Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


alternatively Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonatas: No. 28 in A, Op. 101 (1816) [22:23]; No. 29 in B flat, Op. 106, 'Hammerklavier' (1817-1818) [46:18]
Mitsuko Uchida (piano)
rec. La Salle de Musique, Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 28 April-2 May 2007. DDD
PHILIPS 4758662 [68:51]
Experience Classicsonline

Reporting on Uchida's Hammerklavier in June 2005, I found it to be very much a work-in-progress. I had come to a similar conclusion about her performances of the last three sonatas in October 2003. One would have hoped that setting her interpretations down on disc would have taken her a step forward, but there were still reservations to be made about her Philips CD of these final works.
The two Sonatas here are presented in numerical order, so the Hammerklavier crowns the listening experience. It is Op. 101 that suits Uchida's temperament better though. The leisurely opening belies, perhaps, the bilingual tempo indication - 'Etwas lebhaft und mit der innigsten Empfindung/Allegretto, ma non troppo' - emphasising the allegretto part the more. Uchida could justifiably be accused of loving some passages too much, such is her tendency to linger. Yet the second movement positively explodes onto the scene, as if it has a point to make. A pity the tension drops. One is left admiring Uchida's way with the more whispered moments whilst egging her on to more extroversion in the fortes. Indeed, it is in the great opening of the third movement that Uchida is at her finest, bringing to mind the world of the slow movements of the late string quartets. Later, one can sit agape at her finger definition, but she still sits some way away from a real communion with late Beethovenian thought.
I commented on the slow anacrusis that opened Uchida's live Hammerklavier; compare to Pollini's lightning gesture! The same criticism applies here the dynamism inherent in the work is muted from the off. In the movement that follows there are myriad details that bewitch the ear. Balancing this, though, is a certain loss of momentum, particularly around the six- to seven-minute mark, where things become distinctly leaden. The rhythmic impetus that so marks the Pollini DG account is missing here, and the reading suffers as a result.
Uchida's technique is exemplary in the Scherzo, however, where she fearlessly addresses all of Beethoven's challenges. True, there is not the patrician ease of Gilels (DG), but this is nevertheless admirable playing. Clearly Uchida feels most at home in the huge slow movement, which she lets unfold at its own pace. 'Unfold' seems the mot juste here it is the aural equivalent of watching a slow-motion blossoming of a flower. From this expansive terrain, the finale slowly emerges. Uchida's transition to this famous fugue is masterly; the highlight of her reading, in fact. As the various gestures struggle to find a fitting continuation, Uchida really relishes the sense of exploration. When the fugue itself arrives, one cannot but admire Uchida's finger strength. Again, though, there is a 'but'. Some passages emerge as near-inchoate as forward direction once again suffers. The granitic greatness of late Beethoven is only approximated, meaning that the balm that appears around 8'20 has a diminished effect.

It is interesting that Naxos, when reissuing the Schnabel HMV cycle of Beethoven Sonatas, coupled these two sonatas but found space for Op. 90 as well. Of course Schnabel in 1935 is less accurate than Uchida in 2007, to put it mildly, but his formidable intellect and his remarkable ear conspired towards an edge-of-the-seat but nevertheless lasting impression.
The recording is a fine one. There is plenty of space around the piano, and yet it retains its intimacy. The piano itself is toned in exemplary fashion. Misha Donat's booklet notes are both articulate and detailed.
A mixed reception, then. Uchida is never less than fascinating, but alas these readings cannot sit in the pantheon of the greats.
Colin Clarke


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

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.