£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


Buy through MusicWeb for £13.99/15.50 postage paid World-wide.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Purchase button

Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonatas Vol. 2

Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2 (1795-1796) [23.02]
Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, Op. 81A ("Lebewohl"or "Les Adieux") (1809) [17.44]
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 (c.1822) [29.48]
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
rec. 2006, no other details given. DDD
BRIDGE 9201 [71.17]


 

American pianist Garrick Ohlsson came to fame in 1970 winning the Chopin International Piano Competition. Formerly a student of the late great Claudio Arrau, he has been regarded as a leading exponent of the music of Chopin, although MusicWeb reviewers have been pretty reserved in their appreciation. Ohlsson has now come to the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. This release coincides with the pianist's Complete Beethoven Sonata cycles at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals in the summer of 2006. They appear to have been well received performances but perhaps Bridge would have been wise to record Ohlsson live like Craig Sheppard in his acclaimed live cycle. The sonatas here seem to lack "life" and are studio-bound. It is also unwise with such competition to have a single full price disc although itís probably a good idea if single discs are to be issued to have them from different periods as is the case here.

Although Beethoven had written piano works prior to 1795 the three sonatas were the first to be given opus numbers; following the masterful Op. 1 piano trios. The Op. 2, No. 2 Sonata was dedicated to Beethovenís teacher, Joseph Haydn, and was composed in 1795-96. Though it is a relatively early work, Beethoven was 26 at the time and at that age Mozart was in full flight and Schubert had only five years left. Whilst owing a debt to Haydn, whose piano works are scandalously underrated, this work has many of the hallmarks of the mature Beethoven; After an undemonstrative beginning to the Allegro I was drawn into the performance. The highlights here are a tender but never flaccid Largo and a splendidly invigorated scherzo. The last movement is an especial favourite and here the Rondo grazioso is beautifully played. Itís certainly good in its own terms but turning to Arrau (Philips 462358 2) we are in a different world and the forty-year-old recording is brighter than the dull sound encountered on Ohlsson's disc. Louis Lortie on Chandos CHAN 9212 of all three Op. 2s produced an excellent performance and a youthful sparkle which eludes Ohlsson.

The Op. 81a Sonata ("Les Adieux") has been used to close his recitals and is clearly close to his heart. It receives a very steady performance without self-consciousness or being overly self-regarding. Beethoven introduces a terrific sense of unforced fun in the final movement but Iím not sure Ohlsson fully realizes this. To be frank I turned to budget price and found Jeno Jando on Naxos 8.550054 preferable by some distance. The problem throughout is that there is a lack of architectural structure and different colours. Itís all either very quiet or very loud and the sound doesnít help. Iím not a pianist but there seems to be a lack of flow in Ohlssonís playing; fine technique but no "inner spirit".

The C minor Sonata, Op.111 was Beethovenís last piano sonata and the finest performances are real "seat of the pants" renditions; not quite so here - fine playing but missing to my ears that "part other pianists cannot reach". Itís certainly there in Stephen Kovacevichís earlier incomplete set Philips 4756319. As for the finale, Ohlsson at over twenty minutes almost grinds to a halt. Kovacevich takes only 17 minutes in his older recording and just about 18:00 on EMI Classics and the pulse is maintained. I really didnít take to Ohlssonís performance and felt it stilted and two-dimensional. At one stage Beethoven seems almost to be in a "jazz" mood and the rhythm needs to invoke dance; I didnít feel it here.

So for me a very disappointing disc and at full price a non-starter unless you are a fan of this musician. There are so many great cycles recently completed; Kovacevich on EMI Classics 56148, Sheppard and ones such as Schiff and Lewis currently underway. Sadly this disc falls into the "not needed on the voyage" category.


David R Dunsmore

Sadly this disc falls into the "not needed on the voyage" category. ... see Full Review

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Prťalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallť
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.