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Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume II (Opp 10 & 13) [CD]

Andras Schiff Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 15.61 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Biography

András Schiff emerged in the last decades of the 20th century as one of the most respected pianists of his generation. He began piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász, and made his debut at the age of nine. At 14 Schiff began formal studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. Later he studied ... Read more in Amazon's Andras Schiff Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume II (Opp 10 & 13) + Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume III (Opp 14, 22 & 49) + Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume I (Opp 2 & 7)
Price For All Three: 46.84

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Product details

  • Performer: Andras Schiff
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (31 Dec 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B000EGFUZA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,530 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata No 5 in C minor op. 10/1 - Allegro molto e con brio
2. Adagio molto
3. Finale. Prestissimo
4. Sonata No 6 in F major op. 10/2 - Allegro
5. Allegretto
6. Presto
7. Sonata No 7 in D major op. 10/3 - Presto
8. Largo e mesto
9. Menuetto. Allegretto
10. Rondo. Allegro
11. Sonata No 8 in C minor op. 13 'Pathetique' - Grave. Allegro molto e con brio
12. Adagio cantabile
13. Rondo. Allegro

Product Description

Product Description

International press reaction to the first volume of Schiff's Beethoven cycle was unanimous in their praise and many critics expressed their high expectations for the edition as a whole: "If the results match this volume we are in for a memorable cycle" - Sunday Times. And his concept to record the sonatas live and on two different pianos found much respect with reviewers. He plays each in 15 different cities before recording it: "I really feel that my performances get more mature from concert to concert. The repetitions are a very valuable lesson." As to his alternating use of a Steinway and a Bosendorfer, he emphasizes Beethoven's versatility and his great range of sonorities: "Most of his piano sonatas are rather lyrical pieces - they are poetic, philosophical, sometimes even humorous creations that don't 'bite' in the way the 'Pathetique' or the 'Hammerklavier' sonatas do. They have nothing in common with the cliche of the heroic and dramatic Beethoven. That's why I prefer the Bosendorfer in these works."

Schiff has repeatedly claimed that Beethoven's early sonatas need to be taken absolutely seriously as they offer highest compositional quality right from the start with Op 2. The Op 10 sonatas, written between 1796 and 1798 before he was 30, form a group of subtly interrelated masterworks. In Schiff's view they are pieces for "connoisseurs and amateurs", each displaying its own clearly defined character while the famous 'Pathetique' from 1798/99 introduces a dramatic attitude and a symphonic writing that was to become a central trait of some of Beethoven's most important works.

Schiff's Beethoven cycle on ECM continues this autumn with Volume III: the Sonatas Opp 11, 14 and 22.

Personnel:
Andras Schiff - piano

Product Description

ECM 1942 4763100; ECM RECORDS - Germania; Classica da camera Piano

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, insighful playing 28 Feb 2009
By Jon Chambers TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
András Schiff is one of those rare musicians who is rewarding to listen to in both word and deed. In his outstanding Guardian lecture series, Schiff makes the point that these Opus 10 sonatas were, for commercial reasons, intended for the amateur market. Compared to the previous sonatas (opp2 & 7), they are shorter and technically less demanding - while remaining characteristically uncompromising. And, although early works, these are certainly no apprentice pieces. Schiff makes some illuminating observations: that the word amateur derives from 'amatori', suggesting passion rather than lack of prowess; and that the 'fate motif' in the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth makes its first appearance in the Sonata No1 in c, for instance.

Serious alternatives to these sonatas on CD are thinner on the ground than they should be. That by Brendel (Philips) is marred by being a live recording, with enough coughs and splutters to hurry the soloist between movements. Brautigam's (BIS), played on authentic fortepiano, is very much an acquired taste. The pianist is excellent but the instrument refuses to 'sing' - to what would have been Beethoven's almost certain annoyance as well as ours. Kemp's third and final recording (DG), meanwhile, is annoyingly clipped and idiosyncratic in its phrasing. And so on.

If you are looking for a classic interpretation of Beethoven sonatas without wanting to go as far as the fortepiano, with its harsh tonalities and limited capacity to sustain, this is the one for you. Schiff plays with the utmost respect for this music. He doesn't allow himself liberties, even during the silences. As always, he gives the impression of being very much in tune with Beethoven who, as a pianist, habitually composed from the keyboard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime quality 11 Oct 2009
By Mark C
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These ECM recordings by Andras Schiff were reccomended to me by my Hi-Fi dealer. Piano music has not always been my favourite type
of music to listen to in the past, but these recordings of the Beethoven piano sonatas changed all that! So what makes them so good
you ask? Well where do I start - first off I would have to comment on the superb quality recordings - I believe that as one of the previous reviewers
pointed out, these were recorded in the correct right and left hand perspective as far as micing goes i.e imagine you are sat at the piano the left channel
recorded the low note end of the piano and the right side the high note end. Another interesting thing about these recordings is the way Schiff has interpreted
the music - some say and critiscise his rendition of "Moonlight" as too fast - I think that will come down to personal taste, but I find it refreshing. If you
are fortunate enogh to have a really good quality system then I think you will really apreciate these recordings as the music really does come alive for you, if
you close your eyes it seems as though you are listening to Schiff giving you your own personal concert in your living room, it is uncanny.
To sum up - great quality and very relaxing to listen to, and in my humble oppinion if these do not stir your musical emotions then probably nothing will.
Highly reccomended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy the whole cycle now!!! 28 Jan 2008
By Mr. Nadim Bakhshov VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What happens in this Beethoven Cycle is a measure of one of the greatest features of Andras Schiff's playing. He thinks through the music (see the download page on Guardian Unlimited page for his analyses) and arrives at an interpretation that both combines intellectual rigour, emotive insight and profound pianistic fluidity.

