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Beethoven: Piano Works Vol. 4 [Recorded 1932-34] [Original recording remastered]

Ludwig van Beethoven Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Beethoven: Piano Works Vol. 4 [Recorded 1932-34] + Beethoven - Piano Works, Vol 1 + Beethoven: Piano Works Vol. 3 [Recorded 1932-1935]
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Mar 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Naxos Historical
  • ASIN: B00008IHVL
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,668 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata no. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22
2. Sonata no. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26
3. Sonata no. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27, No. 1

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CD

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Artur Schnabel (Austrian born, in 1882) has been described as a 'musician' rather than as a 'pianist'. There are technically better exponents of the instrument, there are pianists who are more disciplined and less explosive than Schnabel, but his interpretation of Beethoven's piano sonatas remains an outstanding contribution to music and to an understanding of the composer.
Schanbel had a composer's mind - he wasn't only a performer, he wrote and arranged as well. He also seems to have entered into Beethoven's mindset and established an almost telepathic link with the genius. Contemporaries of Schnabel certainly felt that no one in their era came as close to expressing the 'real' Beethoven.
And there is a significant parallel in Schnabel's recording of the work and Beethoven's writing of them. The piano sonatas were first and foremost Beethoven. They were written by him at a piano, and were played by him at a piano - not by an orchestra or quartet or trio. This is a direct link to Beethoven's hand, ear, and mind. The sonatas are passionately individual and intimate.
And they were written at a time when the piano was evolving - Beethoven was pushing the instrument to its then technical limitations. Schnabel records the works in the face of rapid developments of the technology of his time. Though recording techniques and equipment look at least quaint and antiquated by today's standards, this was the cutting edge of technology in the 1930's. Yet Schnabel was reluctant to record the works initially - he couldn't quite accept that it was legitimate.
And he had good reason.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gold Standard for Beethoven Piano Sonatas 3 May 2003
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you're looking at this page, you must already know that for many people and for seven decades Schnabel's Beethoven Society recordings of the piano works have been the benchmark against which all others have subsequently been measured. These pioneering recordings have had many incarnations and currently here at Amazon.com alone one can find the complete set on Pearl, EMI and Classica d'Oro. Now Naxos is putting out their series, which will extend to nine volumes for the sonatas and two more for other piano works. Wizard recording producer Mark Obert-Thorn tracked down multiple sets of the rare 78 rpm discs in Britain, America and France and took the best he could find to make these new recordings. He got rid of things like pops and clicks while leaving in a soupçon of surface noise (even between movements - just like there would have been on the old 78s).
I particularly remember listening, in my childhood, to the recording (on this disc) of Sonata No. 12 in A flat, Op. 26, and marveling at the whirlwind left hand in the Scherzo. Later, when I heard people sniffing that Schnabel had no technique, I knew better.
I needn't comment about the performances. Volumes have already been written about them. I suspect you're more interested in the sound quality. I've heard pressings from the Pearl and EMI sets. These new Naxos versions are superior to them, although the Pearls are a close second. And then there's the price. Can't be beat. Only one caveat: you may wish to wait until the whole set is complete and buy them in a boxed set.
Scott Morrison
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