Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 776405 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.
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Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4402 on: May 28, 2020, 02:08:46 PM »


I have a good feeling about this.

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4403 on: May 28, 2020, 04:17:14 PM »


I have a good feeling about this.


Excellent news.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4404 on: May 28, 2020, 04:43:10 PM »
OQR? QOR?

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4405 on: May 28, 2020, 04:50:14 PM »
OQR? QOR?


Maybe her and her husband's own label?  The copyright is in his name.
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Offline Itullian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4406 on: May 28, 2020, 04:56:04 PM »
I just picked up 2 cycles, Bodura-Skoda and the Biret Beethoven Edition.
Bodura-Skoda is excellent.
The Biret is excellent as well. Beautifully recorded and inludes Liszt's transcriptions and the piano concertos.
Really enjoying it.  :)

ps how does one insert pictures here. Can't figure it out  :-[
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 05:03:10 PM by Itullian »
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4407 on: May 28, 2020, 05:07:54 PM »
The Biret is excellent as well. Beautifully recorded and inludes Liszt's transcriptions and the piano concertos.


Beautifully recorded?  Has it been remastered?
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Offline Itullian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4408 on: June 03, 2020, 01:57:39 PM »
Don't know, but I'm on my fourth disc and it sounds great to me.
When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4409 on: June 17, 2020, 01:19:06 PM »
I am enjoying the Scherbakov cycle so damn much. Listening to the Waldstein right now. His style is that he just puts his head down and plays Beethoven, but with guts and determination and a little bit of need for speed. There are little moments of pure technical showoffery which I've never heard dispatched so easily (1:53 in first movement).

Overall, it doesn't feel "personal" per se compared to someone like Lucchesini, he's more of the objective school. But he's a little too light and classical to be categorized as a "banger." Is a soft banger a thing? Compared to Kempff, he's flashier and faster. Compared to Annie, he's a little less rigid/Teutonic. Maybe the best comparison I can make in my own personal scope of knowledge is that Scherbakov is the answer to the question, "what if Jeno Jando was an absolute badass motherf*cker?"

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4410 on: June 17, 2020, 02:01:06 PM »
I am enjoying the Scherbakov cycle so damn much. Listening to the Waldstein right now. His style is that he just puts his head down and plays Beethoven, but with guts and determination and a little bit of need for speed. There are little moments of pure technical showoffery which I've never heard dispatched so easily (1:53 in first movement).

Overall, it doesn't feel "personal" per se compared to someone like Lucchesini, he's more of the objective school. But he's a little too light and classical to be categorized as a "banger." Is a soft banger a thing? Compared to Kempff, he's flashier and faster. Compared to Annie, he's a little less rigid/Teutonic. Maybe the best comparison I can make in my own personal scope of knowledge is that Scherbakov is the answer to the question, "what if Jeno Jando was an absolute badass motherf*cker?"

Most interesting.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4411 on: June 17, 2020, 04:32:41 PM »
what if Jeno Jando was an absolute badass motherf*cker?


He'd be called Yusuke Kikuchi?

Scherbakov is on volume six I believe.  I can wait patiently for the entire set, I know I can.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4412 on: June 17, 2020, 04:38:11 PM »
He'd be called Yusuke Kikuchi?

Ohhhh thanks for suggesting a really fun A/B comparison showdown.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4413 on: June 17, 2020, 11:05:04 PM »
Most interesting.

Agreed. That was a great description and got my attention.
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Offline George

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4414 on: June 18, 2020, 06:34:35 AM »
Who knew i had so much in common with the Hurwitzer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3-fow2ab3w
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4415 on: June 18, 2020, 06:37:39 AM »
Hurwitz is wrong.
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Offline Daverz

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4416 on: June 18, 2020, 02:47:44 PM »
Who knew i had so much in common with the Hurwitzer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3-fow2ab3w

I'm not going to watch the whole video again (I'm listening to music, too), so based on what he holds up, his choices are

Rudolf Serkin
Kempff (stereo cycle, I think)
Arrau
Annie Fischer
Gulda 1967
Brautigam as a choice for a period instrument recording
Levit

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/p3-fow2ab3w" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/p3-fow2ab3w</a>

BTW, I did a spot check of the Amadeo/Brilliant Classics and Eloquence issues of the Gulda set, and I marginally prefer Amadeo as crisper sounding.  There seems to be a slight added reverb on the Eloquence (perhaps due to their AMSI process).
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 02:50:43 PM by Daverz »

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4417 on: June 18, 2020, 02:55:50 PM »
Igor Levit's cycle did nothing at all for me, but otherwise, not a bad list.

Offline Dowder

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4418 on: June 18, 2020, 08:15:55 PM »
He’s fun to watch. More intrigued by his Beethoven symphonies list and Mahler Fifth.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4419 on: June 18, 2020, 10:18:45 PM »
Rudolf Serkin's Beethoven sonatas amount to only about 2/3 of a cycle and they are rather uneven, so I would not put this in the top rank. As for Gulda, I don't think the possible slight differences in sound should not overrule price or accessibility. Also note that the Amadeo set are 9 single discs in separate cases with only Spartan documentation and only one track per sonata! The latter fact alone might lead many to prefer the more recent issues despite the sound.
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