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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an odd program -- but a great recital!, 26 Aug 2013
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Murray Perahia: Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op.14 Nos 1 & 2; Op.26; Op.28 (Audio CD)
I think this might be a great recording, despite the fact that it contains none of the great heaven-storming sonatas and none of the transcendentally beautiful ones -- and despite the fact that it is accompanied by the most vapid, unhelpful, and, on one key point, inaccurate program booklet by Jeremy Siepmann. Does it really help to be told that Beethoven doesn't give us grief but the essence of grief? Especially in notes on a program that has nothing to do with grief? And does it really help to be told that two of the sonatas here were composed after Beethoven was dead? And does it help that the longest sonata on the disc isn't mentioned at all? But enough complaining: what about the music?

What gives this program its unity, I believe, is humor -- all of these sonatas are fun. Sometimes the fun is slightly sinister (as in the slow movement of the Op.28) and sometimes it is almost laugh-out-loud funny (as in the final movement of Op. 14 No.2), and at yet other times we have the sheer delight in making the piano make odd sounds and phrases that don't belong in any well-behaved classical sonata -- in other words, the medium is the message, so to speak, and any time that is the case, one has possibilities of detachment and humor. Even the funeral march in Op. 26 isn't moving, in the way one expects -- it's rather as if Beethoven is playing with the funeral march (as he decidedly isn't in the "Eroica" symphony, say). With all that said, it's not surprising that I found this totally enjoyable and invigorating -- for if humor is indeed what it's about, the individual character of each sonata is nonetheless marked and once again we're faced with the sheer fertility and inventiveness of this great composer. Perahia's playing of the music is superb -- the whole thing sparkles, the individual lines are lucidly laid out, the dynamic gradations are subtle and magical, and the recording does it all justice, giving Perahia lovely reproduction of tone from high to low, and never letting the lines get muddied. You can hear what both hands are doing clearly at all times. So I'll reaffirm: a great recording!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Have Everything, 29 April 2013
This review is from: Murray Perahia: Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op.14 Nos 1 & 2; Op.26; Op.28 (Audio CD)
This ravishing disc is a textbook of exemplary pianism from which any aspiring artist could learn much. Perahia's technique is so secure that everything sounds effortless. His pedalling is utterly transparent, his voicing the product of exceptional musical insight and control. Perahia thinks in long lyrical paragraphs in which no detail is extraneous to the developing musical argument. He is psychologically incapable of producing an ugly sound. It was said of Mozart that his playing was `like silk'. Perhaps Perahia is the closest we'll ever get to hearing Mozart play.

Which is the problem. Whether a formal garden with immaculately clipped box hedges and a manicured lawn is the setting in which you'd be likely to encounter Beethoven is questionable. Surely Beethoven is that uncouth peasant improvising like a god on a poorly regulated piano in the shady corner of a disreputable pub? He may have annotated his scores with considerable attention to matters of articulation and pedalling but in the white heat of visionary execution, did he really dot every i, cross every t? Doesn't a great Beethovenian need a touch of vulgarity and, frankly, a few technical blemishes? Above all, a little less fastidiousness, rather less good taste as he reaches for the unobtainable? Schnabel famously observed that Beethoven is better than he sounds. This disc sounds better than Beethoven should.

But if this disc sounds more like Haydn at his inspired best than his truculent pupil, who could seriously argue that we'd be better without it? This is an outstanding recital by a consummate musician.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 10 Oct 2011
This review is from: Murray Perahia: Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op.14 Nos 1 & 2; Op.26; Op.28 (Audio CD)
Sensitive and insightful playing, and very well recorded. But, having heard Richter 3, I found myself wishing for a higher voltage.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 7 Nov 2009
By 
Roland Herrera, Bristol UK (Bristol, Avon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Murray Perahia: Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op.14 Nos 1 & 2; Op.26; Op.28 (Audio CD)
I gave this disc to a friend as a thank you. She probably thought I was giving it away because I didn't like it... no far from that... I gave it away becuase I wanted to give the best present I could !!!
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