Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 760283 times)

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Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4420 on: June 18, 2020, 10:52:05 PM »
No matter how hard I try I just can't warm to the Gulda cycle. I'm happy to pass it on to someone who would enjoy it.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4421 on: June 19, 2020, 01:20:27 AM »
No matter how hard I try I just can't warm to the Gulda cycle. I'm happy to pass it on to someone who would enjoy it.

I take it you are talking about his third, the Amadeo cycle? (As opposed to the earlier cycles available on Orfeo and Philips/Decca?)

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4422 on: June 19, 2020, 02:44:38 AM »
No matter how hard I try I just can't warm to the Gulda cycle. I'm happy to pass it on to someone who would enjoy it.

Agree concerning most of the later Gulda, say on Amadeo. Early Gulda can be interesting, however. Such as the Orfeo and the various Membran/Milestones etc. releases.
(( Btw, surprisingly, I found his early Chopin Concerto 1/Boult to be my favourite recording; his early Debussy is good too )).
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 02:50:24 AM by MusicTurner »

Online Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4423 on: June 19, 2020, 04:09:32 AM »
He’s fun to watch. More intrigued by his Beethoven symphonies list and Mahler Fifth.
I like the recent Telarc Mahler one where he deliberately didn't look at the contents beforehand to prepare.

Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4424 on: June 19, 2020, 01:12:01 PM »
I take it you are talking about his third, the Amadeo cycle? (As opposed to the earlier cycles available on Orfeo and Philips/Decca?)

Yes, it’s the Amedeo from 1967. Is the Philips significantly different in approach?
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Holden

Offline Dowder

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4425 on: June 19, 2020, 04:00:52 PM »
I like the recent Telarc Mahler one where he deliberately didn't look at the contents beforehand to prepare.
Haha. Yeah, on the Beethoven set of Jochum he looks desperately to find the orchestra Eugen was conducting but can’t find it. The spontaneity is endearing. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 07:52:27 PM by Dowder »
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Offline Daverz

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4426 on: June 19, 2020, 04:29:37 PM »
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.

It also came out on Brilliant Classics and is also in their big Beethoven box, which is what I'm comparing.  And as I said, the differences are marginal.

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4427 on: June 20, 2020, 05:31:19 AM »
Rather quietly, Maurizio Zaccaria has released six volumes of the sonatas, most this year.  Looks like he's on track to have them all released this year.  I'm game.
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Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4428 on: June 20, 2020, 01:57:39 PM »
Agree concerning most of the later Gulda, say on Amadeo. Early Gulda can be interesting, however. Such as the Orfeo and the various Membran/Milestones etc. releases.
(( Btw, surprisingly, I found his early Chopin Concerto 1/Boult to be my favourite recording; his early Debussy is good too )).

Based on all of this I've done some listening, comparing all three of the Gulda cycles and they are quite different. I used a selection of sonatas for my comparison including Op2/2, Op13, Op27/1, Op31/2, Op 53 and Op 109.

It's in the early sonatas where the differences between the sets is minimal and it's enjoyable playing. However, as Gulda moves further through the oeuvre you hear a discernible difference in approach between the Amadeo set and it's younger siblings. The word that comes to mind when describing the Amadeo is impatient. You feel as if Gulda is thinking "OK, let's get this finished so we can move on." and it leaves me with a feeling of impatience as well. Many of the movements are played at a very fast clip and don't seem to have much thought put into them. They just move inexorably and inevitably forward leaving the listener with little breathing space.

Now I am not against speed in the LvB outer movements. Two of my all time favourite sonata recordings are Rudolf Serkin's 1952 Waldstein and Gilel's 1960 Moscow Appassionata which both have some very fast playing. I also like Tomsic in the Waldstein. They make the music work, they make it thrilling. Gulda just makes it fast.

Listening to the Philips and the Orfeo recordings I find Gulda much more in touch with what I consider to be Beethoven's intentions. Of the two, I easily prefer the Orfeo. It's a young man's Beethoven and hasn't been overthought. Gulda simply plays the sonatas as laid out and it works. The sound is better too.
Cheers

Holden

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4429 on: July 02, 2020, 08:09:54 PM »


Another cycle. Based on the three sonatas he's already recorded, I'm not especially enthusiastic, but as always, we'll see.

Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4430 on: July 02, 2020, 11:19:46 PM »
Neither am I after hearing them. This is a somewhat idiosyncratic performance. While there are some very nice touches and some interesting ideas, it doesn't really do it for me.
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Holden

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4431 on: July 03, 2020, 02:27:14 AM »
The word that comes to mind when describing the Amadeo is impatient. You feel as if Gulda is thinking "OK, let's get this finished so we can move on." and it leaves me with a feeling of impatience as well. Many of the movements are played at a very fast clip and don't seem to have much thought put into them. They just move inexorably and inevitably forward leaving the listener with little breathing space.

