One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

in the first division


extraordinary by any standards


An excellent disc


a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.


Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now
RECORDING OF THE MONTH


A Garland for John McCabe


ABRAHAMSEN Quartets


DIETHELM Symphonies


The best Rite of Spring in Years


BACH Magnificat


Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26


Just enjoy it!


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

 

 

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata No. 30 in E major Op.109 [18:37]
Sonata No. 31 in A flat major Op.110 [19:47]
Sonata No. 32 in C minor Op.111 [25:31]
Cédric Pescia (piano)
rec. 2009, Siemens-Villa, Berlin
CLAVES 50-2903 [64:09]

Although not reviewed by MusicWeb International when it was first issued in 2009, I was so impressed by this recording when I first heard it recently that I was anxious to spread the news.

Born 1976 in Lausanne, Cédric Pescia studied piano with Christian Favre, Dominique Merlet and Klaus Hellwig in Lausanne, Geneva and Berlin respectively. In 2002 he took first prize at the Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition in Salt Lake City, USA. As well as fulfilling concert engagements in Europe, China, South America, North Africa and the USA, he is a founding member and artistic director of the Lausanne chamber music series "Ensemble en Scène". His love of chamber music has lead to collaborations with the violinist Nurit Stark. In 2012 he was appointed professor for piano at the Haute École de Musique de Genève.

I first heard a concert performance of these last three sonatas in London about twenty years ago, in magisterial accounts played by Maurizio Pollini. They left a powerful and overwhelming impression. This final trilogy boasts many sublime realizations on CD, among my favourites are those by Igor Levit, Alfred Brendel and Pollini. I have no hesitation in adding Cédric Pescia’s offering to this august list. He has a lofty vision, applying his formidable intellect and musicianship to the service of these works. He allows the music to flow naturally and speak for itself, not imposing his personality on it. He has obviously lived with these scores for a while, allowing them to mature, as his grasp of their structure and architecture is remarkable. This is playing which certainly commands attention.

The Sonata No.30 in E major Op.109 is agreeably paced. The opening movement has an improvisatory feel, and an underlying sense of logical. The Prestissimo, which follows, is rhythmically tight. Pescia handles the variation movement persuasively. The theme has an inward, luminous quality and simplicity, with the variations well-characterized.  There is a Youtube video of a full performance of Sonata 30 by Pescia.

Pescia’s opening of the A flat major Sonata is poised, with impeccable pointing of chords. There’s overall immaculate technical control, especially in the beautifully articulated and evenly distributed arpeggios, which form an integral part of the structure of the opening movement. The dark, sombre and brooding mood of the Adagio is full of doubt and despair, and the fugal section is expertly voiced.

In Op. 111, Pescia makes an effective contrast between the struggle and conflict of the opening movement and the serenity and transcendental qualities of the Arietta. In the first movement the contrapuntal lines are delineated with precision and power. The final movement is sublime in its realization, with the cumulative effects of each subsequent variation, each becoming more rhythmically complex, providing tension and drama as the movement progresses. The dotted ‘jazzy’ third variation is seductively brought off. At the end Pescia transports us to another world of peace, tranquillity and resignation.

The sound is immediate, and the piano is ideally positioned in the aural perspective, the Siemens-Villa acoustic conferring warmth and intimacy. The well-written booklet notes deserve more than a cursory mention. An added bonus is the presence of photos of the pianist, interspersed throughout. The recording is still available as a CD or can be obtained as a download.

I can think of no better advocate for these last three sonatas than Cédric Pescia.

Stephen Greenbank






 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger