Robert L. Berkowitz | Natick, MA United States | 08/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first recording of the "big three" Beethoven Sonatas (the Moonlight, Pathetique and Appasionata) was Rudolf Serkin on Columbia Masterworks. I was encouraged to purchase it over the recording by Rubinstein on RCA because of Serkin's reputation as a Beethoven specialist. Although one cannot argue with Serkin's playing, I later learned that Rubinstein had special insights to bring to this music and thus I eagerly awaited its release in CD format so I could add it to my collection.The "big three" don't fill out the CD format well enough in terms of minutes used, so it is now customary to add "Les Adieux" to the program. Thus we have a collection of Beethoven's most famous "named" piano sonatas (well, of course, this leaves out other worthy entries including the "Tempest", "Waldstein" and "Hammerklavier" sonatas). The Rubinstein recording, and the Moravec recording, consist of these "big four".In a head-to-head comparison between Moravec's recording and Rubinstein, I surprisingly came away prefering Moravec's in all four sonatas. This was no mean feat, as I had come to appreciate Rubinstein's recording. Moravec is an exciting pianist. His playing is compelling, dynamic, and attentive to detail. This recording now ranks as my favorite collection of these favorite sonatas.I have other favorites of the individual sonatas. Gilels still enthralls me in his 1965 Carnegie hall performance of the Moonlight sonata, and his DG recording of the Appasionata is outstanding. Steven Kovacevich performs the Pathetique with playing that is alternately incisive and delicate on his Great Pianist Series entry devoted to the Beethoven sonatas. Richter, Walter Klien, Richard Goode and Russell Sherman also give much pleasure in these. But, if you are looking for a single CD for these sonatas, this is the one I would turn to."
The most riveting performance of these works anywhere
email@example.com | Chelmsford, Massachusetts | 06/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are a few pianists who play these warhorses faster or louder. But the searing intensity of these performances, a product of Moravec's unique musical vision and uncanny sonic wizardry, put them in a class of their own.Indeed in his hands, these pieces are not warhorses, they are revelations. As one newgroup commentator put it, no matter how well you may already know them, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the "terrible beauty" of the music on this recording."