The narrative trajectory of the sonatas is key and, like the Well Tempered Clavier, Schiff has opened up this cycle for me.

Thoroughly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinatingly fresh readings 5 Jun 2007
By Prescott Cunningham Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Andras Schiff's Beethoven cycle seems to defy classification. Considering this artists unanimous success as a sensitive and intelligent accompanist, a leading interpreter of Schubert and Mozart, and in light of his graceful, lyric readings of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach, it seems as if it would be safe to assume Beethoven's lyric earlier works would respond resplendently to Schiff's delicate touch. But to the contrary, in the first installment of the cycle, Schiff delivered full-bodied approaches that did not always suite the sonatas particularly well. Although the 1st and 2nd sonatas were delightful, a tighter perspective would have yielded a more coherent opus 2, No. 3 and more energy a stronger opus 7. The inconsistencies are still present in this release, but, again, where you would least expect it. Schiff delivers a shockingly convincing Pathetique, one strong on classical musical argument and filled with fresh spontaneity. As for the opus 10 sonatas, they are more of a mixed bag.

Although Schiff claims in the liner notes that he reads the F major sonata as a comic work, little of that humor actually translates into his reading. Schiff draws little humor from the coquettish flourishes that open the piece, nor do the petulant minor outbursts create any real sense of tension and release. The development zips by far too quickly and he creates nothing comic of the false recapitulation. Worse still, the finale lacks any sense of warmth or charm in Schiff's hands. He certainly makes the most of the counterpuntal nature of the work, but the proceeding has a wooden, almost perfunctory ennui that completely misses the mark. Conversely, the allegretto is delightful. Schiff magically coaxes a dark, murky tone from his instrument that is rapt with tension. Best of all, that very tension transitions into the trio magnificently, which incidentally features some of the best playing on the disc. He makes the most of music's somber poignancy, making the return of the minuet theme all the more haunting.

Opus 10, No. 3 features some wonderfully introspective playing from Schiff in the largo, taken at a flowing tempo which allows Schiff to articulate the various moods effectively. The menuetto, just shy of three minutes, is pure charm and the rondo appropriately punchy. The first movement is a bit more problematic, featuring wonderful technical precision married to lively tempos, but marred by a slightly mannered development. Schiff slight hesitations are just that, slight, but they are apparent enough to become tiresome after repeated listenings.

Surprisingly, the two c-minor sonatas are the best on the disc. Schiff (thankfully) trades in his delicate touch and somewhat mannered phrasing for strong rhythms and a sturdy tone.

The first of the opus 10 sonatas responds quite well to the instrument's brighter timbre. He creates some wonderfully dark sonorities in the opening allegro, although Schiff's clipping of the arpeggio theme is slightly aggravating. The second movement goes well enough, although suffering slightly due to the brittle tone in the upper register. The finale, however, is quite delightful. Schiff's nimble technique is dazzling as he navigates between the various moods, especially in the particularly punchy major episodes. By underplaying the coda, Schiff adds a tremendous amount of tension to the closing passages, unusually uneasy behind the mask of a major key.

The "Pathetique" is uniformly spectacular, his best conception within the cycle so far. The sonata opens with an appropriate gravitas that functions within the classical structural parameters of the work. The allegro has great vitality, energy, and a fresh spontaneity that is all together refreshing. And although I personally feel repeating the introduction with the exposition robs the development of some of its shocking novelty, so convincing is Schiff's commitment to his case that it does not bother me one bit. The freshness of the first movement ebbs over into the wonderfully flowing second movement. Schiff shakes off the romantic patina that this movement has amassed over the years, which makes the listening experience akin to seeing a newly cleaned and restored painting. Schiff's usual sensitivity of tone and tasteful accoutrements only add to this gem. Best of all, Schiff reads the finale as a classical rondo in the truest sense, making no attempt to instill grand drama where Beethoven intended none. The episodes fly by with delightful buoyancy, Schiff adding refined embellishments with each return of the rondo theme. The churlish clipping of the final chords is slightly gauche, but on the whole, Schiff succeeds in the seemingly impossible task of delivering a fresh "Pathetique" read (correctly) not as a romantic milestone but rather as a classical sonata struggling to find a voice for Beethoven's developing style.

All in all, the good out weigh the bad in this second release from Andras Schiff, whose cycle, if anything, will be musically fascinating. Although I will never warm to the harsh, overly-bright tone of his instrument, only exacerbated by the microphone placement, Schiff has more than enough to say to warrant adding this release to your collection. And while at times he can sound distant, calculated, or just plain bizarre, he is always saying something interesting, defending his choices with utmost conviction. Fascinating.
5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable series 8 Jan 2008
By Ian Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Andras Schiff's rendition of this whole series of 32 Sonata's is breathtaking. His skill, interpretation and dedication to these pieces is remarkable. Made so much more enjoyable by his lecture series on all the Beethoven Piano Sonatas available on the Guardian Unlimited website which makes this volume all that more accessible and enjoyable
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