 PM
Here's another permutation for the assembled wisdom.

What set(s) present the intersection of good, not expensive and HIP?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 01, 2011, 01:15:24 AM
What set(s) present the intersection of good, not expensive and HIP?

I suppose, that you mean PI = period instruments sets.

Only four complete sets have been made AFAIK, and they are all rather expensive or unavailable.

1) Malcolm Binns (only the late sonatas have been released on CD - the rest since long OOP LPs - have not heard these)

2) Malcolm Bilson and pupils (Claves - includes the "Kurfürsten" sonatas) for the most part enjoyable IMO.

3) Paul Badura-Skoda (the Astreé release) OOP but musically the most satisfying IMO

4) Ronald Brautigam (BIS - Includes the "Kurfürsten" sonatas as well) rather straight forward playing - sometimes a bit tiring.


The incomplete set by Melvin Tan (Virgin) is cheap. Tans playing is perfectionistic and often eartbound.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 01, 2011, 01:20:52 AM
    2: Backhaus stereo.
    2: Kempff mono
    3: Gulda "2" (counting: 0, 1, 2)
    4: Gilels
    5: Arrau (1960s)
 

High percentage of agreement it seems.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 02:25:59 AM
Gulda is still available for an OK price; if you're in Europe still for a budget price:
Gulda "2", Decca, Amazon US (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001GY6/goodmusicguide-20)
Gulda "2", Decca, Amazon Germany (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001GY6/goodmusicguide-21)

I have the Gulda in the Decca and Brilliant (re) masterings and can't say that the AMSI gets at all in the way of enjoying the set.

I had forgotten that it was also on Decca. For some reason, your links both lead to a Mahler two-fer. I found the set over at amazon.us though. Link here. (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Sonata-Concerto-Box/dp/B000BQV52A/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1309519436&sr=1-1)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 01, 2011, 02:27:32 AM
That would be Gulda on Amadeo, assuming it can still be had for it's original cheap price. EDIT: no, it's seems to now be OOP.

So, I'd say Kempff's stereo set: $26 new on amazon (that's 8 CDs): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CGJ3QS/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1309489622&sr=8-1-spell (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CGJ3QS/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1309489622&sr=8-1-spell)

Thanks, George!

Gulda "2", Decca, Amazon US (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001GY6/goodmusicguide-20)

This link actually takes me to an HvK Mahler two-fer.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 02:29:31 AM
Thanks, George!

This link actually takes me to an HvK Mahler two-fer.

See above.  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 01, 2011, 02:30:11 AM
Do you mean this one, gents?
 

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 01, 2011, 02:30:59 AM
See above.  8)

Yes!  The "page break" hid your precedent observation, George : )
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 02:31:41 AM
Do you mean this one, gents?
 



Yep.

A word of caution, though. I strongly suggest you sample each before buying, as their styles are very different.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 01, 2011, 02:37:38 AM
That would be Gulda on Amadeo, assuming it can still be had for it's original cheap price. EDIT: no, it's seems to now be OOP.

So, I'd say Kempff's stereo set: $26 new on amazon (that's 8 CDs): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001CGJ3QS/goodmusicguide-20

Gulda is still available for an OK price; if you're in Europe still for a budget price:
Gulda "2", Decca, Amazon US (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BQV52A/goodmusicguide-20)
Gulda "2", Decca, Amazon Germany (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BQV52A/goodmusicguide-21)

I have the Gulda in the Decca and Brilliant (re) masterings and can't say that the AMSI gets at all in the way of enjoying the set.

Anyone know the new Peter Takacs (SACD) set (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003X859AW/goodmusicguide-20) already?

Edit: Links fixed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on July 01, 2011, 04:02:21 AM
Continuing my survey of the Brendel Murray Hill/Vox: Sonata No. 3
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 01, 2011, 04:14:59 AM
Good morning, Bill!

It's time I re-acquaint myself with these.  Musically, I have fared far abroad, but these remain gold, of course
: )
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on July 01, 2011, 04:17:43 AM
Do jump in Karl.  I am clueless when it comes to these and many other things, but enough support here at GMG that I should come out better for my effort.

As for No. 3, I really enjoyed the Adagio and the Scherzo: Allegro.  Did not know that this one was dedicated to Papa Haydn. :)  Brendel is playful self on the Allegro assai. 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 04:29:50 AM
Good morning, Bill!

