Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Van Cliburn|
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Stephen T. from ASHLAND, OR
Reviewed on 12/11/2009...
These are technically very accurate performances, but unlike his recordings of Romantic and 20th Century music, these interpretations seem perfunctory in comparison. Arrau, Brendel, Askenazy, Sherman, etc., provide much more nuanced and sensitive performances of Beethoven sonatas.
Putting the ?Classic? in Classical Music Recording
S. Lane | Seattle, WA | 01/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1958, at the height of the Cold War, American pianist Van Cliburn drew an eight-and-a-half minute standing ovation from a exhilarated Russian audience with his performance of "Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor" at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Ultimately, Cliburn won the Grand Prize at the event and his victory made front page news worldwide. With a swell of nationalistic pride, the US citizens celebrated his return with a ticker-tape parade in New York City-an honor that has yet to be given to any other classical musician. Cliburn went on to a rigorous touring and recording career, during which he played many of the classic works that became the "Van Cliburn Collection" on the RCA Victor record label. Then, surprising his fans and colleagues, in 1978 he took an extended "intermission" from concert and recording activities for a much-needed break to restore his creative energies. When Cliburn finally returned to the stage in 1989, it was to sold-out appearances in Philadelphia and Dallas, as well as triumphal concerts in Leningrad and Moscow. To commemorate Cliburn's return to public life, on January 30, 1990, RCA Victor reissued the classic recording, Beethoven Sonatas, on compact disc.The use of extreme dynamics is a distinguishing characteristic of the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Very often, he will leave no transitional clue where the next contrast will be, which provides an exciting aural experience for the listener. Beethoven also uses multi-octave ranges and turn-on-a-dime tempo changes to create tension in his compositions. Cliburn displays a deft feel for all of Beethoven's compositional "devices," particularly on the first track of the disc, the "Moonlight" Sonata. According to the CD's extensive program notes, the "Moonlight" Sonata "marks the beginning of a period when Beethoven produced increasingly experimental works, emancipating himself from the expected sonata-form first movement and substituting freer forms..." This could explain the huge popularity of the first movement of Moonlight-titled "Sonata quasi una fantasia" (roughly translated that means "sonata almost like a dream") by the composer. Or perhaps it is the dream-like nature of the persistent arpeggios of the left hand that draws listeners in. Regardless of the reason, as played by Van Cliburn, the "Moonlight" Sonata is a transcendent work.In the Adagio Sostenuto, Cliburn employs tasteful phrasing and discerning pedal work to maintain the soft, deeply moving serenity of the first theme. His mastery prevents this very familiar (some might say overplayed) first movement from becoming trite or maudlin. Cliburn's gradual dynamic increases and legato triplets flow as smoothly and freely as "a boat passing the wild scenery of Lake Lucerne in the moonlight." That soothing association inspired Berlin journalist and poet Ludwig Rellstab to name the piece "Moonlight" Sonata-but only years after Beethoven's death. Cliburn does not rush the Allegretto, giving the brief second movement-which is just a bit over two minutes-a gently noble feel. However, the jewel in the crown of this work is the Presto. In the third and final movement, Cliburn displays all of the passionate artistry and technical brilliance that first captivated fans back in 1958 and for which he is still revered by classical music listeners today. RCA Victor Van Cliburn Collection "Beethoven Sonatas" only confirms Cliburn's enduring presence in classical music."
Decent but not brilliant
Lanja Samsdottir | Utrecht, Holland | 09/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I used to really like this CD, but now, having revisited it after a few years, I find that it doesn't appeal to me as much as it used to. The tempi felt extremely rushed, particularly in the Appassionata, and overall it seemed to me that Van Cliburn was just going through the motions to strike the right notes. At the risk of sounding like a philistine, I actually prefer Barenboim's recording of the Moonlight/Pathetique/Appassionata. Essentially, I thought that Van Cliburn lacked any distinctiveness or character - he sounded sometimes tired and often perfunctory - so while this CD was good for background music or an introduction to these works, it isn't something I would choose if I were looking for deeper insights into the music. On the other hand, the other two reviewers here really liked it, so maybe I'm just not listening attentively enough."