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Faithfulness to Beethoven,
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This review is from: Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas Nos 28-32, Op 101, 106, 109-111 (Audio CD)
Without a doubt the late piano sonatas of Beethoven represent something very special in the musical world. And within this context is the mighty and formidable 'Hammerklavier Sonata (No 29 in B flat).
So what about some great pianists' sets?
Perhaps Schnabel, Solomon, Kempff, Arrau, Gilels, Brendel, Barenboim or Paul Lewis?
Or maybe Maurizio Pollini. These recordings were made in 1976/7. Still they stand the test of time. There is purity of tone and style. An unfussy, uncomplicated version of No 28 starts the first CD. Pollini produces the required power to meet with the Hammerklavier No.29 and interest is sustained through its lovely slow movement, leading to the flying, fugal sparks of the final movement. All the performances are structurally sound, and excellent technique maintains the momentum of the music, whether in the Variations of No 30 in E or the Fugue in No 31 in A flat. Everything can be heard and repeatedly listened to.
I used to play No 31 in A flat. The thing that immediately strikes me about Pollini's performance is his faithfulness to Beethoven's expressed intentions in the score. Then, with a fine performance of No 32 in C minor with neat trills Pollini rounds off this memorable experience.