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Help with Annie Fischer’s Beethoven Piano Sonatas cycle

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aligreto:
This is a specific request for assistance with appreciating this specific cycle.





Are you familiar with this cycle?
Do you like it or not?
What do you consider to be its strengths and/or weaknesses?

aligreto:
As one builds one’s collection there are a number of specific works, performances and performers that one would like to include in it.

The Beethoven Piano Sonata cycle played by Annie Fischer was always one of those for me. However, until relatively recently I had not acquired this cycle until a friend of mine gave me access to it. I was very excited to be finally able to hear this set, anticipating wonderful things from it. This anticipation stemmed from a number of recommendations that had been made to me over the years that this was a superb, must hear set.

I have done no research since I have acquired the set in terms of what was to be expected from it as I like to let my own ears be the judge of interpreting what I am hearing.

aligreto:
So far I have listened to four sonatas, Beethoven’s Opp. 2 & 7 in this Piano Sonata cycle performed by Annie Fischer. I must admit that I have been disappointed with these listening sessions thus far. I have found the sound of the instrument [or the recording of it] to be too powerful and full sounding for my taste in the Op. 2 works. I also find that the playing is too robust in that there is a lack of fluidity or lyricism in the flow of the presentations. I found these listening sessions to be fatiguing; too much gravitas overall, for me.
With regard to Op. 7 yes, all of the notes are properly played but I am finding that the interpretation and presentation lack fluidity and sensitivity. It all sounds too technical a performance to my ears.

aligreto:
Therefore, before I proceed any further with this cycle, I am endeavouring to elicit specific guidance from more educated piano-philes with the following questions regarding Fischer’s interpretations:

1. What am I missing, if anything, in terms of these performances and interpretations?
2. What specifically should I be looking for to increase my appreciation of Fischer’s presentations?
3. Am I wasting my time proceeding any further if I have these impressions at this early stage?

What I am looking for here is help and guidance with interpreting and appreciating what Fischer is trying to do with these interpretations.
I am open to any suggestions that will enable me to appreciate anything that is good in this specific cycle that I may be obviously missing.
Just to be clear, I do have nine other complete or near complete cycles of this music by other pianists and many, many individual discs. Therefore, I am not looking for other recommendations, simply guidance on Fischer’s interpretations, if that is possible.

hvbias:
This might be my second favorite cycle behind Andrea Lucchesini's. One major problem with Fischer's cycle is the very jarring edits in places where the volume, dynamics or even wrong timing of notes is spliced in haphazardly.


--- Quote from: aligreto on July 13, 2022, 03:25:47 AM ---I also find that the playing is too robust in that there is a lack of fluidity or lyricism in the flow of the presentations. I found these listening sessions to be fatiguing; too much gravitas overall, for me.
With regard to Op. 7 yes, all of the notes are properly played but I am finding that the interpretation and presentation lack fluidity and sensitivity. It all sounds too technical a performance to my ears.

--- End quote ---

I can see where you're coming from these descriptions. If I were to have read them without a pianist being mentioned I'd have guessed you were referring to Kovacevich.

Lyricism and fluidity might be a lower priority on the scale with her, but I do find it has that transcendental quality in the late sonatas where I find Kovacevich and especially Gulda (Amadeo) who are in a similar style a huge miss.

You are correct that the recording quality errs towards the hard side.

I universally find her earlier EMI recordings superior to the Hungaroton but she is still Annie Fischer which probably won't change your opinion.

aligreto I'd love to read about your favorites among your nine cycles and what you like about them. I'm always looking for an excuse to relisten to what I have or explore something I haven't :)

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