Beethoven's Piano Sonatas

Started by George, July 21, 2007, 07:27:17 PM

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Hans Holbein

I wonder if anyone here might be able to help me out. Some years ago I bought the L'Oiseau-Lyre Classical & Romantic box, largely because it contained the Malcolm Binns Beethoven sonatas. Well, it took me a good while to get around to listening to the whole thing, and I have found that the last track on one of the discs is completely unplayable and unrippable. It's the last track on CD 33 - the last movement of the Appassionata.

I've tried repeatedly with two different CD drives and two different CD players, but without success. The disc always skips or freezes.

This is perhaps due to the decision made by the set's producers to cram more than 83 minutes of music onto the CD in question.

Ordinarily, I would simply go to Presto or some other purveyor of downloads, buy the missing track, and that would be that. But this set does not seem to be available for downloading or streaming anywhere. Searching less licit channels has also proved fruitless.

I suppose I could write to Universal. But I have a feeling that wouldn't amount to anything.

That's why I'm asking GMG for help. If anyone has a nice clean digital copy of this single track, and are willing to share it with me, please let me know.

Or alternately, if anyone knows a download source, that would be good too.

Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to provide!

The missing track again is Track 12 from CD 33 of the L'Oiseau-Lyre "Classical & Early Romantic" box set.

Hans Holbein

This evening I remembered that I had one more CD player available to try - a Sony from 1986 that I had put away in storage. It didn't exactly work, but to my surprise it outperformed all the other players and drives I had tried. I was able to listen to the whole movement, BUT it was accompanied by constant, repetitive CD skipping sounds. So I'm still looking for a clean copy...

Hans Holbein

Thank you! You've solved a very frustrating problem and I appreciate it.

NorthNYMark

Hello, GMG-ers! I was active on the forum for a while, quite a few years ago at this point, but then took a long-ish break from classical music obsession. That obsession returned with a vengence over the past couple years, but only recently have I found the time to return to the forum and start exploring some of these threads. In particular, I have been focused on Beethoven's sonatas over the past weeks, and have managed to read this entire thread. What a wonderful trove of insight, especially from regular contributors like Todd, George, Mandryka, Premont, and AMW, among others.

It was also kind of fascinating to come across my own posts from back in 2015. At that time, I was new to the sonatas, but had done enough reading and sampling to have purchased two complete sets: the Backhaus stereo and the Annie Fischer. I was contemplating acquiring the Gulda Amadeo and the Lucchesini sets (the latter of which was very tough to acquire at that point). Fast forward all these years, and I recently acquired both those sets, along with the period-instrument Badura-Skoda set.

First of all, it probably goers without saying that I am just in awe of these compositions. I'm not one who tends to believe in transcendental concepts like "genius," but I can certainly see why Beethoven's body of work would prompt such thinking. Even knowing next to nothing about music theory, the sheer complexity of both sound and emotion that emerges in these performances from this seemingly straightforward instrument consisting of 81 hammered notes is nothing short of staggering.

I'd like to share a few thoughts about the cycles I currently own, and some others I'm considering acquiring in the near future. To begin with, for my own tastes, I think I made a wise decision with my initial purchase of the Fischer and stereo Backhaus cycles. For one thing, I really seem to enjoy the sound of Bösendorfer pianos, with what I would describe as an enhanced sonic contrast (in comparison to other modern pianos) between the powerful, thundering growling lower notes and the twinklingly delicate higher notes. Both these sets feature fantastic recorded sound as well, with the Fischer standing out for the sheer palpability of the bass and the Backhaus featuring a perfect balance of clarity and sweetness throughout the tonal range.I also enjoy both their interpretive voices, with Fischer having a very dramatic, intense approach, and Backhaus favoring a somewhat smaller-scaled, more spontaneous-seeming approach that somehow strikes me as "just right" in a way that's hard for me to put my finger on in many of the sonatas.

