Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 786255 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 21679
    • Brian's blog
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4120 on: April 15, 2019, 12:26:51 PM »
Oooh! That is major news, even if I've not yet become convinced by any of Levit's recordings to date. He is certainly marketed as, and seen as by some critics I admire, a super-huge artistic talent. Bring it on.

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4121 on: April 15, 2019, 12:31:53 PM »
Oooh! That is major news, even if I've not yet become convinced by any of Levit's recordings to date. He is certainly marketed as, and seen as by some critics I admire, a super-huge artistic talent. Bring it on.

I liked his recording of the late sonatas. But I realize my listening to Beethoven is so skewed towards his late period that complete sonata sets are sort of superfluous to me.

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4528
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4122 on: April 15, 2019, 01:05:55 PM »
I assume the late sonatas are the same recordings as the ones already released? Not sure this will be of interest to me either but almost every professional track pianist I know thinks they’re great so I am probably the one having the wrong reaction. (I found his Beethoven anonymous and a little anodyne, if beautifully played.)

Offline (: premont :)

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9074
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4123 on: April 15, 2019, 01:33:24 PM »
I assume the late sonatas are the same recordings as the ones already released? Not sure this will be of interest to me either but almost every professional track pianist I know thinks they’re great so I am probably the one having the wrong reaction. (I found his Beethoven anonymous and a little anodyne, if beautifully played.)

Well, I share your view.  Anonymous is spot on, I think.

Despite this I shall probably get the complete set.
It's better to act today than to regret tomorrow.
(Mette Frederiksen)

Online Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 21679
    • Brian's blog
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4124 on: April 15, 2019, 01:37:23 PM »
Just relistened to his Op. 101. The late trio of 109-111 was fairly anonymous, but very competent; 101 is super eccentric, but generally in the sense of going soft and quiet in places where you might not expect. Bit of rubato in first movement. I thought some of his "poetic" touches were precious and overthought, but I really dug the way he deliberately monotoned his way through the finale fugue bits at an unchanging dynamic level, as if playing some sternly sexy harpsichord.

Edit: wtf I sound like Mandryka

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4125 on: April 15, 2019, 02:14:28 PM »
Reviewed my notes on Levitt's set of late sonatas, "assured and elegant." Then I listened to Pollini, which seemed to be in a class above.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 11:20:38 AM by Ghost of Baron Scarpia »

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15106
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4126 on: April 16, 2019, 12:51:43 AM »
I saw most of the cycle he did in London, anonymous it wasn't, it was more like the emmotional effusion of an alpha-male. Muscular,  marked dynamic and tempo changes. Flashy technique.

Horrible, but maybe that's Beethoven.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4528
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4127 on: April 16, 2019, 01:59:28 AM »
I hope not. It's also possible he's Pogorelichified at some point in the last decade or so.

While I'm here: does anyone rate the Angela Hewitt cycle? It's on Hyperion, so can't be streamed, but the penultimate volume is coming next month with the last (Op.106 and 111, presumably) to follow in 2020.

Offline JBS

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4347
  • If music be the food of love, play on!
  • Location: USA
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4128 on: April 16, 2019, 10:44:02 AM »
I hope not. It's also possible he's Pogorelichified at some point in the last decade or so.

While I'm here: does anyone rate the Angela Hewitt cycle? It's on Hyperion, so can't be streamed, but the penultimate volume is coming next month with the last (Op.106 and 111, presumably) to follow in 2020.

Remember what you said about Levitt?
Quote
(I found his Beethoven anonymous and a little anodyne, if beautifully played.)

I think it applies to Hewitt rather well.  (That won't keep me from getting the rest of her cycle.)

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4528
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4129 on: April 16, 2019, 10:48:41 AM »
That’s what I suspected yes, probably why I thought of them together.

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4130 on: April 16, 2019, 11:37:44 AM »
I hope not. It's also possible he's Pogorelichified at some point in the last decade or so.

While I'm here: does anyone rate the Angela Hewitt cycle? It's on Hyperion, so can't be streamed, but the penultimate volume is coming next month with the last (Op.106 and 111, presumably) to follow in 2020.

I like Hewitt's cycle (the parts I've listened to). It is just what you'd expect given her other non-Bach recordings - technically assured and emphasizes the texture of the music rather than histrionic gestures.

Offline rickardg

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 307
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4131 on: April 17, 2019, 05:07:45 AM »
Sorry for being semi-off-topic, but are these

https://www.amazon.com/Friedrich-Gulda-Beethoven-Piano-Sonatas/dp/B07N46SYZF

Gulda's Amadeo recordings in some strange digital release?

