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Great Pianists of the 20th Century - Stephen Kovacevich, Vol.1


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Product details

  • Performer: Stephen Kovacevich
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (4 Sep 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Great Pianists of the 20th Century
  • ASIN: B00000DBUI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,628 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Sonata In C Minor, Op.13 'Pathetique': Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio
2. Piano Sonata In C Minor, Op.13 'Pathetique': Adagio cantabile
3. Piano Sonata In C Minor, Op.13 'Pathetique': Rondo. Allegro
4. Piano Sonata In D Minor, Op. 31 No. 2: Largo - Allegro
5. Piano Sonata In D Minor, Op. 31 No. 2: Adagio
6. Piano Sonata In D Minor, Op. 31 No. 2: Allegretto
7. Piano Sonat In E Flat, Op.31 No.3 'Hunt': Allegro
8. Piano Sonat In E Flat, Op.31 No.3 'Hunt': Scherzo. Allegretto vivace
9. Piano Sonat In E Flat, Op.31 No.3 'Hunt': Menuetto. Moferato e grazioso
10. Piano Sonat In E Flat, Op.31 No.3 'Hunt': Presto con fuoco
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Piano Sonata In A (Concl.): Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll. Adgio ma non troppo, con affetto
2. Piano Sonata In A (Concl.): Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit. Allegro
3. Piano Sonata In E, Op. 109: Vivace ma non troppo - Adagio espressivo - Tempo I
4. Piano Sonata In E, Op. 109: Prestissimo
5. Piano Sonata In E, Op. 109: Gesangvoll, mit inningster Empfindung. Andante cantabile ed espressivo
6. Piano Sonata In A Flat, Op. 110: Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
7. Piano Sonata In A Flat, Op. 110: Allegro molto
8. Piano Sonata In A Flat, Op. 110: Adagio ma non troppo - Fuga. Allegro ma non troppo
9. Piano Sonata In C Minor, Op. 111: Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato
10. Piano Sonata In C Minor, Op. 111: Arietta. Adagio molto semplice e cantabile

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Not Dr Brodsky on 11 Nov 2003
There is an old advert that states 'one instinctively knows when something is right' which is the feeling you get all the way through this 2 disc Beethoven collection. Mr Kovacevich plays 'exceedingly good Beethoven sonatas'. Athletic playing, but always at the service of the music, never just for it's own sake. Those seeking the more tortured Beethoven, the Gary Oldman tempremental type, should look elsewhere, and probably somewhere other than Beethoven. This is Beethoven you can touch, Beethoven you can feel, here there is no sign saying 'Please do not leave your grubby finger marks all over the exhibit', human Beethoven and all the better for it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. A. Harding on 6 Sep 2000
This CD is a series of 100 double CD's celebrating the work of 74 of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Names include:- Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alfred Brendel, Glenn Gould, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Stephen Kovacevich.
This CD contains 7 of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas. The first 3 are fairly early works and the last 4 are late works written when Beethoven was almost completely deaf. This selection of pieces represents some of the finest piano music that Beethoven ever wrote.
The playing by Kovacevich in all 7 Sonatas is of an exceptional standard. He plays dymanically and fluidly as well as being absolutely flawless. The sound quality of the recording is also excellent.
Altogether, this is an absolutely excellent purchase, and I would recommend that this CD should be in every classical music lovers collection.
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Yes, Kovacevich's Pathetique is out of this world. The Grave is slow, mysterious, delicate, pianissimo - almost inaudible - and the Allegro an explosion of fireworks, Kovacevich falls very little short of banging, such passionate is the playing. I frankly haven't heard this sonata played this good, and I think this is close to perfection. The 'Tempest' is also excellent, as are op.101 and 109-111. It's interesting to compare the last three to Brendel's last three; which one would you pick? - competition was really high among these two near-contemporaries, working for the same recording label in the same years, benefiting from the extraordinary Philips sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
classic accounts 12 Feb 2001
By "asbyip" - Published on Amazon.com
It is perhaps a pity that Kovacevich did not complete a Beethovan sonata cycle for Phillips in the 70s and 80s. Fortunately he is doing one now for EMI. Listening to these sonatas again confirmed that he is in the same class as Schnabel, Serkin, Arrau - and no praise can be higher ! Modern pianists cannot match his insight into these works, not even Brendel, Pollini etc.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Beefy Beethoven 15 Jan 2001
By JT - Published on Amazon.com
Excellent, overall, I found Kovacevich'a interpretation of these sonatas generally to be superior to similiar recordings I own by Arthur Rubinstein, Alfred Brendel or Christina Ortiz. Technicaly he is second to none, but it is his artistry and interprative abilities that sets him apart. He plays these pieces more agressively and uses more contrast most pianists but he does not go so far as to distract the listener from the beauty of these pieces. The sound is generally very good for recordings made in the 1970's, however tape hiss does pop up occasionally in Op.13. Although all the pieces are very good, his interpretation of Op. 13, is the best I ever heard, However, if you want to try a lighter, less agressive Beethoven get Rubinstein's playful rendering of the E-Flat Op.31, no 3 sonata , or Brendel's Op. 111 both of which are excellent.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mainly for Sonatas 8, 17, and 32 14 May 2003
By "ibell21" - Published on Amazon.com
I'm most impressed with Kovacevich's handling of the dramatic minor key sonatas on this disc--#8 is the Pathetique, #17 is the Tempest, and #32 is of course the famous last sonata. The fast minor key movements have all the drama, concentration, and intensity one could ask for in a Beethoven sonata, and the slow movements for the most part equally impressive. (And unlike some other undoubtedly great Beethoven pianists, Kovacevich's playing never shows signs of limitations of technique.) Kovacevich's sonata #32 is I think my favourite among the 32s I know, K.'s interpretation of the second movement being transporting in the way it ought to be while at the same time being built on the firmest of structural foundations.
I like Kovacevich's #28 without being swept away by it, whereas the lyricism of ##30 and 31 sometimes verges a bit too close to mushiness for my taste. As I wrote in my (anonymous) Amazon review of his EMI re-make of #31, I like that version better partly because the textures seem clearer.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not to miss 5 Oct 2013
By Music Pen - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
A great, and greatly underrated, pianist - LA then London trained (Dame Myra Hess) and a member of the truly great pianists of the second half of the 20th century.
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