I do not intend to waste any more of your time on this veritable catastrophe than is absolutely necessary, but the Beethoven's Piano Sonatas are so close to my heart that I cannot allow such blatant disrespect for such beautiful music to go unchallenged.
First of all, when a pianist - any pianist! - implies in the liner notes of their "complete" Beethoven Sonatas that the two Op. 49 sonatas were omitted because "they don't count," I cannot but regard such incredible presumption as criminally unjust to those unfamiliar with this music. If you have not already heard Beethoven's Op. 49 sonatas, let me assure you that they are, in their Haydenesque charm and grace, simply marvellous beyond measure!
In the light of the above logic - propounded by that great Beethoven scholar, HJ Lim, all of 20-something years young! - why not commission a "complete" set of Beethoven's Symphonies... minus that understated and unnecessarily lyrical 6th Symphony... you know, to keep that "fresh, new vision" rolling?
EMI really needs to hang its head in shame for allowing such an atrocity!
And secondly - after suffering through 8 excerpts of these painfully crude and comic interpretations; I could not bear to hear more! - I can do no better to state my case against these heinous performances than to quote no less a Beethoven scholar than Alfred Brendel on the subject of the performer as classical music interpreter:
"If I belong to a tradition it is a tradition that makes the masterpiece tell the performer what he should do and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the composer what he ought to have composed."
"Every piece has a structure, but it also has its own character. Each piece has its own personality, with different qualities, capabilities and frailties, but there's a borderline that closes the character; outside that borderline, the character doesn't exist. The same applies to a piece of music. Within the borderlines there's a certain amount of freedom for the player, but if you don't recognize the borderlines, and overstep and ignore them, you misrepresent and falsify the piece."
No, there is no "right" way to play Beethoven, but there are such things as responsibility, respect and taste! Only purchase complete recordings of Beethoven's piano sonatas - unedited by presumptuous, self aggrandizing "artists" who have no authority to deny anyone the right to hear all of these masterpieces - and you cannot go far wrong. Profound respect for this music can be found in masterful performances by Brendel, Kempff and Gilels, but more adventurous listeners may want to consider Pollini, Barenboim or the marvellous ongoing cycle by Bavouzet as possible alternatives.