The reason I ask is that I'd like to stream them and none of the instantly recognisable releases seem to be available.

Offline George

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6184
  • Hey Bert!
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4132 on: April 17, 2019, 07:57:44 AM »
Sorry for being semi-off-topic, but are these

https://www.amazon.com/Friedrich-Gulda-Beethoven-Piano-Sonatas/dp/B07N46SYZF

Gulda's Amadeo recordings in some strange digital release?

The reason I ask is that I'd like to stream them and none of the instantly recognisable releases seem to be available.

My Brilliant Box (Amadeo recordings) says recorded in 1967. This link you provided says January 1966. However, the timings are almost the same, so they could be the same. Maybe they altered the date to disguise where they "borrowed" them from?
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline rickardg

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 307
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4133 on: April 17, 2019, 11:58:05 PM »
My Brilliant Box (Amadeo recordings) says recorded in 1967. This link you provided says January 1966. However, the timings are almost the same, so they could be the same. Maybe they altered the date to disguise where they "borrowed" them from?

Thanks for your time, George.

Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and get the Decca Eloquence release instead, but I don't really have space or time for 12 more CDs... :P

Also, it says "Remastered" on the cover, I can't help wondering: better or worse?

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2611
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4134 on: April 18, 2019, 06:52:15 AM »
Thanks for your time, George.

Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and get the Decca Eloquence release instead, but I don't really have space or time for 12 more CDs... :P

Also, it says "Remastered" on the cover, I can't help wondering: better or worse?

I have both; a result of geographic displacement. Never did a side-by-side but wasn't disappointed by the Decca after having discovered these on the Brilliant set.

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19148
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4135 on: April 20, 2019, 04:22:50 AM »




Should be better than Rasch or Williams. 
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

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2611
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4136 on: April 20, 2019, 10:25:44 PM »

Should be better than Rasch or Williams.

Just too hard to imagine how it wouldn't be better than Rasch, which was such a full-on crashing bore.

Offline Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15106
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4137 on: April 20, 2019, 11:21:55 PM »
 I think there's something very distinctive about Levit, and I don't see why amw and Premont and Brian are saying he's anonymous in 109-111: he can play in a way which is at one and the same time muscular and light, sprightly. This combination of strength and playfulness is not a bad way of making sense of Beethoven.

In truth though I'd heard him in concert with a Beethoven cycle I'd never heard the recordings. If anything, I've enjoyed the recordings more than the concert and I'm looking forward to the release.

For what it's worth, I'll mention that Levit was in one of the worst recitals, the most boring recitals, I've ever had the displeasure to be at: it was the two Schubert piano trios.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 12:30:01 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4528
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4138 on: April 21, 2019, 02:30:41 AM »
I went back to listen to Op. 106, and compared it with a pianist with a very similar interpretation (Jean-Frédéric Neuburger). In the first movement Levit never gives the music a real sense of forward motion, nor does he let it breathe in the more relaxed moments; Neuburger does both. This is not to say that his playing is metronomic it just lacks a certain inner life. There's not much snap to the rhythms, which are sometimes fudged, and there's also some sloppy voicing (e.g. not bringing out the top note in the opening motive) although the playing is overall technically superior to Neuburger's, especially the softer playing. I guess this is a subjective reaction for me personally but I don't get any sense of joy or passion from the movement. In the scherzo the main thing I can fault Levit for is his phrasing—he puts an accent on every bar without fail, and the accents are all uniform, so I don't personally get a sense of the larger phrases, which are all either seven or nine bars long in a sublime example of Beethovenian wit. His performance generally lacks a sense of....capriciousness I guess. But a lot of other pianists also fall flat in that regard. Levit's adagio is fine, dynamically very restrained and impossible to mistake for anything "appassionato e con molto sentimento" but such dirgelike performances have been an acceptable interpretive option ever since Solomon, at least. Nothing special but definitely listenable. Finally in the fugue Levit actually seems to wake up and deliver a performance that builds momentum and shows off some of the macho brashness you mentioned, but always tempered with a bit of humour. I guess that's the movement he spent most of his time practicing. It's a sparkling performance and reveals that he can turn out better than routine work, which makes the comparative flatness of the first three movements all the more puzzling given that this is, after all, a studio recording.

In any case I feel a bit more positive about Levit although probably still not enough to buy the complete cycle

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19148
Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4139 on: April 21, 2019, 04:53:25 AM »
Just too hard to imagine how it wouldn't be better than Rasch, which was such a full-on crashing bore.


I'm setting low expectations so that they are exceeded.
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