of this disc - and one other - from Dunelm initially gave
me cause for a bit of head-scratching. Not having had experience
with Dunelm records — which has a standing relationship with
Chetham’s School of Music — I wasn’t aware of its “cottage
industry” status until I read a review by Neil
Dunelm is run by Jim and Joyce Pattison in Derbyshire; the
CDs are burned by them, and the artwork and layout? Yes,
by them as well. The booklets are printed out by computer
and, evidently, hand-assembled. Such dedication! The booklet
here contains an introduction written by the performer, in
addition to the extensive liner-notes that any classical
music-lover hopes for in any CD release. I’ve exchanged correspondence
with Mr. Pattison and he was quite generous with his details
on the production of their releases. In addition, the proceeds
from the sale of this CD go to Chetham’s, where these pieces
were recorded. I was sold - what is there that isn’t to like?
who recorded extensively for the now sadly-defunct Olympia
label, performs these Beethoven sonatas with quiet control
and sensitivity. The two “easy” sonatas are not given a simple
run-through; the voicing in the first movement of Op. 49
No. 1 is quite beautiful, and phrasing is done with sensitivity
and clear vision. The piano is recorded with a good sense
of atmospheric space, not too closely miked. Overall the
performances are quite good, The Op. 21 has the least lustre
of those included on this disc. The deep bass notes of the
first movement could have more definition, and the right
hand tends to get lost a bit whenever the first theme comes
along. Certain notes of the piano used in the recording can
sound strident in forte passages, especially B-flat 2 and
E-flat 2—a tuning issue? The Waldstein’s following Introduzione, however,
is a lovely meditative moment that is well played.
is the oft-overlooked Op. 54, at half the playing time of
the two renowned sonatas that came before and after. This
sonata has generally been the hardest one for me to enjoy.
McLachlan makes a fairly good case for it, not as much with
the first movement as the second, where he gives the music
room for playfulness.
57 starts out rather straightforwardly, without pathos or
over-dramatization. This shows itself from the outset to
be a clean performance, and McLachlan holds true to that
throughout. It has little of the lack of definition found
in the Waldstein sonata earlier. However, in the fortissimo sections,
the stridency in the upper register returns. The Andante
con moto again is done cleanly with no sentiment or sloppiness.
Good, solid Beethoven comes out in these spacious chords
as the variations add filigree to the main theme. The final
movement is performed with great control and definition.
of these works are solid, sensitive, and assured as any of
the performances I’ve heard so far on Dunelm, which are very
well done — this fits the standard they have set with the
rest of their catalogue.
see also review by Glyn Pursglove