It's time I re-acquaint myself with these.  Musically, I have fared far abroad, but these remain gold, of course
: )

It brings me great pleasure to read this, Karl and I do hope that you let us know which one you choose and your impressions of it. I don't read the listening or purchases thread anymore, so if you could post a small bit here that'd be much appreciated.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 01, 2011, 04:40:31 AM
: )
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on July 01, 2011, 05:27:25 AM
Forgive this newcomer to the thread, if this has already been discussed … which complete set(s) do you consider good intersections of less expensive and good?


Top choices meeting these criteria would be Kempff, Backhaus (stereo), or Heidsieck.  You can also get Lortie, Gilels, or Frank.  Seymour Lipkin's cycle is available for $20 in CD-ROM form and also comes with all of the scores.  The music is in MP3 format, so you’d have to sacrifice some sound quality.  In other words, there’s plenty to choose from.


Anyone know the new Peter Takacs (SACD) set (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003X859AW/goodmusicguide-20) already?

It’s not out yet and keeps getting delayed.  If it comes out as scheduled, I’ll have it later this month
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 05:35:10 AM

Top choices meeting these criteria would be Kempff, Backhaus (stereo), or Heidsieck.  You can also get Lortie, Gilels, or Frank. 

Haven't heard Lortie, but I agree with the others. Though the Backhaus is expensive and OOP, is it not? 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on July 01, 2011, 05:36:55 AM
Though the Backhaus is expensive and OOP, is it not?



Amazon lists it for $52, and a seller for $30 something.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 01, 2011, 05:57:45 AM

Top choices meeting these criteria would be Kempff, Backhaus (stereo), or Heidsieck. 

Heartily seconded.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 01, 2011, 07:06:49 AM
Thanks, again!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 01, 2011, 09:57:19 AM
Haven't heard Lortie, but I agree with the others. Though the Backhaus is expensive and OOP, is it not?

The Lortie still awaits listening in my "Awaits Listening" cupboard.  :(

Nah, that's the MONO Backhaus that's impossible to get (last seen in Italy...)
The stereo was re-released four years ago in the US (a little before that in Germany)... and it's just magnificent.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WnW%2Bhny9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Backhaus
Beethoven
Sonatas (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000E0LB7C/goodmusicguide-20)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 10:06:28 AM
Nah, that's the MONO Backhaus that's impossible to get (last seen in Italy...)
The stereo was re-released four years ago in the US (a little before that in Germany)... and it's just magnificent.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WnW%2Bhny9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Backhaus
Beethoven
Sonatas (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000E0LB7C/goodmusicguide-20)

FWIW, there was a period of time (which has since passed) that that set was getting expensive.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 01, 2011, 11:06:28 AM
I think Kempff's stereo cycle on DG is most remarkable for his beautiful sparling tone  f you dramatic, emotional contrasts, or interesting ideas about phrasing and voice leading, or indeed a "vision" , then maybe you will be disappointed.

I really have rarely enjoyed Backaus's stereo cycle, to me he sounds clunky and inelegant quite often. There are some moments which I think are good enough -- Op 27/1 for example -- but not enough of them.

I think if you want a good affordable set with reasonable sound, consider Claude Frank's.

My favourite set is Arrau -- and I would recommend this without hesitation as the one to get if artistry is the main consideration. But maybe the cost is prohibitive.

But at the end of the day you have to listen to everything and decide what you like -- let youtube be your tutor and then make an investment, take a risk.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 01, 2011, 11:49:15 AM

My favourite set is Arrau -- and I would recommend this without hesitation as the one to get if artistry is the main consideration. But maybe the cost is prohibitive.

Arrau sounded FANTASTIC on LP but not QUITE as good on CD. It will be re-released at the end of the year or early next. At low mid-price.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 01, 2011, 11:59:41 AM
Arrau sounded FANTASTIC on LP but not QUITE as good on CD. It will be re-released at the end of the year or early next. At low mid-price.

Thanks for the great news! I am glad I held out so long.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 01, 2011, 12:47:25 PM
I suppose, that you mean PI = period instruments sets.

Only four complete sets have been made AFAIK, and they are all rather expensive or unavailable.
Thank you.  I was afraid you would say that.  Will  keep my eyes posted for Badura Skoda
Quote
The incomplete set by Melvin Tan (Virgin) is cheap. Tans playing is perfectionistic and often earthbound.
You just reminded me:  I have a 4 CD set from Virgin in which Tan plays the concertos, the Choral Fantasy, and on the fourth CD, a selection of solo piano pieces.    I rather like the concertos, but I found the solo works to be rather dull. I probably haven't played that particular CD in about 3 or 4 years.   I don't even remember which ones are on it: I think they're a collection of variations and bagatelles. 


