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  • Beethoven: Moonlight - Piano Sonatas Nos. 13, 14, 30
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Beethoven: Moonlight - Piano Sonatas Nos. 13, 14, 30

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Product details

  • Performer: Maria Joao Pires
  • Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (25 Nov. 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00005OC07
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,792 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata for Piano No. 13 in E flat major, "Quasi una fantasia", op. 27/1
2. Sonata for Piano No. 13 in C sharp minor, "Quasi una fantasia", op. 27/2 (Moonlight)
3. Sonata for Piano No. 30 in E flat major, op. 109

Product Description


Maria Joao Pires's disc Beethoven: Sonatas "Quasi una fantasia" is an unusual grouping, but the way she plays the sonatas, it makes perfect sense. And the first--the traditionally underrated Op.27 No 1--gains greatly through its juxtaposition. The singing line of its gentle opening movement is here underpinned by a tensile strength, which continues on through the spare octaves of its second movement until we arrive at the plangent warmth of the Adagio; the final Allegro is imbued with a joyful sense of release. Pires's treatment of the "Moonlight" sonata is exemplary: clean restraint is the quality which pervades it, whether in the opening movement or in the turbulent close. But the surprise of this CD lies in the third work; its first movement played so slowly. At first this seems ponderous--the ethereality normally associated with its flying figures is here replaced by burnished steel. But gradually one accepts her point, with the result that one can savour the ecstatic stillness she brings to the variations of the finale. With this disc, Pires's reputation for eccentricity is superbly maintained. --Michael Church

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Enobarbus on 9 Jun. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a great admirer of Pires, I looked forward to this disc of Beethoven sonatas but came away hugely disappointed. She sounds like someone doing something wholly uncongenial through a sense of duty: I kept imagining her scooping up some ghastly old relative's unspeakable dirty washing with a huge pair of wooden tongs. Whatever Beethoven is, he's never timid, tentative or inhibited yet those are the adjectives that spring to mind throughout this recital. It's like listening to a performance at a piano competition where the competitor is remarkably assured technically but has absolutely no feeling for or comprehension of the music she's playing. The storming finale of the Moonlight sounds like a little girl having a tantrum: it ends with her stamping her little feet. The effect is not tragic but comic.

The disappointment extends to the packaging: a nasty little cardboard sleeve which is complicated to negotiate. It seems nobody was very committed to the task.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Transcendent, austere beauty. 3 Dec. 2001
By Ralph H. Peters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Reviewers write in such hyperbole that words are cheapened. When a genuinely transcendent work of art comes along, our praise uses the same vocabulary as that applied to the latest bit of over-hyped junk. I found this recording hypnotic and unique--an incomparable fusion of mature, wise austerity, impeccable technique, controlled passion, bright intelligence and an almost otherworldly sensitivity enabled by, rather than inhibited by, the artist's self-control. If this sounds contradictory, it's because language won't go the step beyond required to communicate the level of achievement Maria Joao Pires has reached at this point. Like the utterly-different Martha Argerich, she is a transcendent artist, someone who exists in such a perfect union with the music that, upon hearing her recordings, you feel that "this is exactly how the piece was meant to be played and heard and felt." For anyone who believes the "Moonlight" sonata is worn-out, this recording will be a revelation. My only reservation is that I'm not certain young ears will "get it." This is music so incisive that the listener may need a certain experience of life--and of music--to begin to appreciate the quality on offer. Quiet, rigorous, yet rich with passion of the highest order, this is, for me, one of the greatest piano recordings I have ever heard. Stunning.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A MUST HAVE, but not because it's a great recording ........... 2 Jun. 2011
By MovieMusic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The problem with this cd is not so much with the pianist (she has greater and lesser moments just like they all do) as with the recording. The microphone positioning has created a very unnatural effect, both good and bad. The overall balance is terrible, because there is far too much bass echo. This piano does not sound like anything you will ever hear in a concert hall.

But the upside is that Maria has a lightness of touch that, so closely miked, produces softer treble passages that are the most thrillingly delicate I have ever heard. These are sounds that never normally reach your ears because they dissipate in space.

So this is not a great recording, not even really a good one. Yet it is still a must have because it contains short passages of the most beautiful sounds you might ever hear. A good set of headphones, preferably open or semi-open, will reveal them.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very well played 7 Oct. 2002
By "scarlatti11" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pires did a wonderful work
with this sonatas, my favorite
is Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata.
Pires puts the passion and the
feelings that the performance
of these works need.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
careful of expectations... 19 Feb. 2002
By Kenneth J. Luurs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pires is a superb pianist, and I am a huge fan of virtually every recording she has produced...until this one. Mind you, this is not a "bad" recording. Rather, it just did not move me the way that nearly all of her other recordings have. By way of example, I think her recordings of the Schubert Impromptus are the kind one would wish to have on that proverbial desert isle.
One other complaint is against the experimental packaging. It was exceptionally flimsy. One must hope that we are not viewing the future of CD packaging.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Maria João Pires ~ Beethoven - Sonatas "Quasi una fantasia" ~ Moonlight 6 Mar. 2008
By Yair Zarmi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Maria João Pires ~ Beethoven - Sonatas "Quasi una fantasia" ~ Moonlight

Excellent touch of the keys
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