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


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No. 30, Op. 109 in E major [19:20]
Piano Sonata No. 31, Op. 110 in A flat major [19:12]
Piano Sonata No. 32, Op. 111 in C minor [25:53]
Penelope Crawford (fortepiano, Conrad Graf, 1835)
rec. 5-8 April 2010, First Presbyterian Church, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
MUSICA OMNIA MO0308 [64:25]

Experience Classicsonline


This has been a very good year for Beethoven piano sonata aficionados who prefer the sound of the period pianoforte. Alexei Lubimov’s idiosyncratic but mostly engaging account of the final three sonatas appeared early in 2011, joining two previous accounts of the last three well worth recommending: Ronald Brautigam’s fast, fleet, comparatively ‘classical’ approach and Paul Komen’s warm, rich reading on the Globe label. And now Penelope Crawford, maybe the leading American fortepianist, weighs in with her interpretation - arguably the best of all. It’s closest to Komen’s in its lyricism, poetic demeanor, and spiritualism. I wouldn’t want to miss any of Crawford, Komen, or Brautigam, but then I’m mad about this music.
 
Penelope Crawford actually jumps into Op. 109 with abandon and virtuosity, and there is not much relenting in the drama or the fine percussive attack of the Conrad Graf 1835 instrument until the slow movement unfolds over thirteen expansive minutes. A few of the variations here really do have the healing magic that distinguishes the very best performances: just listen to the extraordinary muted tones of the Graf instrument at around 7:25. Op. 110 follows a similar pattern: there is no short-changing any of the moods Beethoven strikes, nor an attempt to homogenize them; if Crawford has a leg up on the speedy Brautigam or the warm Komen, it is that her approach to the music cannot always be packed up in a single adjective. The fugal sections of the work are played with a Bach-like coolness and objectivity which melt away in the adagios (the transition from 5:40-5:55 is masterfully done), and in the triumphant final climax.
 
The final sonata lacks, in its opening pages, the extra savagery which is so compelling in Brautigam’s reading; one misses the fiery drama which can tie the first movement to the mood of Beethoven’s past struggles in C minor. But the arietta is something altogether different, and here Crawford offers as lucid and transcendent a reading as you can hear anywhere. I’ve long felt that the fortepiano sound is irreplaceable in some of the variations of the movement: they still sound alien on a modern concert grand, but they are really daring, especially magical on the more alien variations at the topmost registers of the instrument. If you know the sonata only from performances on a Steinway, you’ll know there are variations of somewhat mystical, esoteric tinkling: but on this instrument, with its extraordinary muted sonorities, those passages sound dangerous, new, startling, and chillingly beautiful.
 
Even setting performance aside it’s an attractive package: the sound is ideally welcoming, the pianoforte a marvelous warm instrument (as mentioned) tuned as scholars estimate the keys would have been tuned at the time, and the booklet essay, by Jeremiah McGrann, is really an outstanding (and in-depth at 14 pages) look at these works. I prefer my Opp. 109-111 to be spiritual exercises, and in the first two it hardly gets better than Gilels/DG for me; Penelope Crawford comes from this tradition and she is a rare fortepianist who could stand up to direct comparison to Gilels or Pollini. She is clearly a major artist able to find both classical backbone and poetic blood in the lives of these works, and the Graf instrument is one of the best to ever be deployed in these sonatas.
 
When I got this disc for review, I was still working on a write-up of Alexei Lubimov’s disc, covering the same sonatas and on an Aloiss Graf instrument; I thought, “oh, no, not another one”. My reaction would have been much different had I known. This disc is special.
 
Brian Reinhart 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

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






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.


 

> 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.