  Seymour Lipkin's cycle is available for $20 in CD-ROM form and also comes with all of the scores.  The music is in MP3 format, so you’d have to sacrifice some sound quality. 

Is that available through the standard vendors, or just through some specialist venue?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: jlaurson on July 01, 2011, 02:02:37 PM
Lipkin:
Is that available through the standard vendors, or just through some specialist venue?

Available through standard vendors alright... (Also as regular CDs [three sets], if one were to prefer that.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TJR6M1CZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Beethoven Sonatas MP3 + Scores (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002JP49Q/goodmusicguide-20)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 01, 2011, 06:00:55 PM
Available through standard vendors alright... (Also as regular CDs [three sets], if one were to prefer that.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TJR6M1CZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Beethoven Sonatas MP3 + Scores (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002JP49Q/goodmusicguide-20)

MY initial enthusiasm from this afternoon has worn off.  But I'll be keeping the option in mind.  In the meantime,  I'm thinking of a quadruple play:  ordering Kempff, Gulda,  Backhaus and (I know Todd will shudder) Gould.    But not for at least a week.  My credit card bill for this month is already ridiculously high.

ETA: Gould can wait.   The Sony budget box I noticed on Amazon is missing a number of the sonatas he recorded,   so it's not really so budgety.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on July 01, 2011, 08:00:05 PM
Has anyone here come across this recording:

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/ATOP_8001__15692__01152009113557-8272.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 01, 2011, 10:28:37 PM
You just reminded me:  I have a 4 CD set from Virgin in which Tan plays the concertos, the Choral Fantasy, and on the fourth CD, a selection of solo piano pieces.    I rather like the concertos, but I found the solo works to be rather dull. I probably haven't played that particular CD in about 3 or 4 years.   I don't even remember which ones are on it: I think they're a collection of variations and bagatelles. 

Yes, Tan seems also to me more inspired in the concertos.

One important period pianist I forgot in the list for you, because his set even is incomplete so far, is Paul Komen (Globe), whom I mentioned earlier in this thread. His interpretatioms are conceived in a classical spirit, and are expressive without idiosyncrasies. His recordings are not just cheap but well worth the cost. Nobody knows if he is going to complete the set.

Link:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/SESSIONID/22d46a7725f6c4527cdde565d1763a41/classic/search?rubric=classic&tracks=paul%20komen&pd_orderby=score&advancedsearch=1
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on July 02, 2011, 03:55:02 AM
 Now taking in Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 7 (The Grand Sonata and renamed “Verliebte”).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 04:49:14 AM
... I'm thinking of a quadruple play:  ordering Kempff, Gulda,  Backhaus and (I know Todd will shudder) Gould.    But not for at least a week.  My credit card bill for this month is already ridiculously high.

Internet is a wonderful tool to provide some spiritual relief. I am not alone; other people do the same crazy things.

What a gang of lunatics we have gathered here!  ;D :P :-*
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 02, 2011, 04:57:50 AM
Internet is a wonderful tool to provide some spiritual relief. I am not alone; other people do the same crazy things.

What a gang of lunatics we have gathered here!  ;D :P :-*

"The things you own, end up owning you. "

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 05:06:14 AM
"The things you own, end up owning you. "

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Unfortunately I have not purchased the Palahniuk novel.  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 02, 2011, 05:06:55 AM
Unfortunately I have not purchased the Palahniuk novel.  :D

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 05:14:50 AM
;D

Although perhaps the correct reply should be: Fortunately I have not purchased the Pahlianuk novel. I mean in order to be coherent with the author. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 02, 2011, 05:26:54 AM
Although perhaps the correct reply should be: Fortunately I have not purchased the Pahlianuk novel. I mean in order to be coherent with the author. ;D

Of course. FWIW, the movie is better than the book.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 05:40:36 AM
Of course. FWIW, the movie is better than the book.

