Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 800941 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4140 on: April 22, 2019, 08:57:05 AM »
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

I remember hearing him in recital before he became a big deal -- although locally (Munich) he was already being hyped -- and found his Beethoven typically Russian; structurally wanting, all-too-caught up in the moment; ultimately rather underwhelming.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4141 on: April 28, 2019, 06:48:05 AM »
Levit made very positive remarks about Schnabel in the Schnabel documentary, I think something along the lines of "no one played Beethoven in such an inspired way or with such feeling" so I figured I would revisit the 2 CD late sonatas but sadly I didn't hear much on it that has me too keen on this cycle.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4142 on: May 09, 2019, 01:48:42 PM »
I've now made it through Russell Sherman's cycle. I remember hearing it a while ago on Tidal streaming, listening to it in order and immediately being turned off by it as at least for my tastes the Op. 2 sonatas were really, really off putting to me. And then reading one of Jed Distler's reviews where he gave one of the discs a comically bad 2/10 rating; it just didn't have me interested in hearing more. I am sort of puzzled why Jed Distler felt the need to slam it to that extent when he often extols the virtues of Schnabel.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago I came across these for cheap and then decided to complete the set. Besides the Op. 2 sonatas which I'm still not a big fan of I think this is an extremely interesting cycle. Sherman's tremendous dynamic range, tonal color and his obsession with really bringing out the voices makes for a very interesting non-reference cycle. If you can look past his sometimes reckless use of rubato, tempo stretching, the little pauses he takes, etc. What I have founds helps is "listening to them from afar" instead of honing on these things, with that frame of mind Sherman has some tremendous ideas. This will be one of those great cycles I'll be enjoying for years, I think the way he breaks up the sonatas by volume was very well done as this isn't a cycle I'd want to listen to from start to finish but instead focus on in the order he presents them.

Now trying to decipher his liner notes does require some high proof whisk(e)y  ;D

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4143 on: May 09, 2019, 11:35:58 PM »

Now trying to decipher his liner notes does require some high proof whisk(e)y  ;D

Who wrote them?

What I have founds helps is "listening to them from afar" instead of honing on these things, with that frame of mind Sherman has some tremendous ideas.

That's sooooo hard to do.


with that frame of mind Sherman has some tremendous ideas.

An example, some talk through, would be much appreciated. I agree he's an interesting pianist in Beethoven
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 11:44:14 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4144 on: May 10, 2019, 07:04:01 AM »
Who wrote them?

An example, some talk through, would be much appreciated. I agree he's an interesting pianist in Beethoven

Sherman and Gunther Schuller wrote the liner notes. It's Sherman's liner notes on the sonatas that are quite peculiar, not as abstruse as say Glenn Gould's but getting there.

The Pastoral Sonata is a real high point. Others are 10/3, an unusual Appassionata, 109 and Op 90 just off the top of my head are some I would suggest hearing.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 07:06:13 AM by staxomega »

Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4145 on: May 10, 2019, 08:58:32 AM »
“Bloody hell!... I could use a drink!”

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4146 on: May 10, 2019, 10:52:22 AM »
Why?

Because sometimes with this performer the embellishments are intrusive and can sound inorganic, so my attention is inevitably drawn to them.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4147 on: May 10, 2019, 10:52:53 AM »
Sherman and Gunther Schuller wrote the liner notes. It's Sherman's liner notes on the sonatas that are quite peculiar, not as abstruse as say Glenn Gould's but getting there.

The Pastoral Sonata is a real high point. Others are 10/3, an unusual Appassionata, 109 and Op 90 just off the top of my head are some I would suggest hearing.

Thanks for that, I listened to the 109 and I agree it's rather good.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4148 on: May 10, 2019, 11:07:05 AM »
Because sometimes with this performer the embellishments are intrusive and can sound inorganic, so my attention is inevitably drawn to them.

