Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
on 23 March 2013
For reference I own many recordings of this master work: the Fisher version, Gould's, Richter's, Angela Hewitt's, Pollini's (Book 1), a harpsichord version of Book 1 and one I won't bother mentioning.
I think this may well be my favourite or at least up there with Richter and Gould. Unlike the latter two, however, Schiff's new recording is less resolved, more open-ended and in its ultra-delicate and deliberate playing forces one oddly to pay more attention to the notes rather than revel in the interpretative genius of say, a Sviatoslav Richter.
In addition the tempoes are often slower so allow for a more reflective and concentrated experience; I think what wins me over with Schiff is that the recording is translucent and immediate, like Gould, but without the x-ray quality and manneristic reading of Gould's classic reading. To put it in layman's terms, it is far more "chilled".
It is also far less resolved. The pieces unfold before one's ears without having been sauced out to death at the outset so one listens to them develop not having a clear idea how they will develop, allowing for a more open-ended and open-minded experience.
I strongly recommend this set which is for me almost definitive along with Richard Goode's cycle of the complete Beethoven sonatas.
Four stars and a half to five stars.