You have a well-earned movie authority (based on excellent recommendations), so I will forget my natural aversion to Brad Pitt and I will watch this movie.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 02, 2011, 06:19:42 AM
Went ahead and pulled the trigger on this 'un:

Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 02, 2011, 06:21:16 AM
Congrats on scoring that classic set, k a rl!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 02, 2011, 06:23:14 AM
Thanks, George!  Can hardly wait.  For the first time I can remember, I am in the mood to listen to the lot, straight through.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 02, 2011, 06:39:30 AM
Thanks, George!  Can hardly wait.  For the first time I can remember, I am in the mood to listen to the lot, straight through.

I almost always prefer to listen to them chronologically. It's a fantastic journey.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Bogey on July 02, 2011, 07:03:01 AM
That was my first one Karl.  Enjoy!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 02, 2011, 09:06:32 AM

One important period pianist I forgot in the list for you, because his set even is incomplete so far, is Paul Komen (Globe), whom I mentioned earlier in this thread. His interpretatioms are conceived in a classical spirit, and are expressive without idiosyncrasies. His recordings are not just cheap but well worth the cost. Nobody knows if he is going to complete the set.

Link:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/SESSIONID/22d46a7725f6c4527cdde565d1763a41/classic/search?rubric=classic&tracks=paul%20komen&pd_orderby=score&advancedsearch=1


have it bookmarked.  Am I right in undertsanding "innerhalb in 2-3 wochen" to be German for 'ships in 2-3 weeks"?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 09:21:58 AM

have it bookmarked.  Am I right in undertsanding "innerhalb in 2-3 wochen" to be German for 'ships in 2-3 weeks"?

You're right, but you shouldn't forget this part:

(soweit verfügbar beim Lieferanten) = (if it is available from the supplier)

This is important because JPC charges flat rates on its international shippings and when a specific item is not available, they simply cancel that part of your order and they send the remaining part what it is not usually a good deal for you.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 02, 2011, 09:52:10 AM
You're right, but you shouldn't forget this part:

(soweit verfügbar beim Lieferanten) = (if it is available from the supplier)

This is important because JPC charges flat rates on its international shippings and when a specific item is not available, they simply cancel that part of your order and they send the remaining part what it is not usually a good deal for you.

[puts up a sticky to remind himself not to order from JPC unless it's really absolutely necessary]
Gracias.  But I'll keep the bookmark up to remind myself  to look for Komen on other sites.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 02, 2011, 10:59:20 AM
You're right, but you shouldn't forget this part:

(soweit verfügbar beim Lieferanten) = (if it is available from the supplier)

This is important because JPC charges flat rates on its international shippings and when a specific item is not available, they simply cancel that part of your order and they send the remaining part what it is not usually a good deal for you.

Do you mean, that North- and South- American´s should avoid to order from JPC if the CDs are not on stock? 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 02, 2011, 11:01:04 AM
[puts up a sticky to remind himself not to order from JPC unless it's really absolutely necessary]
Gracias.  But I'll keep the bookmark up to remind myself  to look for Komen on other sites.

I think the Komen Waldstien is quite an eye opener in the first movement especially -- the wonderful piano gives an earthy, gutsy, joyful  quality to the music, I think. And there's a good one with the Diabelli Variations and some bagatelles.

By the way, I listened to Gilels plaing WoO 47/ 2 last night and quite enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 02, 2011, 11:04:34 AM
[puts up a sticky to remind himself not to order from JPC unless it's really absolutely necessary]
Gracias.  But I'll keep the bookmark up to remind myself  to look for Komen on other sites.

They are apparently easily available. Presto Classical and MDT lists them and even Amazon.com.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 02, 2011, 11:09:38 AM
By the way, I listened to Gilels plaing WoO 47/ 2 last night and quite enjoyed it.

I always considered the three Electoral sonatas to be underrated. They are inventive and expressive works, which should be comtained in  every sonata integral.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 02, 2011, 11:21:32 AM
Do you mean, that North- and South- American´s should avoid to order from JPC if the CDs are not on stock?
This will really depend on your order size. If you have a lot of items, one not shipping will not impact the cost per disc/set much. But if you have only a few and one or more doesn't ship, it might not make the purchase economical.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 11:24:31 AM
Do you mean, that North- and South- American´s should avoid to order from JPC?

No, not at all. JPC is one of my favorite stores. But their "ordinary" prices (not their items on special offer) are generally high for non-European standards and their flat shipping rates are criminal (EUR 28 to Chile). So when I order some items from JPC, I need to be sure that all of them will be available in order to prorate the shipping costs. If I just get a half of my order, it will usually be (from a financial perspective) a bad deal. Therefore, my usual policy is to choose principally those items "am Lager".     
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 02, 2011, 11:37:06 AM
... their flat shipping rates are criminal (EUR 28 to Chile).