Lucchesini is interesting in that I think I enjoy his lushly sensuous style, but (as I now see I pointed out back in 2015, when I must have sampled it over my speakers via Spotity from my iPad)  I find the highly reverberant live acoustic distracting. I noticed Brian mentioned a few pages back that he loved the reverb, but thought it worked better in the car or with headphones than over full speakers. I think there's something to that, as I didn't notice the problem until I heard over my full system. I don't think the engineering is bad--to the contrary, it's tonally very balanced--but it seems to be a nice capture of a performance in what to me is simply an overly reverberant space (though perhaps different microphone placement could have created a closer piano sound). Brian thought a drier perspective would have taken away some of the magic of this singularly flowing performance. I can see that up to a point, but perhaps something somewhere in between this cavernousness and a more traditionally audiophile perspective may have been ideal.

That said, I've just discovered what may just be my ideal recording, particularly from the perspective of the sound capture, in the Badura-Skoda period set. Good heavens, what I'm hearing from this set simply leaves me awestruck. From having previously sampled some of the Brautigam set, which everyone was talking about back when I was first exploring the sonatas, I had the idea that a fortepiano sounded kind of like a neutered modern piano, and the source of interest was in hearing how the pianist would try to make up for its limitations. With Badura-Skoda, I'm not getting that impression in any way, shape, or form--rather than working around its limitations, he seems to be making the case that these fortepianos (actual vintage ones, as opposed to the modern recreations many pianists seem to have used) can do many things that modern pianos cannot, particularly in terms of textural contrast and spectacular (sometimes almost psychedelically so) tone colorations. The contrast between bass and treble textures I enjoy on Bösendorfers is even more pronounced on these instruments, and their relative lack of sustain also allows for faster playing to sound far more natural and clearly articulated than on modern pianos, perhaps allowing Beethoven's oft-debated tempo indications to make more sense. For the most part, the interpretations have lived up to the incredible sonics, with even the more tender moments coming across as effectively as the spectacular ones. I'm honestly surprised this set hasn't produced more discussion, pro or con. (For those who are curious, it's available for only $20 as a FLAC download from Qobuz, as is the once-unobtainable Lucchesini set).

To further emphasize the strengths of this set, I downloaded it on the very same day I received the Gulda set in the mail. The Gulda was a surprising disappointment--I never would have guessed from my online sampling how mediocre the sonics were, and I also remembered the the performances being less bland, though I think there are some nice aspects to several of the interpretations I've heard so far that are quite different from what most people (both supporters and detractors of the set) have described. First, on the sonics: they are not terrible, but I hear a kind of glaring upper midrange that isn't exactly harsh, but is kind of overbearing and even slightly fatiguing. Conversely, bass and upper treble seem rolled off, leaving an impression of somewhat blurry mushiness to go along with the midrange glare. This is the Amadeo Decca Eloquence version, so it's possible that the Brilliant version avoids these problems (though some posters in this thread have said that the sonic differences are minimal).

Interpretation-wise, my initial instinct (starting my listening with the Pastoral and Op. 31 sonatas) was that these came across as very bland, somewhat uninpspired sight-readings. I've never heard Jeno Jando's performances, but these sounded pretty much what I imagined Jando's interpretations to sound like based on how people describe them. I didn't really notice the speed people usually talk about with regard to Gulda, in part because the notes tend to blur together enough that the overall impression lacks energy. On the other hand, there is something kind of subtly compelling about his swift but soft-edged approach--it can sound kind of relaxed (despite the quick tempos) and even conversational at times, somewhat in the vein of Backhaus, but in a less unpredictable way. I noticed he had a surprisingly effective "Moonlight" sonata, and I thought his no. 28 had an extra bit of subtle tension that made it one of his more effective performances (it probably helped my impression of this Gulda performance that no. 28 seemed to be a rare sonata where Badura-Skoda felt a little uninspired). I thought Gulda's "Hammerclavier" was enjoyable as well, albeit in a considerably more low-key way than most of my favorite versions. On the other hand, his final three sonatas just felt a little too bland and lacking in both sonic and emotional texture to me.

I realize this is a LONG post--sorry about that, and many thanks to anyone who's actually read this far! I'm curious as to whether anyone has any thoughts about my impressions of these particular cycles. I'll probably follow up shortly with some thoughts on cycles I'm considering for future purchases, as well as further explorations of some of the earlier sonatas that I've been somewhat neglecting so far in my journey of discovery.

