Sequeira Costa’s Beethoven, at least in this volume, falls
in the category “good but not great”. His Waldstein
opens with a relaxed first movement that I find very easy to like,
and is generally well-paced, but the transition from the slow midsection
to the finale is quite literal. That slow section’s final note
is much louder than usual, and the finale’s big tune unfolds
with none of the hushed beauty that sets apart great recordings like
those of Schnabel or Gilels.
is a similar combination of virtues and deficits.
The first movement is expansive but atmospheric, a good blend; the
slow movement’s variations, though, feel blocky. Costa has a
hard time making transitions feel smooth and natural. The finale isn’t
as exciting as the best versions, especially in a slightly too tame
After these two epics one of my favorite sonatas, No. 27, does not
feel shortchanged. It’s a very good performance, especially
the first half, and if there’s any cause to quibble it’s
with a slight lack of lyricism in the finale’s main tune.
These recordings were made in Kansas in the 1990s, and are good if
not the last word in refinement. The piano is fairly cloudy in the
highest frequencies, but this isn’t a big problem. Don’t
expect your ears to bleed but don’t expect the state of the
P.S. Odd trivia fact: his full name is José Carlos de Sequeira
Costa, so the way he refers to himself professionally is a bit like
if nobody ever said that Lloyd Webber’s first name was Andrew.
Masterwork Index: Beethoven sonatas 21 & 23 ~~ Sonata
Note - the review copy was from the label of the Vianna Da Motta International
Music Foundation (founded by Sequeira Costa) with a catalogue number
of VMF-050299. However, the only available copies of the recording
are now from Claudio Records.