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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No 1 in F Op. 2 No. 1 (1793-95)
Piano Sonata No 2 in A major Op. 2 No. 2 (1794-95)
Piano Sonata no 3 in C major Op. 2 No. 3 (1794-95)
Joyce Hatto (piano)
Recorded Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, August and December 1995
The Complete Piano Sonata Volume 1
CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 8002-2 [67.08]

 

Not long ago I welcomed the opportunity to acquaint myself with some of the other volumes in Joyce Hatto’s Beethoven cycle when reviewing her coupling of the Op. 7 and Hammerklavier Sonatas. Here is the opportunity I looked for in this, the very first of the series, which gives us all the Op. 2 works. Fluency and technical ease inform the F minor where she brings out the Haydnesque qualities of the Allegro and the gallant style of the Adagio, full here of rococo charm and taken at a fine tempo. I liked the Prestissimo finale, rhapsodic in profile. Hatto invests its inherent tempestuousness with marvellous clarity of lines. When it comes to the A major she points but doesn’t overplay the downward fourths in the opening movement – fine tremolandos and a well held tempo, though one that animates the movement properly. The left hand "pizzicati" of the slow movement underpin the noble arching melody above conveying moving depth. As ever Hatto’s choice of tempo here is well nigh perfect and her finale is grazioso, though rather slower than say Kempff. Her ascending and descending runs are gauze-like and the downward triplets most impressive.

When it comes to the C major she takes a measured view of the movement’s incipient power and verve. Those tutti-like passages are well dealt with and the coda is winning. Weight of finger distribution is a highlight of the slow movement as are her passagework clarity and the way she brings out the left hand. The rather brusque humour of the Scherzo is not pushed too far but there’s real swing in the finale at an elegant tempo and a deadpan signing off. It makes for an apt and appropriate end to this well characterised and effortlessly fluent disc.

Jonathan Woolf

See also review by Christopher Howell

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