I have always had misgivings about Uchida's Beethoven, having heard her play the last three sonatas live and been disappointed. Hearing her recent recordings, however, has made me change my mind. Yes, this is idiosyncratic playing: you are listening to Uchida's view of Hammerklavier, but there is insight here, wisdom and depth, that places this reading among the finest. Uchida's playing has grace and elegance, but with enough Romantic muscle to add weight to her performance. The slow movement is, in places, almost ethereal, as if she has shifted levels to a higher plane of existence, and the fugal finale maintains a real sense of line and proportion, presenting a convincing conclusion to an account of the piece as a whole that builds in intensity and expression. If you are only ever going to buy one version of this sonata, then this is probably not it. Kovacevich is in many ways truer to the score, entirely himself but in service to the music; Paul Lewis would probably be my 'building a library' recommendation; and, personally, I couldn't be without Brendel, Gilels and Schnabel, to name but a few of the greats. But this is a 'Hammerklavier' to be reckoned with, presenting new insights into this old warhorse and, as such, a 'must hear' for the serious Beethovenian.