Atriod

Quote from: NorthNYMark on February 09, 2024, 03:36:52 PMHello, GMG-ers! I was active on the forum for a while, quite a few years ago at this point, but then took a long-ish break from classical music obsession. That obsession returned with a vengence over the past couple years, but only recently have I found the time to return to the forum and start exploring some of these threads. In particular, I have been focused on Beethoven's sonatas over the past weeks, and have managed to read this entire thread. What a wonderful trove of insight, especially from regular contributors like Todd, George, Mandryka, Premont, and AMW, among others.

It was also kind of fascinating to come across my own posts from back in 2015. At that time, I was new to the sonatas, but had done enough reading and sampling to have purchased two complete sets: the Backhaus stereo and the Annie Fischer. I was contemplating acquiring the Gulda Amadeo and the Lucchesini sets (the latter of which was very tough to acquire at that point). Fast forward all these years, and I recently acquired both those sets, along with the period-instrument Badura-Skoda set.

First of all, it probably goers without saying that I am just in awe of these compositions. I'm not one who tends to believe in transcendental concepts like "genius," but I can certainly see why Beethoven's body of work would prompt such thinking. Even knowing next to nothing about music theory, the sheer complexity of both sound and emotion that emerges in these performances from this seemingly straightforward instrument consisting of 81 hammered notes is nothing short of staggering.

I'd like to share a few thoughts about the cycles I currently own, and some others I'm considering acquiring in the near future. To begin with, for my own tastes, I think I made a wise decision with my initial purchase of the Fischer and stereo Backhaus cycles. For one thing, I really seem to enjoy the sound of Bösendorfer pianos, with what I would describe as an enhanced sonic contrast (in comparison to other modern pianos) between the powerful, thundering growling lower notes and the twinklingly delicate higher notes. Both these sets feature fantastic recorded sound as well, with the Fischer standing out for the sheer palpability of the bass and the Backhaus featuring a perfect balance of clarity and sweetness throughout the tonal range.I also enjoy both their interpretive voices, with Fischer having a very dramatic, intense approach, and Backhaus favoring a somewhat smaller-scaled, more spontaneous-seeming approach that somehow strikes me as "just right" in a way that's hard for me to put my finger on in many of the sonatas.

Lucchesini is interesting in that I think I enjoy his lushly sensuous style, but (as I now see I pointed out back in 2015, when I must have sampled it over my speakers via Spotity from my iPad)  I find the highly reverberant live acoustic distracting. I noticed Brian mentioned a few pages back that he loved the reverb, but thought it worked better in the car or with headphones than over full speakers. I think there's something to that, as I didn't notice the problem until I heard over my full system. I don't think the engineering is bad--to the contrary, it's tonally very balanced--but it seems to be a nice capture of a performance in what to me is simply an overly reverberant space (though perhaps different microphone placement could have created a closer piano sound). Brian thought a drier perspective would have taken away some of the magic of this singularly flowing performance. I can see that up to a point, but perhaps something somewhere in between this cavernousness and a more traditionally audiophile perspective may have been ideal.

That said, I've just discovered what may just be my ideal recording, particularly from the perspective of the sound capture, in the Badura-Skoda period set. Good heavens, what I'm hearing from this set simply leaves me awestruck. From having previously sampled some of the Brautigam set, which everyone was talking about back when I was first exploring the sonatas, I had the idea that a fortepiano sounded kind of like a neutered modern piano, and the source of interest was in hearing how the pianist would try to make up for its limitations. With Badura-Skoda, I'm not getting that impression in any way, shape, or form--rather than working around its limitations, he seems to be making the case that these fortepianos (actual vintage ones, as opposed to the modern recreations many pianists seem to have used) can do many things that modern pianos cannot, particularly in terms of textural contrast and spectacular (sometimes almost psychedelically so) tone colorations. The contrast between bass and treble textures I enjoy on Bösendorfers is even more pronounced on these instruments, and their relative lack of sustain also allows for faster playing to sound far more natural and clearly articulated than on modern pianos, perhaps allowing Beethoven's oft-debated tempo indications to make more sense. For the most part, the interpretations have lived up to the incredible sonics, with even the more tender moments coming across as effectively as the spectacular ones. I'm honestly surprised this set hasn't produced more discussion, pro or con. (For those who are curious, it's available for only $20 as a FLAC download from Qobuz, as is the once-unobtainable Lucchesini set).