 :o :o :o

Quote from: toñito
Therefore, my usual policy is to choose principally those items "am Lager".   

So Klinkhammer was financial suicide. I hope Book II is better than Book I, but I doubt it will be.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Antoine Marchand on July 02, 2011, 11:40:21 AM


 :o :o :o

So Klinkhammer was financial suicide. I hope Book II is better than Book I, but I doubt it will be.

Not really because I ordered it from Amazon.de.... Fortunately.   :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 02, 2011, 12:05:35 PM
They are apparently easily available. Presto Classical and MDT lists them and even Amazon.com.

So I've found out.  Vol. 2 is the scarcest, it seems (Presto out of stock,  Amazon US Marketplace has one copy for sale for approx. $30.   So I just ordered it from MDT, which apparently has it in stock.   Vol. 1, 3,4 and 5 are on my Amazon wishlist for now.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61IkdkeGqwL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

So, G-d willing, I'll be hearing the Op. 53 of which Mandryka speaks before long. 

BTW, no one seems to be listing the Diabelli Variations. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on July 02, 2011, 12:13:56 PM
Charles Rosen gets no love, why?

I prefer players who communicate the late sonatas as avant-garde works, plus Rosen has interesting rubato and historical understanding up through Debussy and Webern. Makes Brendel look like a lightweight. People forget that he studied with Moriz Rosenthal.

I would say Gulda or Gilels or Kempff + Hungerford + late Rosen + late Pollini. Mono Serkin.
Gilels for his unique integrity and sound and phenomenal #7 and #25.
then Schnabel for humor and spontaneity (I would put him first for someone who does not listen with headphones and can tolerate old recordings).
Richter for later on.
For an abridged first view Gulda (or Schnabel or Gilels or Kempff) + Rosen.

Fortepiano ("... from a more civilized age")
Brautigam esp. Vol 6.
Late sonatas perhaps Lubimov & Komen. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Holden on July 02, 2011, 01:03:45 PM
6/32  :-[

From his website:

Sonata No. 8 Pathetique

Sonata No. 14 Moonlight

Sonata No. 15 Pastoral: 1969, New York and 1983, Brussels

Sonata No. 23 Appassionata

Sonata No. 26 Les Adieux: 1969, New York and 1970, Vienna

Sonata No. 27 Op. 90

I'm listening now to Moravec and it's his subtle touch and shading that add a dimension to Beethoven that many don't seem to strive for. I have 8, 14, 26 and 27. I've heard 23 but don't have it (thought I did somewhere) and have never heard his Pastoral and would love to as it's one of my favourite LvB PS to both listen to and play. I'll hunt it out from somewhere.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Que on July 02, 2011, 01:07:44 PM

BTW, no one seems to be listing the Diabelli Variations.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wlPRgm7mL._SS400_.jpg)

Must be very rare by now, but very worthwhile IMO! :)

Since the fortepiano in the Beethoven-Haus was used, they sell it in their webshop (http://www.beethoven-haus-bonn.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=39601&template=ware_detail_shop_en&_mid=39158&skip=6) - might be wirth a try...but I'm not making any promises. ::)

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 02, 2011, 03:43:33 PM

Since the fortepiano in the Beethoven-Haus was used, they sell it in their webshop (http://www.beethoven-haus-bonn.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=39601&template=ware_detail_shop_en&_mid=39158&skip=6) - might be wirth a try...but I'm not making any promises. ::)

Q

Thanks, I suppose. My checking account is going to hate you when I order from there.  Site is bookmarked. About four other CDs that seem interesting....Good thing the Mahler birthplace doesn't have a gift shop.*

*And if it has one,  my checking account demands that you don't tell me about it!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 02, 2011, 03:47:37 PM
Went ahead and pulled the trigger on this 'un:



1 down and 2 more to go ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 03, 2011, 09:08:08 AM
Charles Rosen gets no love, why?

I this "take" we discussed complete (or near complete) sets. This is the reason, why Rosen was not mentioned. If we had discussed recordings of the late sonatas, I would have mentioned him fairly early, as I like his authoritative but still unmannered playing very much. In the same way I have also enjoyed his recording of the Art of Fugue.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 03, 2011, 09:21:52 AM
I think Kempff's stereo cycle on DG is most remarkable for his beautiful sparling tone  f you dramatic, emotional contrasts, or interesting ideas about phrasing and voice leading, or indeed a "vision" , then maybe you will be disappointed.