Amen to this as far I'm concerned.





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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4432 on: July 03, 2020, 04:36:09 AM »


Another cycle. Based on the three sonatas he's already recorded, I'm not especially enthusiastic, but as always, we'll see.


I'll take it.  Giltburg has a web diary of the sonatas and project: https://beethoven32.com/
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4433 on: July 03, 2020, 05:25:03 AM »

Amen to this as far I'm concerned.

Another agreement, I probably wrote this somewhere else, I don't see the appeal of that cycle outside the Op. 2 and 10 sonatas (maybe 49 as well).

A rather big disappointment I heard recently in Op. 111 is Pi-Hsien Chen; flat and one dimensional. A surprising disappointment given how consistently good she is in most music I've heard her play; her Schoenberg disc in particular. 

Online Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4434 on: July 03, 2020, 08:20:26 AM »
Looks like the Giltburg volumes will be digital only at least for now. I just found the booklet and it confirms that these are audio files taken straight from the video series. Indeed, the video production is listed as the album's producer.

From the pianist:

"It is unique in combining elements from a live performance with those of a studio recording. The live element comes from every movement being a single, uncut take. The studio element comes from the ability to film many of those takes, to listen to each one immediately afterwards in studio-quality sound, and adjust your playing based on what you’ve just heard. Thus the filming itself becomes the last, accelerated, stage of preparation, as things crystallise, literally before your eyes and ears.

"The recordings presented in this album are those very films, stripped of their visual element, but hopefully preserving the spirit and atmosphere of the unusual circumstances under which they were produced."

Offline Madiel

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4435 on: July 03, 2020, 01:49:22 PM »
I listened to Giltburg’s op.2/1 and then watched the animated version. Not bad, and I actually think a lot of people Unfamiliar with the music would find that animation helpful.
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Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4436 on: July 04, 2020, 02:10:01 AM »
A rather big disappointment I heard recently in Op. 111 is Pi-Hsien Chen; flat and one dimensional. A surprising disappointment given how consistently good she is in most music I've heard her play; her Schoenberg disc in particular. 
I like the Chen but I'm surprised by your description of it—would have expected the criticisms to be more along the lines of heavy and overdramatic, or perhaps over-romanticised. In fact (contra "one-dimensional") my favourite aspect of her recording is the attention paid to polyphonic lines. But if you didn't like it, you didn't like it, obviously.

I recently tried Giltburg in 111, followed by Kosuge, preferring the latter as more stylish and with a better sense of musical ebb and flow. Neither one would be in my top 10 111s personally though. On the list for future examination (109-111 inclusive): Elisabeth Leonskaja, Jörg Demus (modern instruments), Maria Perrotta and Éric Le Sage; to be revisited: Cédric Pescia, Yevgeny Sudbin, Mitsuko Uchida, Christoph Eschenbach, Einar Steen-Nøkleberg.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4437 on: July 05, 2020, 06:09:10 AM »
I like the Chen but I'm surprised by your description of it—would have expected the criticisms to be more along the lines of heavy and overdramatic, or perhaps over-romanticised. In fact (contra "one-dimensional") my favourite aspect of her recording is the attention paid to polyphonic lines. But if you didn't like it, you didn't like it, obviously.

I recently tried Giltburg in 111, followed by Kosuge, preferring the latter as more stylish and with a better sense of musical ebb and flow. Neither one would be in my top 10 111s personally though. On the list for future examination (109-111 inclusive): Elisabeth Leonskaja, Jörg Demus (modern instruments), Maria Perrotta and Éric Le Sage; to be revisited: Cédric Pescia, Yevgeny Sudbin, Mitsuko Uchida, Christoph Eschenbach, Einar Steen-Nøkleberg.

I don't know about overly romantic but over dramatic especially in the first movement (really emphasizing some parts of the left hand, dramatic build up to crescendos) is one of the things that I think makes it a bit one dimensional. Which continues through the second movement, then playing some of the variations quite slow ("fake profundity"), fussy variation 3, and not particularly interesting variation 4 and 5 for me. For polyphonic clarity and attention I think Pogorelich is even better here (maybe cheating given how little pedal he uses), but it's not a version I want to hear often.

I think I was more taken back given how great she is with Schoenberg, Boulez and I think (don't know this music well) Cage as well.

I'll be interested in what you think of Yevgeny Sudbin, I bought that soon after it came out didn't think it was that special.

Edit: FWIW I do prefer a more romantic account but it needs to be balanced and have that enigmatic "reaching quality". Some of my references are Lucchesini, Ernst Levy, Pollini 1970s and maybe Annie Fischer EMI studio.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 06:13:41 AM by hvbias »

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4438 on: July 05, 2020, 07:13:52 AM »
Count me in disagreement with Chen's op.111 as one-dimensional. I thought it was an excellent performance, though I didn't like her op.101 on the same disc quite as much.