To further emphasize the strengths of this set, I downloaded it on the very same day I received the Gulda set in the mail. The Gulda was a surprising disappointment--I never would have guessed from my online sampling how mediocre the sonics were, and I also remembered the the performances being less bland, though I think there are some nice aspects to several of the interpretations I've heard so far that are quite different from what most people (both supporters and detractors of the set) have described. First, on the sonics: they are not terrible, but I hear a kind of glaring upper midrange that isn't exactly harsh, but is kind of overbearing and even slightly fatiguing. Conversely, bass and upper treble seem rolled off, leaving an impression of somewhat blurry mushiness to go along with the midrange glare. This is the Amadeo Decca Eloquence version, so it's possible that the Brilliant version avoids these problems (though some posters in this thread have said that the sonic differences are minimal).

Interpretation-wise, my initial instinct (starting my listening with the Pastoral and Op. 31 sonatas) was that these came across as very bland, somewhat uninpspired sight-readings. I've never heard Jeno Jando's performances, but these sounded pretty much what I imagined Jando's interpretations to sound like based on how people describe them. I didn't really notice the speed people usually talk about with regard to Gulda, in part because the notes tend to blur together enough that the overall impression lacks energy. On the other hand, there is something kind of subtly compelling about his swift but soft-edged approach--it can sound kind of relaxed (despite the quick tempos) and even conversational at times, somewhat in the vein of Backhaus, but in a less unpredictable way. I noticed he had a surprisingly effective "Moonlight" sonata, and I thought his no. 28 had an extra bit of subtle tension that made it one of his more effective performances (it probably helped my impression of this Gulda performance that no. 28 seemed to be a rare sonata where Badura-Skoda felt a little uninspired). I thought Gulda's "Hammerclavier" was enjoyable as well, albeit in a considerably more low-key way than most of my favorite versions. On the other hand, his final three sonatas just felt a little too bland and lacking in both sonic and emotional texture to me.

I realize this is a LONG post--sorry about that, and many thanks to anyone who's actually read this far! I'm curious as to whether anyone has any thoughts about my impressions of these particular cycles. I'll probably follow up shortly with some thoughts on cycles I'm considering for future purchases, as well as further explorations of some of the earlier sonatas that I've been somewhat neglecting so far in my journey of discovery.

Congrats on finding the Lucchesini cycle! Hope you stick around, I remember a post from yours years ago on GMG that introduced me to Novak Quartet's Bartok String Quartet cycle, superb.

Someone said Lucchesini had interest in recording a period instrument set, I hope that some day comes to fruition.

NorthNYMark


Atriod

#4826
Lucchesini and reverb - I don't really think about this much, my preference would have been for a typical studio recording which is much more direct sound than reflected, if I could have my way all solo keyboard music would be recorded at Teldex in Berlin. IMO RT60 measurement in your room will also play a role (and your taste/preference in recording sound) in what something like a high reverb recording like Lucchesini will sound like. Aside from speakers it took years of experimenting with room treatments to find an RT60 and subjective impression I found that I was happy with.

Paul Badura-Skoda - I have never warmed to this cycle. I had FLACs of the old Astree CDs and listened to them occasionally. I bought the Arcana reissue to have the CDs but still didn't quite find PBS' interpretations that satisfactory. My favorite period instrument performances from him are his Mozart Piano Sonata cycle where his performances are so good they overcome what I find is mediocre music. The Schubert is in general a bit worse than the Beethoven but I love his performance of the Impromptus. For period instrument recordings from Hammerklavier on I find Peter Serkin is in a different league from the rest (though the reproductions used here are not as characteristic as PBS' genuine vintage instruments). Brautigam, a once only listen for me, all a bit too one-note samey (which I find with Gulda Amadeo too)

Backhaus - there are several live mono recordings from labels like Orfeo, Melo, etc. These performances are more spontaneous ala the Decca mono cycle. Interpretively and technique wise there is not that much difference between the two cycles and live, but that bit of extra energy/spontaneity/inspiration can make a big difference in my appreciation. Maybe worth visiting if you already like Backhaus. The sound is usually worse than the exceptional sound of the stereo cycle, but I never listen to the stereo cycle when we have the complete mono and those live recordings.

