Help with Annie Fischer’s Beethoven Piano Sonatas cycle

Started by aligreto, July 13, 2022, 04:25:07 AM

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aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 24 Op. 78: The opening movement is wonderfully expressive and serene. Fischer's lightness and deftness of touch is wonderfully artful here. The same descriptions readily apply to her presentation in the second movement even if the music itself requires a more ardent approach. This was a most enjoyable performance.

Piano Sonata No. 25 Op. 79: Once again Fischer's lightness and deftness of touch are on display in the opening movement. She positively flits effortlessly around the keyboard. Her playing in the slow movement is delicate, beguiling and serene. She simply sparkles and is almost playful in the final movement.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 26 Op. 81a: Fischer plays the opening movement of this sonata with great expression yet nothing is overstated, to my mind. It is clear and well controlled. It is the same in the slow movement where her playing is quite tender, emotionally, I find and it is not often that I have said that. Fischer's playing in the final movement has a sparkling quality to it.


Piano Sonata No. 27 Op. 90: The single comment here that I found Fischer's pianism here to be very admirable. She plays with fluidity and expression if with a little restraint and that is not a bad thing. Her playing of the final movement is particularly fine, engaging and appealing for me.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 28 Op. 101:

I felt that the opening movement was a very fine, even poetic, interpretation. Fischer's touch and sense of expression and interpretation of the music was exemplary here, I felt. The second movement is much more animated but Fischer's interpretation is not overly robust or assertive. It is buoyant and positive in its delivery. The third movement is a total contrast in terms of atmosphere in terms of what has preceded it and Fischer brings the requisite gravitas to the performance without being overbearing or over dramatic in any way. The music in the final movement is spirited and Fischer reflects this admirably by her lively and fluid performance. The music, and its performance, flows wonderfully. This was a very fine performance throughout, I felt.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 29 Op. 106 "Hammerklavier":

Fischer is not an issue here because I simply do not like this work overall. I dislike the hard, percussive nature of the required playing in works such as this. My ear has simply never attuned to it. 
It would, therefore, be unfair to comment adversely on any pianist as a result of that held opinion.
Once again, my volume knob was turned down for this sonata.
However, whenever the keyboard does not need to be "hammered" Fischer's touch is very assured and she does drive the music very well; almost unrelentingly at times.
The playing in the wonderfully contrasting slow movement is powerfully lyrical and expressive. I also like its ruminative tone here.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 30 Op. 109:


The opening of the first movement is played wistfully and delicately. I find that there is great fluidity in her playing even when the dynamics increase. She is very vigorous and assertive in the middle movement. The final movement is played quite expressively, poetically almost, in the slower passages. In the quicker tempo passages Fischer's fingers veritably flit energetically and ebulliently over the keys.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 31 Op. 110


I find Fischer's interpretation of the opening movement to be quite tender. This is not an accusation that I have not often levelled against her. I find the playing to be very expressive and even pensive. Yes, her inherent assertive playing style is present but it is not the overriding factor here.
The music is much more robust in the middle movement and therefore Fischer reverts to her more assertive playing style.
The opening of the final, slow, movement is quite solemn and, once again Fischer adapts readily to the different styles required of her. I find that Fischer's playing is very good in this particular movement. However, I also find that she is a bit too left hand heavy for my taste in places here and that the instrument is also too bass boomy in the lower registers.
The listening contrasts between these three movements is quite interesting from the point of view of the different playing styles and interpretation.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Piano Sonata No. 32 Op. 111


From a music point of view the musical language of this work is quite amazing for its time, but that is a testament to the genius of the composer.
From the performance point of view I consider Fischer to be in total command of the music from beginning to end. She dominated the delivery throughout with a quite robust, yet equally sensitive presentation of this wonderful piece of music. Everything seems to be well balanced here. Yes, it is sometimes a robust interpretation in the first movement but I feel that it is quite successful in the context of the music.
Fischer interprets the second movement exceedingly well with all of its complexities. Her infusion of passion is well noted here. Her management of the pacing throughout this movement is very fine. Fischer carries everything off very well. Her pianism is beyond reproach here. I would definitely say that this is my favourite performance of hers in the entire cycle and it is a fitting conclusion to a wonderful and very interesting listening project.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

springrite

Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

aligreto

Quote from: springrite on August 22, 2022, 07:58:03 AM
Congratulations and hooray!!!

Cheers and thank you. I eventually made it through, intact.  ;D
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Thank you all for your forbearance, patience and perseverance for, with and of me in my maiden exploration of this cycle which turned into something of a blog [which was never my intention!]. I am not, as I have often mentioned, comfortable listening to solo piano music irrespective of who the pianist, or indeed the composer, is. I also have issues with "boomy" modern instruments, particularly in the lower register notes.

My knowledge of the appropriate musical terminology, when discussing my thoughts on these and related matters is not always what it should be and my ignorance can lead to frustration in inappropriately making my point sometimes. I have zero musical training, practically or theoretically. I am sure that I have raised some eyebrows during this odyssey. I hope that I did not upset anyone's equilibrium too much. If I did it was entirely unintentional on my part.

I thank you all for your encouragement, erudition and for the assistance and guidance which has been offered. Through it, this was both an interesting and enjoyable journey for me.

I am very pleased that I instigated this thread and ultimately bore with it. I began by positively not liking what I heard but by taking on board the guidance that was offered my attitude did evolve over the journey. I am not sure whether my reconciliation was due to familiarity, appeasement or revelation!

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, one who really appreciates this music. This was not intended to be, therefore, a critique of this cycle by me but rather more of a personal journey of exploration and exposure to a pianist who is held in high regard and had not, hitherto, been heard by me in the past, in any music.

Sometimes the obvious has to be pointed out. One also has to be prepared to change one's opinion in the face of overwhelming evidence contrary to one's original perceptions. I did come to appreciate the nature of Fischer's performance style, expressiveness and dynamics. It is not always what I would look for myself. However, I am very pleased to have stuck with and listened to the full cycle. As a number of posters have already commented above, it certainly bears listening to. There were certainly many more good things in this cycle than I at first anticipated.

The singular thing that became more apparent to me as I progressed through the cycle was that Fischer's pianism was of the highest order, at least to my uneducated ear. I felt that she, at all times, endeavoured to be faithful to the music that she was playing.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

George

If you ever want to take this journey again, I would suggest Kempff mono as your guide. Based on what you wrote, I think hid style would suit you.

https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Piano-Sonatas-L-V/dp/B0000012XC

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

aligreto

Quote from: George on August 24, 2022, 03:54:41 AM
If you ever want to take this journey again, I would suggest Kempff mono as your guide. Based on what you wrote, I think hid style would suit you.

https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Piano-Sonatas-L-V/dp/B0000012XC



You are quite correct in your assessment of my taste. I have that very set sitting on my shelves.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.