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Thread: Beethoven late sonatas-- Your favorite interpreters

  1. #76
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    Default Beethoven and Annie Fisher

    Thanx for info on Annie Fisher and I will seek her recordings----only familiar with Brendel, Hengerford, etc.

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    Anton Kuerti is great

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I agree on Goodyear's excellent Beethoven cycle. Those interested should know it can be had, as a download, for $5.99. Amazing, that! These are 320K MP3s.

    https://us.7digital.com/artist/stewa...6%2C17%2C9%2C2
    KenOC - many thanks for the recommendation. Paid and downloaded a couple of days ago: what a bargain!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traverso View Post
    Ashkenazy
    I heard Ashkenazy around 1971 play a concert of 109, 110, and 111. His playing was exquisitely focused, the audience spellbound. Not saying he was the best -- there can never be a best for these multi-faceted compositions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCLEUNG View Post
    Anton Kuerti is great
    It is so sad that he suffered a stroke and is no longer active. My prayers go out for Anton Kuerti, a great Beethoven pianist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AClockworkOrange View Post
    I have a few gaps to put it mildly, I have only heard Ronald Brautigam, Daniel Barenboim and one by Claudio Arrau.

    Brautigam is presently my favourite by a margin - I especially enjoy the fortepiano here (as in his Haydn & Mozart), but I also enjoy Barenboim's EMI set. I need to hear more Arrau but I really enjoyed the Sonata I heard.

    On my to listen list at some point are Murray Perahia, Alfred Brendel and Rudolf Serkin.
    I really enjoy the Brautigan set. I generally don't care for the sound of the fortepiano but Brautigan plays with with total abandon and seems to be pushing the instrument to its limits, which in my imagination is the way that Beethoven would have sounded.
    My introduction to Op.110 & 111 was from a Gary Graffman disc in the mid 70s. I still have the 'First Love' feeling when I play it but generally I turn to Arrau, Fischer, and Richard Goode in the late works. Pollini is a Pianist that I otherwise admire but his late Beethoven set on DG left me feeling cold. Serkin is admirable but a bit brusque. Kempff is great in the early works but occasionally sounds strained in the late works. I have not kept up with younger sets such as Goodyear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    I really enjoy the Brautigan set. I generally don't care for the sound of the fortepiano but Brautigan plays with with total abandon and seems to be pushing the instrument to its limits, which in my imagination is the way that Beethoven would have sounded.
    My introduction to Op.110 & 111 was from a Gary Graffman disc in the mid 70s. I still have the 'First Love' feeling when I play it but generally I turn to Arrau, Fischer, and Richard Goode in the late works. Pollini is a Pianist that I otherwise admire but his late Beethoven set on DG left me feeling cold. Serkin is admirable but a bit brusque. Kempff is great in the early works but occasionally sounds strained in the late works. I have not kept up with younger sets such as Goodyear.
    I was going to wait to post on this thread, but Triplets' entry inspired me.

    I've been engaged in a project for two months now. Each day I listen to a movement of a Beethoven sonata. Five times:

    Arrau
    Brendel (second cycle)
    Kempff (mono)
    Annie Fischer
    Goode

    I also listen to the relevant portion of Andras Schiff's Wigmore lectures and read the relevant portion of Charles Rosen's book on the sonatas. I follow the scores while I listen. I listen mostly though headphones - specifically AKG 701s which are very analytical.

    I am proceeding in order. I just finished the Pastoral, and I am about to go traveling for two weeks, so I will take a break. My purpose has been to dig deeper into the music, and not really to assess a favorite performer, but of course I have preferences. I am looking forward to reaching the late sonatas (in December if things go as planned). I may have to vary my procedures a bit. I'm not sure if I'm up to listening to the Adagio of the Hammerklavier 5 times in a row - plus Schff's lecture, which is probably longer than the movement.

    I will report back once have finished.
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Oct-06-2017 at 13:31.

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    After re-listening to Pollini's set on LP, I may have to move it to the top. Such commanding playing is hard to ignore...and he's not all about muscular attack and technique...the quiet, other-worldly passages are breathtaking, too.

    Now, if only Daniil Trifonov would record them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    I was going to wait to post on this thread, but Triplets' entry inspired me.

    I've been engaged in a project for two months now. Each day I listen to a movement of a Beethoven sonata. Five times:

    Arrau
    Brendel (second cycle)
    Kempff (mono)
    Annie Fischer
    Goode

    I also listen to the relevant portion of Andras Schiff's Wigmore lectures and read the relevant portion of Charles Rosen's book on the sonatas. I follow the scores while I listen. I listen mostly though headphones - specifically AKG 701s which are very analytical.

    I am proceeding in order. I just finished the Pastoral, and I am about to go traveling for two weeks, so I will take a break. My purpose has been to dig deeper into the music, and not really to assess a favorite performer, but of course I have preferences. I am looking forward to reaching the late sonatas (in December if things go as planned). I may have to vary my procedures a bit. I'm not sure if I'm up to listening to the Adagio of the Hammerklavier 5 times in a row - plus Schff's lecture, which is probably longer than the movement.

    I will report back once have finished.
    I am impressed by your discipline. I have sometimes played the same Sonata consecutively played by different performers but I don't think that I could limit myself to one movement at a time, because usually these works just don't satisfy unless heard in toto.
    I forgot to mention Brendel. I had bought the big Brendel box a few months ago and had played through the Beethoven. It's such an improvement over the Vox recordings, but I believe that he made 3 cycles altogether. Which are you listening to.

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  18. #85
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    I am impressed by your discipline. I have sometimes played the same Sonata consecutively played by different performers but I don't think that I could limit myself to one movement at a time, because usually these works just don't satisfy unless heard in toto.
    I forgot to mention Brendel. I had bought the big Brendel box a few months ago and had played through the Beethoven. It's such an improvement over the Vox recordings, but I believe that he made 3 cycles altogether. Which are you listening to.
    Brendel - first cycle for Philips,

    I've listened to the sonatas as complete works for over 4 decades. This is my attempt to re-introduce them to myself in a new manner. It comes at a time when I am taking classes in music theory and helps me dig more deeply (or get more granular - to use a word I hate) into the works.

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    Many thanks for all the recommendations here, I shall be following many of them up.

    Not sure if Michael Houstoun has been mentioned among the more recent recordings - his late sonatas are excellent.
    Also Eric La Sage.
    Last edited by Jerry; Oct-09-2017 at 17:58.

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    For Opp. 109 and 110, I've always enjoyed the recordings that were made by Yvonne Lefebure (1898-1986). She was a student of Alfred Cortot and collaborated with Casals for many years. These were the recordings that made Beethoven's late period accessible to me. They're on a two disc set from EMI that has been out of the catalog for a very long time, but I'm sure that it could be found.

    Of late, I've really enjoyed Glenn Gould's performances of the last three sonatas. Many critics thought that they were extremely unorthodox when they were first released, but I find that they are beautifully rendered. There are many beautiful moments throughout, but my favorite is how Glenn Gould plays Op. 111's Arietta.

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  22. #88
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    Default Beethoven late sonatas Your favorite interpreters

    My favorite run of three is Op. 53 "Waldstein," Op. 54, and Op. 57 "Appassionata." All from Op. 90 on are superb. I really like Op. 31 nos. 2 & 3 as well. Don't want to do the tier thing.

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    Pogorelich for Op.111

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    I have a particular fascination with the Gould performances of the sonatas, especially 23.

    My other favorite is the Stephen (Bishop) Kovacevich cycle. I am very fond of his performances of the Piano Concertos as well.

    Two sets of interpretations of Beethoven could not be more different in concept as those of these two pianists.

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