Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 750736 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4400 on: May 11, 2020, 03:44:17 AM »



This Beethoven year has so far seen few intriguing piano sonata recordings issued, and since I own all of the complete sets being reissued, I am forced to contemplate and buy single discs from whenever, including war horse compilations, which I generally dislike.  I found Jae-Hyuck Cho's Beethoven disc while poking around on 7Digital, so I went for it because why not.  Cho was born in ChunCheon, South Korea, started studying as a wee lad, then moved to New York to study some more, most notably under Jerome Lowenthal at Juilliard.  So he's got the academic credentials.

His warhorse disc includes Opp 13, 57, and 53, in that order, with a Schumann-Liszt finisher.  Op 13 starts off conventionally enough.  The Grave opener is strong, but not overwhelming, and the Allegro di molto e con brio is played at a proper tempo, has some nice dynamic contrasts, and some insistent and reasonably steady left hand playing.  The return of the opening material sounds a bit weak and doesn't offer much contrast, but it is inoffensive.  The Adagio cantabile is competently played, steady, and the cantabile playing in the outer sections is nice.  A bit of contrast is introduced in the middle section.  The concluding Rondo is a bit slow and tame.  Some of the right hand playing sounds tonally attractive, though.  Op 57 starts off with an Allegro assai where Cho plays with clean articulation and nice pacing, but dynamics are limited and attack softened a bit.  It's a bit polite.  The Andante con moto is pleasant, with a somewhat leisurely pace, soft or soft-ish playing, and a bit of tonal beauty.  The finale comes off better, with Cho adding more heft to his left hand playing, and moving at a decent pace.  Overall, though, the sonata is kind of bland and forgettable.  Op 53 follows, and Cho opens the Allegro con brio with some pep, though it seems a bit louder than it should, which in turn means that dynamic contrasts later in the movement are muted a bit, but it's good.  The Introduzione sounds contemplative and attractive, and it segues to a Rondo where Cho plays with ample energy, drive, clarity, and nice left hand sforzandi that still seem polished a bit too much.  Overall, it's the best sonata on the disc, but even it is just like a drop of water in a lake of Waldstein recordings.  The Widmung encore starts off gently and beautifully and picks up steam until the end.  Not bad.  Overall, meh.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4401 on: May 22, 2020, 06:46:13 AM »



Ikuyo Nakamichi's full set of sonatas and concertos in one handy, expensive box.  It is one of the 2-3 best recorded cycles out there, so if sonics are important, it is worth consideration.  For now, White Rabbit Express or a similar service is the only way to get the set out of Japan.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General