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Customer Review

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very worthwhile buy., 23 Jan. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beethoven : Piano Sonatas Nos 8, 14, 17 & 23 - Apex (Audio CD)
This is a fantastically priced recording and a very worthwhile buy. The recording is well balanced, a sutiable piano used in the recording and the distance judged fantastically...
The Moonlight is played quickly and precisely, maybe a little too quick the some. The Presto is a true Presto with amazing useage of the pauses and dynamics suggested. The first, common movement is well played, her reasoning is just, her touch sensitive and definite but the speed just a little too much. The Allegretto is light, a sweet, short interlude between the two other beautiful movements of darker tones. The melodies are clear and very sombre when necessary.
My favourite on this CD is the Pathétique. Her playing is SUBLIME. The first movement is strong, with tremendous drive and energy. It carries itself perfectly, the tune etching itself onto your brain. The second movement is sent on a silver tray, with all the trimmings. Deep, beautiful - just perfect. And then a suitable end is placed in the form of the Rondo (3rd movement, definition and clarity are the words that spring to mind. WOW!
The Tempest is the 'free gift' if you like on this album, but by no means is it a half-hearted effort. The depth and meaning is overwhelming and played with preciseness. The legato in passages in the left hand are not dissimilar that of the great Brezovsky. The melody is played with the precision required for this Sonata, the backing a temestuous ruble or indeed roar. The calm Adagio is soon welcomed, and this is a perfect display of Maria-Joao's control and power of emotion. The Allegretto is a clever wrap by Beethoven, with some very beautiful melodies in both hands. Pires plays these with the upmost of control.
The Appassionata is indeed a dark work and is a fantastic display of everything that Pires brings to the CD. The first movement is power, perfect technique and emotion. The balance is particularly held, with such layering being built by the coolness yet passionate fury of her playing. The final track and movement is phrased to perfection. The temptation with this movement is to go all out from the beginning, which would ruin, but Pires withstands the temptation until necessary. The dynamic control is quite amazing, building the panging melody to your ear with ease and the upmost beauty.
For...[the price]...you cannot go wrong. Everything is just there. If you are put off by budget labels, don't be...Well done to Apex (ERATO), but especially to Pires who has brought a fantastic set of works to the thrifty with magical ability. SUPERB.
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