Author Topic: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas  (Read 741384 times)

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Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #60 on: September 25, 2007, 12:53:41 PM »
Dirk has this set so he could let you know. I believe he said that the sound is not that good. The performances may be a different matter.
Cheers

Holden

George

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #61 on: September 25, 2007, 04:08:08 PM »
Dirk has this set so he could let you know. I believe he said that the sound is not that good. The performances may be a different matter.

Orbital has it as well. I think he feels the same about the sound, but you could certainly PM him.

sidoze

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #62 on: September 26, 2007, 09:53:35 AM »
I think it was Distler who said that the sound is like looking at the moon through the wrong end of a telescope.

Offline orbital

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #63 on: September 26, 2007, 10:09:14 AM »
Orbital has it as well. I think he feels the same about the sound, but you could certainly PM him.
I don't have his Beethoven. I have quite a bit of Chopin from him: Etudes (recorded at home), Nocturnes (a single recital), Mazurkas (selection) all live. I think 90% of his output are live recordings.

The Chopin recordings' sound is not very bad though.

Offline dirkronk

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2007, 10:21:23 AM »
I think it was Distler who said that the sound is like looking at the moon through the wrong end of a telescope.

Not a bad description, I'd say. I have online friends who think this is one of the most amazing Beethoven sets in existence, a veritable treasure trove of unique interpretation. Seriously...one guy I know puts it in the same league with Schnabel and Annie Fischer. For me, however, this set is the very definition of "mixed bag" inconsistency. Yes, some performances are stunningly distinctive, evocative, almost revelatory...but...well, others definitely aren't. The "aren't" selections range from purely quirky to just mundane note-plunking, with abundant finger-slips, etc. I've been through the set one time complete, and I've gone back to certain performances, but all this was MANY months ago, so I won't pretend to recall which are which. And the damn sound pretty much rules it out for anyone who isn't a die-hard Ciani fan. IIRC, these were recorded during a series of live performances, from somewhere in the audience on amateur gear, which explains the mega-distant perspective and sometimes annoying extraneous noise. If I haven't frustrated potential buyers yet, let me state that the current prices being quoted don't impress me, since this set was available a couple of years ago at something like $20 or less; this, in fact, is one reason I'm not personally stewing about the bad sound that much...I got the set super-cheap. IF you can get it that low-priced, I'd say it's worth it just to have Ciani's read on many of these sonatas (I feel much the same way about Nat's set of Beethoven), but be ready for the dreck sound and please do NOT buy this as your introduction to or only copy of Beethoven's sonatas.

*sigh*

I guess it's time to pull this box out and start re-listening, so I can provide a more helpful analysis. If I do so in the near future, I'll come back and give you my refreshed view of this set.

Cheers,

Dirk
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 10:30:05 AM by dirkronk »

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #65 on: September 26, 2007, 12:52:49 PM »
The Ciani cycle has possibly the worst sounding recordings I've ever heard.  Some of the sonatas don't even sound like a piano is being played at times.  (Can't remember which; I did a write up on the prior forum, though.)  Ciani's playing is quite fine on a technical level most of the time, and he's artistically compelling in a few works, but mostly he falls flat as an LvB interpreter.  Literally dozens of complete cycles are better.  Also, $45 is a bit steep for the set.  Shop around a bit if you really want it - I picked mine up for $18, shipping included, though I can't recall the shop at present.
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Offline rw1883

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #66 on: September 26, 2007, 01:26:05 PM »
The Ciani cycle has possibly the worst sounding recordings I've ever heard.  Some of the sonatas don't even sound like a piano is being played at times.  (Can't remember which; I did a write up on the prior forum, though.)  Ciani's playing is quite fine on a technical level most of the time, and he's artistically compelling in a few works, but mostly he falls flat as an LvB interpreter.  Literally dozens of complete cycles are better.  Also, $45 is a bit steep for the set.  Shop around a bit if you really want it - I picked mine up for $18, shipping included, though I can't recall the shop at present.

Thanks to Dirk, Todd, and Orbital for their suggestions and ideas.  I'll won't be buying the set anytime soon, unless I find it for $20 or less.

sidoze

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #67 on: September 26, 2007, 01:33:05 PM »
The Ciani cycle has possibly the worst sounding recordings I've ever heard.

If one day during your strolls through the aisles of a secondhand CD shop you chance upon the Russian Disc of Sofronitsky playing Prokofiev, please, grab it without hesitation. It is far away the absolute worst sounding piano recording on the planet. I don't have the vocabulary to describe it. Then, after you've heard his 7th sonata, you can sell it for £50 and make a tidy profit :)

His Chopin Nocturnes are wonderful, among the most beautiful caught on record.

Mark

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #68 on: October 10, 2007, 02:28:11 PM »
Okay, I'm a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to praise Richard Goode's set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, which I've been listening to for a couple of hours now. Not long, you might think - but I can't usually stomach these works for more than an hour at a time, so Goode must be doing something right to keep me listening.

