71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Barenboim plays Beethoven,
By A Customer
This review is from: Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
The title of my review was a series Barenboim made in the late 70's of all the piano sonatas to be shown on television, and there is a simple reason why this series was made; he is the best. There are no bad points to these sets of recordings, so I will now list all the advantages of this great set.
Firstly the sound quality is excellent, EMI have done a fantastic job restoring these recordings from the 60's. The piano itself has a wonderful metalic and crisp sound to it, and the notes come through exactly as desired.
The playing itself is in a word, divine. Barenboim understands the passion in Beethoven, especially in his piano music, and wields this knowledge to full effect. The contrast between soft and loud is phenominal; the 1st movement of Moonlight is so blissfully quiet while the conclusion of No. 30 will knock you over. The sweeping changes in volume are beautifully heard in the 3rd movement of the Tempest. Barenboim takes his time with the sonatas, and are considered by some to be too slow, but to me he is just savouring every note. Pianists like Kempf tend to rush Beethoven and play like Bach would play it i.e. as a nice relaxing tune on a sunny afternoon. Barenboim lifts the music of the pages and into your hearts and minds. You get the feeling he plays how Beethoven would have wanted to, had pianos been stronger when he was writing.