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Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Last spring I contracted a serious case of Elveebee Fever and started snapping up sets of the complete piano sonatas by the Bonn master seemingly without end. To date I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Yukio Yokoyama

When BRO first carried Yukio Yokoyama

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Do not overlook the JA recorded Stereophile boxed set of 32 "B" sonatas by Robert Silverman. It is well worth the asking price (bargain) if you are a "B" fan. The recordings are just like you were in the hall.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!


Quote:
Do not overlook the JA recorded Stereophile boxed set of 32 "B" sonatas by Robert Silverman.

It's on my list of things to hear.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Yves Nat

About the same time that I preordered the Decca Original Masters set containing Friedrich Gulda

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Friedrich Gulda, Decca (1950s)

It finally arrived. The Decca cycle includes some early recordings of Mr Gulda, encompassing recordings ranging from 1950 (the Les Adieux) when Gulda was a mere twenty up through 1958. This cycle is therefore very much a young man

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Stephen Kovacevich

Why not? Yes, I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Eric Heidsieck

I didn

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Alfredo Perl

Yes, another cycle. I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Todd, this is an awesome undertaking. Thanks.

I'd be happy to send you my 2001 Robert Silverman set for you to write about (see www.stereophile.com/musicrecordings/298. Email me your street address if you are interested.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
John_Atkinson@Primediamags.com

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

I just gave Todd 5 stars...which is the least I could do after those posts. Kudos.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Anne

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Vladimir Ashkenazy

How to follow up the bomb that is Anne

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Andrea Lucchesini

Who to hear next? That was the dilemma I faced. (Okay, it wasn

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Ashkenazy and Lucchesini Play Late Beethoven

Having reached the same point in both cycles, I decided to do a head-to-head comparison in the late sonatas to determine who I like best and precisely why. I haven

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Andrea Lucchesini

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Seymour Lipkin

What to do now? I needed something else to sate my demand for the 32 while waiting for HMV Japan to come through on Backhaus

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Wilhelm Backhaus (Decca, Mono, early 1950s)

To my mind the biggest hole in my Beethoven sonata collection has been the absence of Wilhelm Backhaus. I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

John O

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Anton Kuerti

Too slow. That

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Paul Badura-Skoda

Ah, serendipity

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Anton Kuerti and Paul Badura-Skoda Play Beethoven

After arriving at the same point in both of these cycles, I figured a direct comparison between the two sets seemed like a good idea. Certainly up to this point I prefer PBS

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Daniel Barenboim (EMI, 1960s)

A (still relatively) new year means its time to start hearing new complete cycles of Beethoven

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Dino Ciani

The sound quality of this cycle is abysmal. I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Alfred Brendel (Philips, 1970s)

I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Georges Pludermacher

I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Craig Sheppard

Over the past several months I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!


Quote:
Have you heard Hungerford?

Not yet, but he

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Robert Silverman

[This review has been and will be posted on multiple sites, so I included background information.]

First some facts. This cycle, on Orpheum Masters, was not recorded in a normal fashion. That is, this set is not a compilation of concert performances or multiple studio sessions. Rather, the cycle was recorded using a B

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Anton Kuerti - Addendum

One of the bigger disappointments in my exploration of Beethoven piano sonata cycles is Anton Kuerti

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Russell Sherman

Domo arigato, Mr Rubato.

Russell Sherman

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Kun-Woo Paik

A couple years ago I picked up the first volume of Kun-Woo Paik

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Dieter Zechlin and Takahiro Sonoda

My Beethoven sonata collecting, both complete sets and individual discs, has fallen off over the last year or so, but every once in a while I like to try something new. Since I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Todd,

Thanks for taking the time to write up your reactions. After reading your description of the O'Conor, I added a couple of CDs to what I had and kept going until I had No. 1-26. These CDs are often available cheap from Amazon sellers - new or used. I like a number of the smaller sonatas and O'Conor seems to fit those works. Wonderful tone too.

You said that you had done the big names. As I recall, you avoided Brendel. I found that he does well with Op. 2 No. 1,2 in the old Phillips set. I have most of the Vox set and don't like them very well.

Any plans to comment on individual performances that aren't in a set?

Bill

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!


Quote:
As I recall, you avoided Brendel.

Any plans to comment on individual performances that aren't in a set?

I covered Brendel's second cycle, which I find to be the best of his three when considered as a whole. Also, when I mentioned the 'big names,' I didn't necessarily mean that I had written about them all. Kempff's cycles are absent from my write-ups, as is Backhaus' second cycle, Annie Fischer's magnificent cycle, Arrau's, and a few others. I've heard them though.