Annie Fischer - in every single sonata she recorded twice I prefer the EMI recordings (or BBC live in a couple of late ones), but the sound is worse than the Hungaroton. Some of the edits on Hungaroton don't even sound like the intern was responsible for them, it sounds like some guy that was trained on the same day, big jumps in level and clipped notes between splices. Still, I agree with you a very special cycle.

Gulda Amadeo - there are at least two different transfers of this, one with artificial reverb and the Brilliant Classics Gulda box which is dry. To me the latter sounds very good, like an above average studio piano recording. Interpretively I find it not particularly characteristic and find Gulda lacking in late Beethoven magic from the Hammerklavier onward, but I have re-evaluated it after getting the Gulda mega box, I now like him in many of those early to mid sonatas and agree with you about a very special Moonlight Sonata with perfectly proportioned outer movements. There is a broadcast Orfeo cycle that generally has even more energy than the Amadeo, but as a whole I prefer the Amadeo. Your complaint about the cycle being bland/uninspired/sight reading is not unfounded, I posted as much many times in this thread.

My most played Beethoven recordings of the last couple of years are Wilhelm Kempff's electric 78/acoustic era recordings, aside from a handful of sonatas I find better than the complete mono DG cycle. I can't say I've been taken with any of the new cycles that have come out during/since the 250 year anniversary.

Jo498

It's been a while that I listened to these recordings but I struggle with your comments on the sound quality.
I remember the Lucchesini as pleasant and "natural" not overly reverberant and the Gulda (amadeo, eloquence might have "improved" it) as unremarkable but solid late 60s sound. And while I don't think I can hear that Fischer's was split together from dozens of takes (thus posthumeously published because the pianist would not authorize it) I found this sometimes unpleasantly direct/harsh (which adds to the powerful way of her playing, though).

I'll probably always have a soft spot for Gulda/Amadeo for biographical reasons. I had had most of the sonatas piecemeal, than got Gilels almost complete Box but was rather disappointed by the sometimes slow, heavy and always very serious readings. A year or two later (all this was in the late 1990s) I got the Gulda box and finally "got" many of the earlier works.
Yes, he is often a bit fast and not poetic enough in some late sonatas (although his opp.106 & 111 are still among my favorites) or slow movements but it has a vigour, sweep and "naturalness" that for me works very well in many, especially earlier and more humorous works (that are, after all, the majority: everything up to op.31 & 49 is "earlyish").
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

George

#4828
Quote from: Jo498 on February 11, 2024, 06:57:16 AMIt's been a while that I listened to these recordings but I struggle with your comments on the sound quality.
I remember the Lucchesini as pleasant and "natural" not overly reverberant and the Gulda (amadeo, eloquence might have "improved" it) as unremarkable but solid late 60s sound. And while I don't think I can hear that Fischer's was split together from dozens of takes (thus posthumeously published because the pianist would not authorize it) I found this sometimes unpleasantly direct/harsh (which adds to the powerful way of her playing, though).

Indeed. All three pianists offer unique but powerful performances that far outweigh secondary concerns like sound quality. Additionally, I would have to truly be nitpicking (a practice that destroys my enjoyment of music) to find any real issues with the sound on those sets.       

QuoteI'll probably always have a soft spot for Gulda/Amadeo for biographical reasons. I had had most of the sonatas piecemeal, than got Gilels almost complete Box but was rather disappointed by the sometimes slow, heavy and always very serious readings. A year or two later (all this was in the late 1990s) I got the Gulda box and finally "got" many of the earlier works.
Yes, he is often a bit fast and not poetic enough in some late sonatas (although his opp.106 & 111 are still among my favorites) or slow movements but it has a vigour, sweep and "naturalness" that for me works very well in many, especially earlier and more humorous works (that are, after all, the majority: everything up to op.31 & 49 is "earlyish").