I do not think that I always want dramatic emotional contrasts in Beethovens piano sonatas. My top six list however is composed in order to cover the most represented different approaches in the greatest versions. BTW I think, that Arrau´s (1960es recording) is the most all round interpretation of these six, being manly, emotional, poetic and rich in contrasts.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Clever Hans on July 03, 2011, 11:30:34 AM
I this "take" we discussed complete (or near complete) sets. This is the reason, why Rosen was not mentioned. If we had discussed recordings of the late sonatas, I would have mentioned him fairly early, as I like his authoritative but still unmannered playing very much. In the same way I have also enjoyed his recording of the Art of Fugue.

I see. In my opinion one really has to divide early/middle and late sonatas, because interpretations address or not a fundamental shift in Beethoven's compositional style, though without losing humor. This is why Bruce Hungerford could have been the greatest cycle, Gilels for an expansive view. Solomon I find a little dry.

Paul Lewis is consistent in this regard but too precious.

I prefer Arrau's EMI sonata recordings to his later cycle, where I think he gets too distended and fat in the fingers.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on July 03, 2011, 07:39:51 PM
Have been listening to Stuart Goodyear storm his way through the hammerklavier.  Excitement plus.  Unbelievable technique.  Haven't listened to the last three yet.

Has anybody heard Peter Takacs complete set on Cambria?  Any comments.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 03, 2011, 08:01:16 PM
I prefer Arrau's EMI sonata recordings to his later cycle, where I think he gets too distended and fat in the fingers.

Even in the Waldstein?
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 05, 2011, 03:38:19 PM
So I've found out.  Vol. 2 is the scarcest, it seems (Presto out of stock,  Amazon US Marketplace has one copy for sale for approx. $30.   So I just ordered it from MDT, which apparently has it in stock.   Vol. 1, 3,4 and 5 are on my Amazon wishlist for now.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61IkdkeGqwL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Status report: MDT reported via email today that they and their supplier are out of stock.  So I've cancelled that order and it's back to the drawing board....
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 05, 2011, 04:13:25 PM
Status report: MDT reported via email today that they and their supplier are out of stock.  So I've cancelled that order and it's back to the drawing board....

Why not grab the amazon copy? Or at least a cheap ($6.99) download?

BTW, I find it puzzling that the record companies have not bothered to start selling their music via lossless download. Then people like you could get what they wanted instantly and save the planet at the same time.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: kishnevi on July 05, 2011, 04:25:48 PM
Why not grab the amazon copy? Or at least a cheap ($6.99) download?

BTW, I find it puzzling that the record companies have not bothered to start selling their music via lossless download. Then people like you could get what they wanted instantly and save the planet at the same time.

I probably will get the Marketplace copy, but I want to make sure MDT cancels the order first.

ETA 6 July 10:30 AM EDT  MDT confirmed the order is cancelled, so I'm ordering the Marketplace copy now in my other browser.  It's coming from Austria, so I may not get it until mid-August.  Patience is a virgin, as they say.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 05, 2011, 08:12:55 PM
I do not think that I always want dramatic emotional contrasts in Beethovens piano sonatas. My top six list however is composed in order to cover the most represented different approaches in the greatest versions. BTW I think, that Arrau´s (1960es recording) is the most all round interpretation of these six, being manly, emotional, poetic and rich in contrasts.

Have yo heard Kempff's 1936 Beethoven sonatas -- he recorded a handful of late sonatas and they were relesed on CD on Dante.  He plays with really clear voicing, intense inwardness and a really breathtaking pianissimo. Another plays where I noticed he plays Beethoven really well is in the Kreutzer sonata with Kulenkampff -- he somehow manages to be very vigorous and dynamic, yet there's a sense of the music being classical, balanced, proportioned. I'm not sure that makes sense -- but anyway, it's good Beethoven playing.

Nothing has ever grabbed my attention like this from the DG sonatas -- but maybe you could mention somewhere where you think he's particularly successful there.
 

Excellent, I'll have to investigate the Gieseking I think.

I'm hoping some enterprising company reissues the Riefling at some point.  I managed to track down six of the LPs, but I want the whole shebang.



If you do, please do report back. The Op 110 is really very special -- but you know that. You were the person who pointed it out to me!

I've heard a handful of others and I felt they were less inspired as interpretations. But if there are any others with the stature of the Op 110, that would be interesting.

