This set and the three companion volumes come from the first of Alfred Brendel's three Beethoven cycles. The playing is outstanding - for my money even better than his excellent cycles from the 70s and 90s. Brendel's strength is his ability to create genuine, deeply thought, personal interpretations, without ever going into wilfulness or eccentricity.
The downside? Two things. The recording (analogue, from the 60s), is aceptable rather than great; if digital, crystal clarity is a must this isn't for you. And after listening to this set for a couple of years, I realised that two sonatas, 4 & 20, are missing...!
That said, the playing is the equal of any of the better known, more widely recommended cycles. I love these sonatas, and I've listened to most of the 'great' recordings; but I keep coming back to this set. And when you consider that in amazon marketplace you can buy the four volumes for less than four pounds each, this has to be the ultimate bargain.
on 15 March 2008
While I feel compelled not to comment on such incredulous artistry as it would seem futile, I will just say that as a human experience, this disc is truly overwhelming. Never have I heard such purity combined with poetry in Hammerklavier or even more so, the arietta of Opus 111. Moving and triumphant at the same time, what an incomparable artist Solomon was (is)
on 18 November 2007
I agree with everything the previous reviewer praises about these sterling performances although the digital sound on the latest Philips rendering of sonatas like "The Tempest" does add an extra dimension.
If you want the complete sonatas on Vox, you need also to acquire the 3 CD box of "Variations & Vignettes". This includes opp7 & 49/2.
At the ridiculously low prices from some of the Marketplace sellers, why not get this and the Diabelli Variations twofer and you've got all LvB's solo works on 13CDs in superb Brendel readings at minimal price.