Ah, I see. I thought you were talking in general.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4149 on: May 10, 2019, 09:23:52 PM »
Robert Silverman has recorded a new cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas, you can buy it from here or indeed get most of it for free. He uses a modern concert grand of some kind, but it’s OK.

http://www.audiohigh.com/our-destination/wolf-subzero-2/
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 09:26:20 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline George

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4150 on: May 11, 2019, 04:25:34 AM »
Robert Silverman has recorded a new cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas, you can buy it from here or indeed get most of it for free. He uses a modern concert grand of some kind, but it’s OK.

http://www.audiohigh.com/our-destination/wolf-subzero-2/

Have you listened to any of it yet? I found the sound on his first set difficult to get past. The miking on that one was odd.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4151 on: May 11, 2019, 04:53:21 AM »
Have you listened to any of it yet? I found the sound on his first set difficult to get past. The miking on that one was odd.


The Orpheum set was of a reproducing Bosendorfer recorded in a rich dude's foyer, so hardly ideal recording conditions.  The AudioHigh set is more standard.  The recordings are live, and on the close and dry side.  Performances are not up to the Orpheum set.   The best recorded Silverman Beethoven is the Rouvain label recording of the last three sonatas played on Steinway #500,000.


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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4152 on: May 11, 2019, 05:29:48 AM »
Have you listened to any of it yet? I found the sound on his first set difficult to get past. The miking on that one was odd.

Just 109, it's listenable  -- but I found that the first was listenable even though it's not well engineered.

« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 05:38:39 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline George

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4153 on: May 11, 2019, 05:47:01 AM »
Thanks for the info, gents!  :)
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4154 on: May 11, 2019, 08:21:29 AM »
a rich dude's foyer, so hardly ideal recording conditions.

Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert -- they never knew, or cared about, ideal recording conditions --- yet they often played in a rich dude's foyer --- I say, claim and maintain that recordings have changed forever, yet not always for better, our experience of music, and I say, claim and maintain that people around 1800 honestly heard in their music things that we are honestly unable to hear in the same music.

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. --- L. P. Hartley
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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4155 on: May 11, 2019, 08:27:47 AM »
Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert -- they never knew, or cared about, ideal recording conditions --- yet they often played in a rich dude's foyer --- I say, claim and maintain that recordings have changed forever, yet not always for better, our experience of music, and I say, claim and maintain that people around 1800 honestly heard in their music things that we are honestly unable to hear in the same music.

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. --- L. P. Hartley

I say, claim and maintain that the Sun rises in the East.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4156 on: May 11, 2019, 08:36:47 AM »
I say, claim and maintain that the Sun rises in the East.

You're as wrong as it gets --- the Earth revolves around the Sun, not the other way around.  :laugh:

Still, I say, claim and maintain that recordings have changed forever, yet not automatically for the better, our experience of music.
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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4157 on: May 11, 2019, 08:53:18 AM »
You're as wrong as it gets --- the Earth revolves around the Sun, not the other way around.  :laugh:

Still, I say, claim and maintain that recordings have changed forever, yet not automatically for the better, our experience of music.

It seems as though you do not understand the definition of "East," which is essentially the "phi" unit vector in the spherical coordinate system based at the center of the Earth. It is a most convenient frame of reference when describing terrestrial events. The Sun most definitely rises in the East, which is no contradiction to the heliocentric model of the solar system. :)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4158 on: May 11, 2019, 09:09:22 AM »
It seems as though you do not understand the definition of "East," which is essentially the "phi" unit vector in the spherical coordinate system based at the center of the Earth. It is a most convenient frame of reference when describing terrestrial events. The Sun most definitely rises in the East, which is no contradiction to the heliocentric model of the solar system. :)


I'm a mechanical engineer by trade , my friend --- I understand everything you assume I don't understand, and more --- just read Henri Poincaré attentively  --- Still, I say, claim and maintain that recordings have changed forever, yet not automatically for the better, our experience of music  --- I'd rather listen once in my lifetime to Pagainini or Liszt than thirty times to --- whom, name your favorite violinist or pianist ---
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Online Brian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #4159 on: May 11, 2019, 09:42:49 AM »
I think I'm gonna start using "I say, claim, and maintain" before all of my opinions.

I declare, state, and insist that I will!