40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Modesty and music,
This review is from: Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
I didn't much like these recordings when they appeared in the sixties. And now I realise why. Barenboim isn't exactly playing the Great Virtuoso here. There's little to impress a teenager. But lots to delight a much older listener.
The playing is understated. Barenboim seems to dislike letting local colour detract from the larger vision of the music as a whole. Certainly, this can short-change some of Beethoven's abrupt changes of dynamics, which somehow lose their shock value, but it allows for a great sense of coherence traversing the late sonatas.
And the smaller, less well known sonatas get, in the main, readings that bring out their treasures. The F-sharp sonata, for example, is full of felicities, though you might want a little more glee in the second movement.
Good companions, these recordings, which waited, probably with a knowing smile, forty years for me to start to treasure them.