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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rudolf Buchbinder's Teldec Beethoven Piano works, 22 Sept. 2012
Mr. Mark A. Meldon (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beethoven Complete Works for Solo Piano (Audio CD)
I'm so glad that Warner Classics has re-released Rudolf Buchbinder's Beethoven recordings; I had a few of them on LP many years ago and, although they were briefly available on CD a few years ago, it's great to welcome this Beethoven expert back into my living room. Buchbinder (born 1946) is famous for never listening to his recordings and has recently recorded a live set of the Beethoven Sonatas, which I have yet to hear Beethoven - The Sonata Legacy. I managed to purchase this set a few months ago in Germany; now that it is available world-wide, I hope that sales are more then reasonable, as it's a great set of recordings.

Here we have another Warner Classics Capbox containing 15 CDs and a very brief booklet mainly consisting of a tracklisting. The set is comprehensive, offering all of the works for solo piano that Beethoven left us - sonatas, bagatelles, variations, and other bits and pieces. The recordings date between 1977 and 1982 and throughout offer excellent sonics in Teldec's tradition. When first released, Gramophone intially seemed a bit sniffy about Buchbinder's Piano Sonatas; the opinion mellowed a little later, confirming that this set is one of those "sleepers" that exhibits its undoubted charm after several hearings - I really think that Buchbinder is precise, thrilling, considered, and sublime throughout.

It's perhaps interesting to compare the timings of Buchbinder's recording of Op.29 "Hammerklavier" with another compelling set from the Warner Classics label, the Erato recordings by Jean-Bernard Pommier Beethoven : Piano Sonatas Nos 1 - 32 [Complete] (another "sleeper" set!) and the more recent recording by Paul Lewis for Harmonia Mundi Beethoven - Piano Sonatas, Vol 2, the latter being very highly-regarded (by most) and an undoubted sales success.

In the Allegro, Buchbinder takes 10:32, Pommier 12:00, Lewis 11:39;
In the Scherzo, Buchbinder takes 2:18, Pommier 2:45, Lewis 2:48;
In the Adagio, Buchbinder takes 20:33, Pommier 16:46, Lewis 18:31; and
In the Largo, Buchbinder takes 12:35, Pommier 12:18, Lewis 12:52.

We can thus see that Buchbinder takes few prisoners (and avoids finger slips) in the Allegro and really lets the music breathe in the Adagio.

For anyone with the time to let this set seep into them, Buchbinder's "forgotten" Teldec set is a true bargain purchase and, in my opinion, is one of the great series of recordings of these canonical works of Western art music.

Urgently recommended!
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Beethoven Complete Works for Solo Piano
Beethoven Complete Works for Solo Piano by Rudolf Buchbinder (Audio CD - 2012)
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