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


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonatas - Volume 4
Sonata No. 16 in G, Op. 31 No. 1 [24:37]
Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 [24:28]
Sonata No. 18 in E flat, Op. 31 No. 3 [22:23]
Sonata No. 24 in F sharp, Op. 78 [9:32]
Sonata No. 25 in G, Op. 79 [9:05]
Sonata No. 26 in E flat, Op. 81a [16:23]
Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90 [12:13]
Paavali Jumppanen (piano)
rec. 2010-2012, Lentua Hall, Kuhmo Arts Centre, Kuhmo, Finland
ONDINE ODE1290-2D [71:32 + 47:20]

Paavali Jumppanen’s Beethoven sonata cycle got off to an eccentric, provocative early start, but has steadily grown more likable, and now reaches its highest point so far. Where Jumppanen’s performances of the earliest sonatas, notably Op. 2, featured lots of improvised ornamentation in the classical style, not all of it welcome, here he mostly dials back on the unusual quirks. What’s left is clean, polished Beethoven with a distinctively cool, classical feel: you can hear the echoes of Haydn clearly here, especially since this volume contains some of Beethoven’s wittiest music.

Jumppanen’s biggest quirk here is a predilection for long yet deftly-timed pauses, especially noticeable in the codas of the slow movement and finale in Op. 31 No. 1, and in the almost overlong gap before the finale of the ‘Tempest’ sonata. But for the most part these choices fit the music, and the ‘Tempest’ sonata, rather than being a Sturm und Drang tour-de-force, is carefully articulated and prettily pedaled. There’s no way the drama can be wholly absent, of course, not the way Beethoven wrote this music, so don’t fear that this approach means a wimpy performance.

Much of the short second disc focuses on the sonatas in which Beethoven looked back, in his wiser years, to the classicism and simplicity of his youth. And here Jumppanen especially excels, his playing clean, glittering, and free of artifice. He lingers over the slow, mysterious introduction of Op. 78, but the rest of this ten-minute piece is played with an innocent simplicity, and a hesitance ever to make a loud noise. The next sonata is chattier by nature, but he again takes a much-appreciated soft touch; the slow movement is gorgeous.

This style is certainly not for everybody; I can imagine listeners wishing for the greater passion and intensity of Gilels, or the humility of Backhaus. Paavali Jumppanen has a very particular flavor of Beethoven, cool and laid-back but extremely precise and carefully articulated. In the framework of this style, he is a great success.

The recording, from several sessions across 2010-12, is as good as can be desired, if a touch bright in the highest octaves. The last volume of Jumppanen’s cycle, featuring a few early sonatas along with the great final trilogy, is due for release this autumn. If the excellence of these two discs is any indication, it should be mandatory listening for Beethoven lovers.

Brian Reinhart

 

 




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