There's a cost to his way with Beethoven -- all the rough edges are ironed out.  For me it's almost too great a cost: you end up with something close to tame. But in that Op 110  he sweeps you forward -- the music proceeds inevitably. And tonally it's ravishing.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Fred on July 07, 2011, 11:15:24 PM
Nobody has reviewed Buchbinders' latest complete set BUCHBINDER LEGACY.  They're live recordings made during the last few years.  I've only listened to the last two CDs, sons 28 - 32, and think they're stunning.  All of the control and intelligence of his first set but with the spontaneity of a live occasion.  Costs only $42 from Amazon US.  Unbelievable.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Todd on July 08, 2011, 06:07:41 AM
I've only listened to the last two CDs, sons 28 - 32, and think they're stunning.  All of the control and intelligence of his first set but with the spontaneity of a live occasion.  Unbelievable.



I've only listened to the first two discs, and while I still have a ways to go, I can't say that I find the set as good as you do.  Perhaps he's much better in the late sonatas.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on July 08, 2011, 08:19:19 AM
Went ahead and pulled the trigger on this 'un:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uiUQJIdsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
A fine choice, Karl. Let us know how you get on with it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 08, 2011, 08:21:01 AM
Looking forward to it, Dave; still waiting for it to land! : )
 
And, howdy!
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Leon on July 08, 2011, 08:27:53 AM
Looking forward to it, Dave; still waiting for it to land! : )
 
And, howdy!

Wow, that is such in important recording I am a bit surprised that you only now have gotten it.  It is arguably the only complete set anyone would need.  There are others I love, Arrau, Backhaus - but the Kempff is everything that one wants in those works.

Enjoy!
:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: DavidRoss on July 08, 2011, 08:38:15 AM
It is arguably the only complete set anyone would need. :)
Yes...one of the few with which I would be well-satisfied were it the only recorded cycle I owned (though I slightly prefer the earlier mono set, which strikes me as somewhat more...contemplative).
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Toccata&Fugue on July 08, 2011, 10:42:11 AM
I have Brendel's complete set and all of the ones that Gilels recorded for DG. Lately I've been buying SACD versions by Michael Kortstick on Oehm and Igor Tchetuev on Caro Mitis. The latter is my favorite--his technique and interpretations are outstanding, as is the recoded sound. Both are in the midst of on-going cycles.

(http://www.sa-cd.net/covers/4933.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on July 08, 2011, 06:07:35 PM
Fully concurr on the Igor Tchetuev recordings--I have the first three volumes, and a 4th has been issued (including the Tempest) but not yet available easily in the US. Sensitive playing, and stunningly recorded.  I also just received Buchbinder, and have only listened to the first volume---powerful playing, and it will be interesting to explore the cycle in full. Always interesting to hear a live set, warts and all, without corrections for minor slips, if there are any. Sprung for the Peter Takacs set too, even though I know nothing of the artist , except that he teaches at Oberlin. Since I was very pleased with the Craig Sheppard set, perhaps this new set from another professor will be a find. In any event, listening straight through over a couple of weeks to a new set of Beethoven's 32 sonatas,  one of  the pinnacles of western culture, is always a treat. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 08, 2011, 06:47:43 PM
Nobody has reviewed Buchbinders' latest complete set BUCHBINDER LEGACY.  They're live recordings made during the last few years.  I've only listened to the last two CDs, sons 28 - 32, and think they're stunning.  All of the control and intelligence of his first set but with the spontaneity of a live occasion.  Costs only $42 from Amazon US.  Unbelievable.

I have planned on getting Buchbinder's Beethoven Piano Sonatas as my last set of Beethoven Piano Sonatas since I already have 10 other sets, which are more than adequate IMO.  Unfortunately, his Teldec version is OOP, which may be re-issued down the road.  However, I know nothing about the RCA set ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Oldnslow on July 08, 2011, 09:16:21 PM
Buchbinder's new set was recorded live in Dresden in the last year. Interestingly, he's now finishing performing all the sonatas in St. Petersburg. He says he has performed the complete set some 40 times. The only other recordings I have by Buchbinder are his Brahms piano concertos with Harnoncourt, which are superb. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Coopmv on July 09, 2011, 09:38:02 AM
Buchbinder's new set was recorded live in Dresden in the last year. Interestingly, he's now finishing performing all the sonatas in St. Petersburg. He says he has performed the complete set some 40 times. The only other recordings I have by Buchbinder are his Brahms piano concertos with Harnoncourt, which are superb.

