Korevaar’s disc of Brahms Variations (Ivory Classics 74004)
was a rather lacklustre affair, if entirely satisfactory in terms
of pianism and engineering. I found his Ravel
on MSR rather more impressive, back in January 2006. His Beethoven
sits more with the Brahms disc evoking mixed reactions from this
Korevaar uses a Kawai piano, which is, typically, rather bright-sounding.
Interestingly, Korevaar conferred with Earl Wild before setting
down these interpretations for posterity. Although we are not
privy to the exact nuances of Wild’s input, Korevaar does
tell us that his readings changed on a deep level. Wild is not
really known for his Beethoven - the exchange was, I am sure,
fascinating and it would have been instructive to learn more.
Wild’s Beethoven is available on the present label, Ivory
Classics: see Jonathan Woolf’s review of Wild’s “Hammerklavier”
The First sonata we hear is the A major, Op. 101 which Korevaar
describes as “a study for the late period”. He is
very good at projecting the delicate ambiguity of the first movement.
The second announces its arrival in decisive, but not explosive,
style. Pollini is magnificent in this movement in his famous
DG reading. Korevaar is, however, excellent in delineating the
finale, a movement that can appear rather loose in the wrong
hands. He maintains the momentum splendidly.
The very last sonata ends the disc. There is drama in Korevaar’s
opening, but it is not of the earth-shaking variety. The contrast
between this and the placatory repeated chords is not fully honoured.
Korevaar’s Op. 111 seems to seek to eschew the characteristic
C-minor Beethoven persona, despite his booklet notes indicating
that his intent is otherwise. Still, there is much to admire
in the clarity of finger-work and line. The second movement offers
the finest we hear on the entire disc. He honours fully the slow,
organic growth of the movement while realising the more outgoing
moments to the full. In this way, this becomes a satisfying statement,
replete with huge contrasts. The music-box passage, around 12-13:00,
in fact offers a diametric opposite to the opening of the sonata
itself. Arrau (Philips) remains a prime recommendation here.
The Sonata sandwiched in between these two late offerings is
the G major, Op. 31 No. 1. The second movement is particularly
impressive, as Korevaar’s low-pedal strategy pays dividends.
The musical argument is no less effective or profound for this
decision. The bass trills towards the end of the extended slow
movement are particularly impressive. Korevaar in his notes makes
great things of the operatic nature of this movement, and his
playing reflects this accurately. The rondo finale is generally
gentle, pointing directly towards Schubert, although the helter-skelter
wit of the closing bars could only have come from Beethoven’s