One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


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

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   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
Ph. 020 8418 0616



CD: Crotchet


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata in B flat major, Op. 106 Hammerklavier (1819) [40:06]
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 81a Les Adieux (1813) [15:37]
Bagatelles, Op. 119 (1819) [14:04]
Stephen Kovacevich (piano)
rec. 17-23 October 2001 (Opp. 106, 119); 24-29 June 2002 (Op. 81a), Lyndhurst Hall, Air Studios, London
EMI CLASSICS 2 28515 2 [70:39]
Experience Classicsonline

For a generation Stephen Kovacevich has maintained his position as one of the great Beethoven interpreters. His earlier, and distinguished recordings for Philips have been supplemented by an equally compelling series for EMI, while his live performances have stimulated audiences and critics alike.

These present performances of the sonatas were recorded several years ago and have been released previously, collected among the complete cycle. For Musicweb International, Jonathan Woolf observed that Ďas a core selection of Kovacevichís Beethoven this set reveals exceptional pianismí, while stressing the individual personalities of the different sonatas and the interpretations of them.

As a single-CD collection, the individuality of each of these compositions could hardly be more clearly emphasised in the company of the others. Op. 106, the huge Hammerklavier, is the largest among Beethovenís sonatas and the most challenging in terms of range and concentration. Kovacevich certainly has a command of the musicís architecture and of its pianistic demands. The scherzo is dramatic rather than quicksilver, a legitimate enough view, and interesting in comparison with Maurizio Pollini (DG 449 740-2, a 2 CD set of the late sonatas) and Claudio Arrau (Philips 468 912-2, coupled likewise). The latter is particularly impressive in this work, combining virtuosity with searching intimacy across the span of the forty-minute long sonata. In that sense Kovacevich is more concentrated, less wide-ranging, perhaps more structurally clear-cut. But there is also drama in abundance.

In between the two sonatas come the complete Op. 119 Bagatelles. The largest of these pieces is the very first, and that is little more than two minutes in duration. They are true miniatures therefore, in which Beethoven can be heard at his most experimental. Again the extraordinary range of the composerís musical personality can be felt, though in a very different way. Kovacevich has the measure of the musicís subtlety. His control of dynamic shadings, through some expert pedalling, is admirable.

The other sonata is Les Adieux, Op. 81a. This subtle piece gains enormously from the insights brought by this interpretation, as fine as any in the recorded catalogue. The searching music of the slow introduction sets the tone, with a truly expressive depth of feeling that encourages in due course the rhythmic strength that lies at the heart of the concept: not for nothing did Beethoven ask for the finale to be played Vivacissimo.

Terry Barfoot


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

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

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos







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.