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Thread: Beethoven piano sonata sets...How many do you own?

  1. #46
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Anyway, I'll have to check out one of the Russians in this work. Haven't heard any.
    I suppose it's worth mentioning that although three of the four I listed are "Russian" (Gilels was Ukrainian, Richter half German), their interpretations couldn't be less similar, and they're on my list not as representatives of a tradition or school of playing, I just happen to think that their extant Beethoven recordings are exceptional.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I suppose it's worth mentioning that although three of the four I listed are "Russian" (Gilels was Ukrainian, Richter half German), their interpretations couldn't be less similar, and they're on my list not as representatives of a tradition or school of playing, I just happen to think that their extant Beethoven recordings are exceptional.
    I am a fan of Gilels and Richter and agree that they couldn't be more different. I only said Russians in that context to refer to the fact that they are all Russian, and that I was only interested in checking out the Russians you mentioned, and not Solomon. I didn't mean to imply that they belong to any Russian "school". If there's anything they taught you when you were learning piano in early 20th century Russia, it must have been "be an individual". Each of the big-name Russians has his or her own very distinctive style. Couldn't be more different from the competition culture of today's young Russian pianists, I think.

  3. #48
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I am a fan of Gilels and Richter and agree that they couldn't be more different. I only said Russians in that context to refer to the fact that they are all Russian, and that I was only interested in checking out the Russians you mentioned, and not Solomon. I didn't mean to imply that they belong to any Russian "school". If there's anything they taught you when you were learning piano in early 20th century Russia, it must have been "be an individual". Each of the big-name Russians has his or her own very distinctive style. Couldn't be more different from the competition culture of today's young Russian pianists, I think.
    Cool. By the bye, if you happen to be an Amazon Prime customer, you can check out Sokolov's outstanding Hammerklavier in a Medici TV film of his 2012 concert at the Berlin Phil for free on Prime Video. I'm torn on whether I prefer his 1975 studio recording or the Berlin Phil performance, but it's a good way to sample if you're a Prime subscriber.

  4. #49
    Senior Member gardibolt's Avatar
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    That Serkin fortepiano set is terrific and well worth acquiring.
    Hours of unrecorded, unpublished and unknown Beethoven works at The Unheard Beethoven

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  6. #50
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    For the most part, my favorite Beethoven cycles are the ones that unfortunately were never finished: by Rudolf Serkin (especially his "unreleased" studio recordings on Sony, which were selected by his son, Peter), Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Solomon, and Bruno-Leonardo Gelber. I also like some of Glenn Gould's unfinished CBS/Sony cycle--such as his brilliant complete Op. 31, nos. 1, 2, & 3 recordings, but otherwise find Gould's Beethoven inconsistent, interpretatively.

    Among complete cycles, I've most liked the sets by Artur Schnabel, Annie Fischer, Wilhelm Backhaus, Yves Nat, Eduardo Del Pueyo, Wilhelm Kempff (mono DG), Ronald Brautigam (period piano), Claude Frank, Alfred Brendel (1st & 2nd Philips cycles), Jean-Bernard Pommier, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Claudio Arrau. Although with Arrau, I tend to prefer him in Beethoven's Piano Concertos 1-5, and the same is true for Andras Schiff--whose Beethoven Piano Sonata lectures are, nevertheless, fascinating, I agree, especially his lecture on the difficult Hammerklavier Sonata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR5f8yAnGik. I also think that with Kempff, the earlier you can go with his Beethoven, the better it is. His 'historical' APR Beethoven recordings, for instance, show his piano technique at its best, in my opinion.

    Among pianists that I'd consider to be among the finest I've heard in Beethoven, but who didn't record close to a complete set, I'd include Youra Guller, Ivo Pogorelich (Op. 111), Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Teresa Carreño (Welte piano roll), Beveridge Webster (Hammerklavier), Clara Haskil, Edwin Fischer, Zoltan Kocsis, Radu Lupu, Dame Myra Hess, and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. (I've also liked Stephen Bishop Kovacevich in the 33 Diabelli Variations & Bagatelles on Philips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnWdaBHoEhE, but generally don't find him mercurial enough in the sonatas.)

    Among recent pianists, I've liked Igor Levit's somewhat 'baroque-like' approach to the Late Sonatas 28-32, but haven't heard his soon to be released complete Beethoven set (which will be issued on Sept. 13, 2019). In addition, I've liked some of the Beethoven Sonatas I've heard from Helene Grimaud, Angela Hewitt (live in recital), and on a period piano, Penelope Crawford.

    Maurizio Pollini's set of Late Sonatas Nos. 28-32 on DG is excellent, too, but I haven't heard the rest of his DG cycle.

    I've likewise only heard Michael Korstick's superb Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106 (on You Tube), where he pulls off Beethoven's difficult metronome markings at the opening brilliantly! (or at least comes very close to it--so apparently Wilhelm Kempff wasn't right, after all, when he said that Beethoven couldn't have known what he was asking for due to his deafness... see Schiff's lecture on the subject). Korstick is also very special in the nearly 1/2 hour Adagio movement, and pulls off the difficult fugue in the 4th movement about as cleanly & well as can be expected on a modern grand (as modern pianos are too resonant and unwieldy for the Fuga, in comparison to the pianos that Beethoven knew and wrote for). For the curious, here's a link to Korstick's Hammerklavier on YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm_O...7RF6-r_X1keinY. Hence, I'd be very interested to hear Korstick's complete cycle, because if the rest of his 32 are as fine as his Hammerklavier, I expect Korstick's cycle should be counted as one of the best of the digital era.

    I've heard other Beethoven cycles, & pianists, though certainly not all (such as the recordings by Paul Lewis, Dino Ciani, Friedrich Gulda, John O'Conor, Till Fellner, Steve Osborne, Murray Perahia, David Allen Wehr, Stewart Goodyear, Paul-Badura Skoda, etc.). Nevertheless, the pianists I've cited above would presently comprise my long list of top favorites, & not my short list.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Jul-15-2019 at 19:04.

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