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Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume IV (Opp 26, 27 & 28) CD

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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 IV (Opp 26, 27 & 28) + Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume III (Opp 14, 22 & 49) + Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume II (Opp 10 & 13)
Price For All Three: £42.83

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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: B000PC6G6A
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,939 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Andante Con Variazioni
2. Scherzo. Allegro Molto
3. Marcia Funebre Sulla Morte D'un Eroe
4. Allegro
5. Andante - Allegro - Tempo I
6. Allegro Molto E Vivace
7. Adagio Con Espressione
8. Allegro Vivace
9. Adagio Sostenuto
10. Allegretto
11. Presto Agitato
12. Allegro
13. Andante
14. Scherzo. Allegro Vivace
15. Rondo. Allegro Ma Non Troppo

Product Description

This is the fourth album in Schiff's complete Beethoven sonatas, it was recorded live from Zurich's Town Hall and produced by Manfred Eicher.

International critics writing on the first three volumes of András Schiff's Beethoven sonata cycle, recorded in strict chronological order, have praised a particularly "sharp attention to detail" (Gramophone on Vol.2) and expressed their high expectations for the whole edition: for instance The Observer described Vol.3 as "a distinguished instalment in an outstanding cycle". The new album, which takes the listener to the half-way stage of the cycle, includes the most popular of all Beethoven Sonatas, the `Moonlight'.

Schiff recently reiterated his reasons to record the sonatas live in the Zürich Tonhalle: "I'm fully convinced that vivid performances are possible only in front of an audience. I obviously don't share Glenn Gould's opinion that concerts are superfluous and that work in the recording studio is so much more important. Being an artist you live for those very moments when music really happens."

Comes complete with a lavish booklet that includes an extensive and illuminating interview with András Schiff. Personnel: András Schiff - piano

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Nadim Bakhshov VINE VOICE on 28 Jan 2008
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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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark C on 11 Oct 2009
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Schiff's Beethoven series continues in superb fashion 27 May 2008
By Joe Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Andras Schiff is releasing a complete cycle of the Beethoven 32 piano sontats. This is Volume 4, featuring three of his better-known symphonies (The Op 26 "Funeral March", the Op 27 No 2 "Moonlight, and the Op 28 "Pastoral"). The sonata which steals the thunder is the Op 27 No 1 (the first of the sonatas "quasi una Fantasia").

All four sonatas are impeccably played. Schiff uses a minimum of damper pedal. He also picks up the tempo of the famous "Moonlight" first movement, while sustaining the damper pedal (at half-pedal, I think) for what seems to be the entire movement. It's a stunning effect.

I might also recommend the Schiff lectures on the 32 sonatas - check out the Guardian UK website - [...] - who generously posted the 32 lectures (delivered over two years at Wigmore Hall) on their website for free! The Schiff series is a must-have for Beethoven collectors. The performances are live and have an intensity and a flow that can be lacking in studio recordings. Schiff is a master architect, and he knows every crevice of these pieces. If you haven't discovered Schiff's Beethoven yet, this is a perfect introduction.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The ones I live with 16 Dec 2010
By L. Lubin - Published on Amazon.com
A couple of years ago a friend gave me a ticket she couldn't use for Andras Schiff playing Beethoven's Tempest, Waldstein, and Appassionata Sonatas at Carnegie Hall. I'd always had a very high regard for Schiff's playing, and had heard a few of his Beethoven sonatas on the radio, so I was very eager. I left the Hall resolved to buy the complete set.

I had many sonata recordings, of course. Schnabel, Brendel, Richard Goode, Nikolayeva, Richter...but I had never heard anyone until then whose complete set I wanted. Some were too light in some places, others too heavy elsewhere. Schiff's musical perception and sensitivity, coupled with his technical mastery and extraordinary touch, seemed the perfect combination. I have not been disappointed.

Some will likely find the tempo of the Moonlight Sonata's first movement unusually fast. I did at first, but in recalling Beethoven's tempo and meter markings(Adagio sostenuto, alla breve). That adagio sostenuto refers to the main beat, not the triplets. And alla breve means there are TWO beats to the measure, not four. So each st of SIX triplet eight-notes constitutes one adagio beat. We certainly are not accustomed to hearing it this way, but it certainly isn't wrong. By contrast, the slowest I have ever heard (Andre Watts, in a gorgeously evocative performance) takes about two minutes longer in this movement alone. At the opening of the work, Beethoven included a written direction that the sustain pedal should be depressed for the entire duration of the first movement. The Italian reads: "Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino". ("One must play this whole piece [meaning "movement"] very delicately and without dampers.") Schiff has the lightness of touch to be able to observe this notation without blurring out the whole piece.