I have the Complete Haydn Piano Sonatas by Buchbinder on the WarnerClassic (formerly Teldec?) label ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 10, 2011, 03:08:47 AM
Have yo heard Kempff's 1936 Beethoven sonatas -- he recorded a handful of late sonatas and they were relesed on CD on Dante.  He plays with really clear voicing, intense inwardness and a really breathtaking pianissimo. Another plays where I noticed he plays Beethoven really well is in the Kreutzer sonata with Kulenkampff -- he somehow manages to be very vigorous and dynamic, yet there's a sense of the music being classical, balanced, proportioned. I'm not sure that makes sense -- but anyway, it's good Beethoven playing.

Being too late to get the Dante releases, I do not own many of his prewar Beethoven sonata recordings. Only the sonatas no. 2,4,8,13,14,21,23,24,26, 30 as well as the Kreutzer sonata with Kulenkampff. I do not think the general approach in these recordings differs that much from his later recordings.

Quote from: Mandryka
Nothing has ever grabbed my attention like this from the DG sonatas -- but maybe you could mention somewhere where you think he's particularly successful there.
 

Kempff plays a Steinway grand, but Beethovens sonatas were not written for this instrument and its great dynamic powers, and this is why I find Kempff´s subdued approach relevant. And he displays some distinctive features in Beethovens music, which are (not surprising) the beauty and poetry. For that reason I find him most convincing in slow introvert movements like the slow movements of Sonatas 7 and 29. But since no pianist is able to capture all the different elements of Beethovens music in the one and the same performance, multiple collecting becomes mandatory. And note that I did not say that one of Kempff´s sets is the only one to have. If I was told to select only one set, I would tend to choose Arrau.

In 1965 I attended a Beethoven/Kempff recital (sonatas 18,23,24 and 28). These performances were freer and more rich in contrasts than his recordings, which I had learned to know only a short time beforehand.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: (: premont :) on July 10, 2011, 03:41:12 AM
I see. In my opinion one really has to divide early/middle and late sonatas, because interpretations address or not a fundamental shift in Beethoven's compositional style, though without losing humor. This is why Bruce Hungerford could have been the greatest cycle, Gilels for an expansive view. Solomon I find a little dry.

There is certainly much sense in discussing ones favorites for the early, middle and late sonates separately, but unfortunately most complete sets do not group the releases in that way.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: karlhenning on July 10, 2011, 04:39:02 AM
Kempff plays a Steinway grand, but Beethoven´s sonatas were not written for this instrument and its great dynamic powers, and this is why I find Kempff´s subdued approach relevant.

QFT.
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 10, 2011, 09:11:42 AM
Is there anyone else here who is a fan of Edwin Fischer's late , live, Beethoven? Such  a joyful spirit -- and you can really clearly hear his limpid piano tone.

You're not allowed to tell  me that he sometimes gets his fingers tied up. In a great pianist that sort of thing doesn't matter
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 10, 2011, 09:15:36 AM
I see. In my opinion one really has to divide early/middle and late sonatas, because interpretations address or not a fundamental shift in Beethoven's compositional style, though without losing humor. This is why Bruce Hungerford could have been the greatest cycle, Gilels for an expansive view. Solomon I find a little dry.


Can you explain a bit more about this fundamental shift?

Is the idea that some performers somehow are more sensitive to things in his earlier work than his later work? I'm not sure I understand. Help!

By the way -- I don't know why you mention humour. There's plenty of humour in the late music -- in the Hamerklavkier and in the Diabelli Variations and bagatelles.

The pianists I like most in Beethoven --  Arrau, Gould, Frank, Levy, Fischer (Herr and Frau), Schnabel, Richter, Sofronitsky, Yudina   -- all have successes and failues all through the sonatas. Maybe Gulda I like most in the earlier stuff (except maybe VVS and EL who didn't play any real early ones)
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: George on July 10, 2011, 09:22:41 AM
Is there anyone else here who is a fan of Edwin Fischer's late , live, Beethoven? Such  a joyful spirit -- and you can really clearly hear his limpid piano tone.

You're not allowed to tell  me that he sometimes gets his fingers tied up. In a great pianist that sort of thing doesn't matter

Can't say I hjave heard it, but would love to. Hint Hint
Title: Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Mandryka on July 10, 2011, 09:23:38 AM