Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Daniel Barenboim|
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim
The wit and the freshness impress most in Barenboim's set.
John Austin | Kangaroo Ground, Australia | 03/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A complete set of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas will provide any serious music lover with rich and endless enjoyment. Bold, challenging, beautiful, witty and fresh - they seem to encompass all aspects of human sensibility and aspiration. It is perhaps the wit and the freshness that impress most in Barenboim's EMI boxed set of the complete sonatas.Daniel Barenboim was 25 when he was invited to record them. Has any other pianist ever received such an invitation at that age? Barenboim accepted, but insisted that he be free to record them again if he wished to at a later stage in his career. Well, so far he has made one further complete recording, and that is very fine too.This set, however, recorded 1966-1969 is the one complete set I prefer above all others. Every listener will have his favourite sonatas and his favourite moments in them. I especially like Barenboim's spontaneous playing of the four sonatas found on CD 8. Elsewhere, Barenboim sometimes has a tendency to push slow tempos to extreme: the variation movements of Nos 30 and 32 are surely excessively slow.Welcome indeed, especially for those who once owned these recordings on first release vinyl, is the high quality of these 1989 EMI transfers. Adding inestimably to the value of this set are the notes provided by Eric Blom. Slightly abridged and edited here, they originally accompanied the first complete recording of the 32 sonatas made in the 1930s by Artur Schnabel."
My Favorite Beethoven Sonata Cycle
Steve Kessell | 05/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this cycle since I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Wilhelm Kempff's (1964) set on DG - a set I grew up with while studying many of these sonatas at the piano. Though Kempff always plays with sensitivity, I simply find his cycle too tame, especially in sonatas which call for more passion. Barenboim's cycle couldn't contrast more strongly with Kempff's. Reviewers stating that this is a performance of extremes, are correct. But I think that is just what Beethoven called for. I never find Barenboim's tempos disturbingly slow or fast. His playing in the slow movements is remarkably beautiful. Of course, Barenboim was in his 20's when he recorded his cycle - Kempff was in his 70's (I've read that Kempff's earlier mono cycle on DG is considerably more passionate and urgent). I've also heard parts of the Ashkenazy cycle, and consider that pretty fine. But I am bothered by the sound of Ashkenazy's piano (and the recorded sound) - the treble is piercing, and the bass is much too twangy. I also think Ashkenazy is a little lacking in the greatest depths of expression - his performances are somewhat standardized and efficient, rather than inspired. - Barenboim's later cycle on DG (1980's) is also very good (I've just heard parts) - and is also cheap. I think the DG sound is a bit better than on this 1965-9 EMI cycle (on DG the piano has a bit more air around the instrument). But this EMI cycle remains unbeatable for Barenboim's passionate performances, full of youthful exuberance. He just compels you to keep listening through the whole box."
Performed with great enthusiasm
Steve Kessell | Western Australia | 05/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is classic early Barenboim (he was just 24 when he started recording this set in 1966). He is very enthusiastic and expressive (if you don't like him, he "takes liberties" and "shows off"). The slow movements are veerrry slow, and the fast ones really rip. Pianissimo is extremely soft, and fortissimo rattles the windows! [My wife insists that I wear headphones for late-night listening.]Personally, I think his style is just right for Beethoven (but perhaps just a bit much when he plays Mozart). I'm very glad that I bought this set, but some might prefer Brendell's (Phillips) or Kempff's (DG) more sedate versions."