But he also has the requisite muscle for the two succeeding movements, and for the biggest of the late sonatas, and can actually make the monsters, like the Hammerklavier, sing.

Don't hesitate. Download. Enjoy. Live with them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Finally, the Next Generation Beethoven Piano Sonatas 13 Jun 2012
By Paul S. Rottenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As with the recent recordings of the Beethoven Symphonies by Pavvo Jarvi and others, Andras Schiff's new recordings of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas represent the most advanced critical thought on these great works. His performance of the op. 27, no. 2, for example, may not be to everyone's taste, especially if you were raised on the great recordings of the past (Rubinstein, for example), but if you really love this music and are curious about different ways to play it, you should listen to this recording. You can also hear Schiff's interesting lecture/recitals on the Guardian's online music blogs. The music on this CD is discussed in Lecture no. 4.

The big difference in Schiff's playing has to do with tempos and textures. In op. 27, no.2, for example, the first mvt., which is usually played as a regular adagio (Rubinstein plays it as a Chopin nocturne), goes at about an andante or almost a moderato tempo, which is the way I see it. It has always seemed to me to be closer to a J. S. Bach prelude from the "Well-Tempered Clavier," all of which Beethoven knew since he was 12, or a fantasia by Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach, which is exactly what Schiff gives us. Schiff explains his choice for tempo in both his program notes for this CD and on his online lectures. Personally, I'm convinced, as I am about Schiff's use of the damper pedal, which the music asks for in this same first mvt. of the c sharp minor Sonata. He explains his reasons for this, also. I think he comes closer to what Beethoven wants. After all, this music comes right after Mozart and Haydn, not Chopin. Not that you shouldn't play it like Chopin, but then you get something different from Beethoven. Perhaps the next step would be for Schiff to play on a fortepiano of say, 1812 or so? However, Schiff makes convincing use of his excellent Bosendorfer piano, and coupled with warm and detailed sound, this release is certainly very interesting, to say the least. So, if you're curious and adventurous, you won't be disappointed because this CD is part of the new wave or next generation of re-discovering these great works.
Andras Schiff’s refined approach to Beethoven 12 Aug 2014
By P. Adrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think the 32 piano sonatas by Beethoven are a priceless treasure not only for the music-lovers. They encapsulate an entire life experience with significance at every level: human, philosophical, sentimental, existential, political, cosmological, and even religious. They convey in the most efficient and intelligible way something very deep and genuine. There is nothing false or conventional in Titan’s outcome. Therefore the 32 will seduce generations and will stand gloriously the passing of time. Every generation of piano virtuosos will attempt to re-create, once more with each new interpretation, this fabulous cosmos of feelings and thoughts.

Among the most recent achievements I rank highly in my preferences the magisterial traversal of the Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff. I must mention that I was lucky to listen to the last performance in a series of seven devoted by Schiff to the complete cycle, performed recently in Vienna (season 2013-2014). Urged by that wonderful June evening at Konzerthaus I decided to acquire the set of 8 CDs Schiff recorded less than a decade ago, then in another sublime venue – from both acoustic and architectural viewpoint - that of the Tonhalle Zurich.

This is the fourth installment comprising some marvels such as the celebrated “Moonligh” and “Pastoral” sonatas. Although the tempo of the first movement of the “Moonlight” could seem at first a little bit too brisk, I get used with it since I learned from Schiff’s lectures about the indications in the manuscript score. By the way, his lectures with excerpts from the 32 delivered at Wigmore Hall in London remain as cornerstones in understanding Beethoven’s sonatas and a precious guide to the great music. At the same time, the conversations between Schiff and journalist Martin Meyer accompanying each volume in the recorded cycle are simply illuminating. They testify Schiff’s insightful and compelling commitment to Beethovenian treasure and sustain convincingly his musical result.
Highly recommended!
where the rubber meets the road... 7 July 2014
By Serban - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bet that everyone who bought this CD did it because of Schiff's lectures on Beethoven's piano sonatas.

I too was curious to hear the first movement of the C#m sonata (out of respect for the pianist, I'm not calling it the "Moonlight") interpreted as explained in the lecture. What a wonderful difference the livelier tempo does make! It really makes much more sense than the common soporific rendition.

Op. 26 and 28 are also slightly different from how I heard them before, but in a pleasant way.

Overall, a very well played set, my new go-to CD for these 4 sonatas.
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