Getting Gulda's set years ago was like an ice cold glass of water on a sunny day. Like you, I sometimes find it difficult to enjoy Gilels recordings of this music, but Gulda's I enjoyed from the opening notes. 
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

George

Quote from: Hans Holbein on February 07, 2024, 08:23:36 PMThank you! You've solved a very frustrating problem and I appreciate it.

You're very welcome! Others have helped me out so I am happy to have a chance to pay it forward.

"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Jo498

Quote from: George on February 11, 2024, 07:10:50 AMGetting Gulda's set years ago was like an ice cold glass of water on a sunny day. Like you, I sometimes find it difficult to enjoy Gilels recordings of this music, but Gulda's I enjoyed from the opening notes. 
To clarify, I later was able to appreciate many of the Gilels recordings quite a bit, still do and would recommend them as a weighty alternative option. But for first or second contact then in my mid-20s and with not that much experience listening to piano music they were not appealing.
Although I encountered some famous sonatas like op.13 & 57 at 15-16 as a newbie, I was not that fond of piano solo in general for years, so it took me about 10 years to "graduate" to a full set of Beethoven sonatas ;)
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

Iota

Quote from: Jo498 on February 11, 2024, 06:57:16 AM.. A year or two later (all this was in the late 1990s) I got the Gulda box and finally "got" many of the earlier works.
Yes, he is often a bit fast and not poetic enough in some late sonatas (although his opp.106 & 111 are still among my favorites) or slow movements but it has a vigour, sweep and "naturalness" that for me works very well in many, especially earlier and more humorous works (that are, after all, the majority: everything up to op.31 & 49 is "earlyish").

Yes! Gulda is fantastic in the early sonatas particularly. And though he's definitely on the fast side in many from the whole set, I found the speed often spotlighted structural cohesions/opposites in thrilling ways, and created intensity and a sense of danger almost at times, making them feel like the vigorous musical dramas they are.

Holden

Quote from: Iota on February 11, 2024, 09:01:21 AMYes! Gulda is fantastic in the early sonatas particularly. And though he's definitely on the fast side in many from the whole set, I found the speed often spotlighted structural cohesions/opposites in thrilling ways, and created intensity and a sense of danger almost at times, making them feel like the vigorous musical dramas they are.

While I wouldn't say fantastic in the early sonatas I would definitely say very good. The issue about his second and third sets is that as he goes through the ouevre it just becomes all technical (maybe even mechanical) with excessive speed being the norm but with not much variation in dynamic range to create the thrill for me.

I have no issues with speed and my adoration of Gilel's 1960 Moscow Appassionata is proof. However, I get so far into the Gulda later LvB works and I just want to flick on to the next sonata to see if this is just an aberration. IMO the first cycle that Gulda recorded for Orfeo is his best and far more palatable for me.
Cheers

Holden

Jo498

I have never heard these early radio (I think that's what they are, they only became available ages later) by Gulda.
THE Gulda recordings have always been the ones on Amadeo that was one of the 5 stereo cycles that were widely distributed, well known and dominated the 1970s and 80s, being rarely or never out of the catalogues (the others were Brendel 1970s, Arrau, Kempff, Backhaus, and Schnabel for historical recordings).
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

JBS

Their current incarnation is this

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Todd

Four more cycles down since I last refreshed this, the most scientifically rigorous, objectively accurate rating system in the history of rating systems:

Top Tier – The Holy Tetrarchy
Annie Fischer (Hungarton)
Friedrich Gulda (Amadeo)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, mono)
Wilhelm Backhaus (mono)

[Rudolf Serkin; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Top Tier – The Rest of the Top Ten (sort of in order)
Wilhelm Kempff (DG, stereo)
Eric Heidsieck
Russell Sherman
Andrea Lucchesini
Emil Gilels
Daniel-Ben Pienaar

[Sviatoslav Richter; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Second Tier - Cycles 11-21 (in alphabetical order)
Artur Schnabel
Fazil Say
Francois Frederic Guy
Irina Mejoueva (Bijin)
Kazune Shimizu (Sony)
Minsoo Sohn
Paul Badura-Skoda (JVC/Astree)
Takahiro Sonoda (Evica)
Wilhelm Backhaus (stereo)
Yu Kosuge
Yusuke Kikuchi