As to writing about non-cycle recordings, I doubt I'll be writing too much about those. I've been too busy to write much lately, and if I must choose between listening to music and writing about it, I always choose to listen to it. Besides, my listening focus has changed.

-

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Ian Hobson

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Todd, you're slacking off over here, get it together! (J/K... ) This is by far my favorite thread in the entire forum, so I'm bumping it.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!


Quote:
Todd, you're slacking off over here, get it together!

I know. I've finished off two new cycles - Oppitz and De Groote - but I just haven't had time to write about them. I've also got around to picking up the Bernard Roberts cycle, so that'll be three with nary a peep. Must find time . . .

-

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Till Fellner, who trained with Brendel, is going through the Beethoven cycle at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the best venues for solo recitals in NYC, IMO... the first recital - which I couldn't attend - is reviewed here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/arts/music/03fellner.html?ref=arts

I did catch him on the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC, in which he played the first movement of the G major sonata live in studio, which is really more of a Sonatine than a Sonata. Sounded wooden to me, maybe b/c I listened to it in my car. You can catch the broadcast here:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2009/10/29/segments/143271

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Just as I was looking for much more on the cycles, I fell into this grand obsession. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll be reading you for the next several weeks.

s.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Andr

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Todd, how are they with the late Sonatas, Hammerklavier onward, esp. Op. 110 and later?

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Facing an ever decreasing population of unheard complete cycles, I decided to finally try Maria Grinberg

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

What an awesome thread. I'd seen it before but only now made time to scan through it in any detail. I'd been contemplating buying a Gulda cycle: taking your advice I'll look for his later set.

My apologies if I state anything that you have already covered as I admit I've not read every line of the previous pages.

I've only got 4 complete cycles but it is very interesting to see that you have not covered any of them in detail (yet)!

Schnabel recorded in 1932-5 may not be comparable as a recording with ones of LP vintage or later but I find this cycle very illuminating. Given a playback system that is both resolving and 'natural' in sound, it is surprising how quickly one ignores the shortcomings of the transfers from 78s.

Kempff 1965 (stereo) you mention but do not say what puts you off this set. While it has not the grandiosity of many modern cycles, Kempff has many individual touches which again I find illuminating.

Brendel 1962-4. I too have not been able to get to grips with his later recordings, whereas his first traversal strongly conveys the 'shock of the new' to me being almost impetuous in places. I have to say however that hearing Brendel live (twice) in the 1990s playing some of the later sonatas was totally absorbing.

Bernard Roberts (1980s). I first heard one of these discs as part of an Open University (UK) music course back in the 80s. His approach is very much one of 'no nonsense' and for me that allows the sense of the music to come through unimpeded. I guess some listeners may find his approach too literal.

Some other contenders?

Gilels: I've only heard a couple of the sonatas that he has recorded and these were as good as any other performances I know. The complete set is on my 'wants' list.

Ronald Brautigam (2004-?) Have you listened to any cycles on instruments representative of those available to Beethoven? I used to think all fortepianos sounded tinkly and out of tune but I was totally won over by Brautigam's Haydn and Mozart sonata cycles. Looks as though he has one more volume to go to complete the Beethoven set, and I'll certainly consider buying this.

Thanks for an enjoyable read - I need to come back for more. Happy listening.

David

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Of all of the complete cycles I

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Bernard Roberts

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

When I bought the Andante set dedicated to Friedrich Gulda several years ago, I noticed that the liner notes mentioned that Gulda had recorded three complete LvB sonata cycles. Well, I had the Decca and Amadeo cycles, and the idea of a third cycle was rather exciting, but of course it was nowhere to be found. Now it is! Orfeo has reissued what is Gulda

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Irina Mejoueva

Irina Mejoueva is, as far as I can tell, the newest kid on the block to complete a cycle of Beethoven

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

Even not counted among Beethoven's essential works, I do like some of his later stuff. It is more creative, less dramatic and clearly freer in it's form.

These sonatas are 2 of his last three, Op. 111 being the last, written around the same time as the Missa Solemnis.

Pollini is in my opinion an excellent interpreter of these sonatas. This record is from 1975.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!


Quote:
Even not counted among Beethoven's essential works, I do like some of his later stuff.

Late Beethoven is essential, in so far as any music is essential. His best music is from his late period.

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Re: Beethoven's Piano Sonatas; Or: A whole lotta cycles!

I agree

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