What I particularly like is that Goode, unlike Fischer and Gulda (okay, so I dipped into my Christmas present while the wife is in hospital ;D), doesn't feel it necessary to bang so damned hard on the keys to create dynamic effects. Rather, he seems simply to lighten his touch at the other end of the scale, so that when keys do go down a little harder, you get the full dynamic range without the thundering pianism favoured by some. Goode's tempi choices agree with my tastes, too, so another point scored there.

I dare say the harder, faster approach adopted by other pianists might be somewhat truer to the spirit of Beethoven, but for me, it seems Goode may be enough.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #69 on: October 10, 2007, 03:30:48 PM »
Has anyone here ever heard of Yukio Yokoyama?  I never even heard her name until I got that Sony Beethoven Big Box. Casadesus, Oppitz, Rosen, several other name pianists are on there. But the lion's share of the piano works (including the variations and bagatelles) are played by Yukio. I haven't listened to most of them yet, except the Op 2 #1 where she does a creditable job. Just curious if anyone has heard her rather more extensively and cares to give a report. :)

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Online (: premont :)

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #70 on: October 10, 2007, 06:03:34 PM »
Has anyone here ever heard of Yukio Yokoyama?  I never even heard her name until I got that Sony Beethoven Big Box. Casadesus, Oppitz, Rosen, several other name pianists are on there. But the lion's share of the piano works (including the variations and bagatelles) are played by Yukio. I haven't listened to most of them yet, except the Op 2 #1 where she does a creditable job. Just curious if anyone has heard her rather more extensively and cares to give a report. :)

Oh yes, I own his complete cycle. Rather restrained and understated as to expression I think, but also without idiosyncrasies. I think the early sonatas gain the most from his approach.
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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #71 on: October 10, 2007, 08:23:57 PM »
Okay, I'm a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to praise Richard Goode's set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, which I've been listening to for a couple of hours now. Not long, you might think - but I can't usually stomach these works for more than an hour at a time, so Goode must be doing something right to keep me listening.

What I particularly like is that Goode, unlike Fischer and Gulda (okay, so I dipped into my Christmas present while the wife is in hospital ;D), doesn't feel it necessary to bang so damned hard on the keys to create dynamic effects. Rather, he seems simply to lighten his touch at the other end of the scale, so that when keys do go down a little harder, you get the full dynamic range without the thundering pianism favoured by some. Goode's tempi choices agree with my tastes, too, so another point scored there.

I dare say the harder, faster approach adopted by other pianists might be somewhat truer to the spirit of Beethoven, but for me, it seems Goode may be enough.

Great summary, Mark!

This is a set I greatly admire, as well. It's tops for me even in the face of stiff competition.


 

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longears

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #72 on: October 10, 2007, 08:58:38 PM »
Right up there for me, too.  One of my faves, with great sound.  For more poetry, I'll take Kempf; for more passion, I like Kovacevitch.  I could probably be quite satisfied with just these three--in fact, I rarely choose anyone else.

Renfield

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #73 on: October 10, 2007, 10:47:57 PM »
Right up there for me, too.  One of my faves, with great sound.  For more poetry, I'll take Kempf; for more passion, I like Kovacevitch.  I could probably be quite satisfied with just these three--in fact, I rarely choose anyone else.

Schnabel? :)

(Though Kempff is by far my own favourite.)

Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #74 on: October 10, 2007, 11:15:26 PM »
Yukio Yokoyama also did a highly praised set of the Chopin Etudes.
Cheers

Holden

Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #75 on: October 11, 2007, 04:23:43 AM »
Has anyone here ever heard of Yukio Yokoyama?


Yes.  His LvB sonatas vary in quality, and he tends to be better in the earlier sonatas.  As premont wrote, Yokoyama is understated at times, and at other times he seems at sea (Op 106), but he's never too quirky.  His set of LvB's concertos is better overall - his trills in the Emporer are amazing, for instance, and he tends to play with nice energy and taut tempi. 

Beyond LvB, his Liszt Transcendental Etudes are very good, and his Chopin Nocturnes, though a bit cool, are also quite enjoyable.  His take on Chopin's Ballades and Etudes are technically fine, but lack that last bit of involvement, and his Debussy and Ravel sound a bit a bit too assertive at times, though his transcription of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is worth hearing.
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longears

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #76 on: October 11, 2007, 06:46:17 PM »
And do you play, Todd?  How do you come by such critical expertise?

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2007, 02:52:36 AM »
Todd & premont,
Thanks very much for the input. Oh, premont, one could never have told from the liner notes that this was a person of the male persuasion, so I appreciate that info   :-[    The early sonatas are all I've listened to so far, and they were indeed not bad at all. But maybe that's why the "big names" are used for the later ones. The last 6 are by Rosen, recordings I've wanted to hear for a long time, and now have the chance. I'll post my impressions once I spin them a few times. :)

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Haffner

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2007, 03:06:10 AM »
I don't play piano, but I think Beethoven is a really cool guy!








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George

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2007, 03:58:31 AM »
The last 6 are by Rosen, recordings I've wanted to hear for a long time, and now have the chance. I'll post my impressions once I spin them a few times. :)

8)

I'd appreciate that Gurn, I saw the Rosen late sonatas just the other day in my local used haunt.