Second Tier - Remainder (in alphabetical order)
Bernard Roberts
Claude Frank
Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 2005)
Eduardo del Pueyo
Friedrich Gulda (Orfeo)
Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Zaccaria
Michael Levinas
Peter Takacs
Robert Silverman
Rudolf Buchbinder (Unitel)
Seymour Lipkin
Takahiro Sonoda (Denon)
Tamami Honma
Younwha Lee

[Bruce Hungerford; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Third Tier (in alphabetical order)
Aquiles Delle Vigne
Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Mirare)
Akiyoshi Sako
Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1970s)
Alfred Brendel (Vox)
Alfredo Perl
Andras Schiff
Boris Giltburg
Claudio Arrau (1960s)
Claudio Arrau (1980s)
Craig Sheppard
Daniel Barenboim (DG)
Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 1960s)
David Allen Wehr
Dieter Zechlin
Friedrich Gulda (Decca)
Garrick Ohlsson
Gerard Willems
Gerhard Oppitz
Ian Hobson
Ichiro Nodaira
Igor Levit
Irina Mejoueva
Jingge Yan
John O'Conor
Jonathan Biss
Konstantin Scherbakov
Kun-Woo Paik
Louie Lortie
Malcolm Bilson, et al (Beghin is second tier)
Malcolm Binns
Martin Roscoe
Michael Houstoun (Morrison Trust)
Michael Houstoun (Rattle)
Michael Korstick
Muriel Chemin
Paul Badura-Skoda (Gramola)
Pavaali Jumppanen
Peter Rösel
Robert Silverman (AudioHigh)
Rudolf Buchbinder (Teldec)
Saleem Abboud Ashkar
Sequeira Costa
Stephen Kovacevich
Stewart Goodyear
Walter Gieseking (EMI/Tahra hybrid)
Wilhelm Kempff (1961, King International)
Yaeko Yamane
Yves Nat


Fourth Tier (in alphabetical order)
Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Forlane)
Aldo Ciccolini
Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1990s)
Andre De Groote
Angela Hewitt
Anton Kuerti
Christian Leotta
Daniel Barenboim (DG, 2020)
Dino Ciani
Georges Pludermacher
Idil Biret
Ikuyo Nakamichi
Jean Bernard Pommier
Jean Muller
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
Jeno Jando
John Kane
John Lill
Konstantin Lifschitz
Llŷr Williams
Mari Kodama
Maria Grinburg
Martin Rasch
Martino Tirimo   
Melodie Zhao
Mikhail Lidsky
Paul Lewis
Richard Goode
Robert Benz
Robert Taub
Ronald Brautigam
Rudolf Buchbinder (RCA)
Sebastian Forster
Steven Herbert Smith
Steven Masi
Timothy Ehlen
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Yukio Yokoyama


Near Bottom Tier (in sorta particular order)
HJ Lim
Rita Bouboulidi
Tatiana Nikolayeva
Anne Oland


Eighth Circle of Hell
[Glenn Gould; OK, he didn't complete a cycle, but this is where he belongs]


Crime Against Humanity
Riccardo Schwartz
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

DavidW

Pienaar keeps reappearing.  I love his Byrd.  Will try his Haydn, maybe down the line I will try his Beethoven too.

hopefullytrusting

Quote from: Todd on March 24, 2024, 01:11:40 PMCrime Against Humanity
Riccardo Schwartz

Okay, I had to give this a listen. Holy heck! :o Take your damn feet off the pedals. It sounded so muddled.

Todd

Quote from: hopefullytrusting on March 24, 2024, 04:23:08 PMOkay, I had to give this a listen. Holy heck! :o Take your damn feet off the pedals. It sounded so muddled.

Which sonata?  If not Op 106, I double dog dare you to listen to the entire opening movement of that one. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

hopefullytrusting

Quote from: Todd on March 24, 2024, 04:28:12 PMWhich sonata?  If not Op 106, I double dog dare you to listen to the entire opening movement of that one. 

Op. 2, No. 1

I will place that as a high priority. :-D