One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


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

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases

The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation

such a success

An outstanding performance

make acquaintance without delay

Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc

Strong advocacy
for a British composer

Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted

Piano Music 5CDs

Consistently fine

Rare and interesting repertoire

An excellent introduction

A Celebration on Record

An issue of importance

A splendid disc

both enlightening and rewarding
additional review


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Andante in C major, WoO211 [1:23]
Presto in C minor, WoO52 [3:47]
Allegretto in C major, WoO56 [1:53]
Allegretto in C minor, WoO53 [4:39]
Piano Sonata in C sharp minor ‘Moonlight’, Op. 27 No 2 [15:00]
Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33 [21:00]
Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 14, No. 2 [16:57]
Variations on an original theme in C minor, WoO80 [11:31]
Pavel Kolesnikov (piano)
rec. 2017, Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, UK
HYPERION CDA68237 [76:18]

Over the summer I had the good fortune to attend a recital at a local venue. The pianist was Pavel Kolesnikov and the event was part of a week-long piano festival. As I'd reviewed two of his recordings (Chopin ~ Couperin), I went along with eager anticipation. I wasn't disappointed and my expectations were fulfilled. The programme was an interesting one made up of short pieces by diverse composers but cumulatively building towards an impressive climax at the end in the shape of Schumann's C major Fantasy, Op. 17. The occasion was an unmitigated success.

His latest release on Hyperion has certain parallels. He described this new venture in an interview as “an exploration of Beethoven’s humour and fury through his earlier works”. O.K. this time the focus is on one composer, but it draws on a variety of contrasting piano works of various genres and styles. Once again Kolesnikov presents an intelligently constructed and well-thought-out programme and the progression from short works, via sonatas and bagatelles, to the climactic C minor Variations seems a perfectly logical one.

He kick starts proceedings with four miniatures, bagatelles in all but name, experimental Beethoven where the early seeds are sown for the later piano sonatas. The jaunty, sprightly cast of the Andante in C major makes for an attractive introduction. It was interesting to read in the booklet that the piece only surfaced for the first time in a Henle edition of 1975. It's followed by a Presto of driving intensity. The C major Allegretto is rhythmically rather quirky, whilst the C minor, maybe originally earmarked for the Sonata Op. 10. No. 1, has grandeur proportions.

The seven Op. 33 Bagatelles are the earliest of three sets, published in 1803, and reveal an evolving style. Each is well-crafted and appealing. Kolesnikov is acutely responsive to their fleeting moods. The first and third have an infectious charm, whilst the second's unpredictability and off-beat accents are guaranteed to raise a smile. The fourth and sixth are bathed in a soothing lyricism. No. 5 impresses with its dazzling fingerwork.

The thought of another 'Moonlight' Sonata filled me with dread. I needn't have worried. With Kolesnikov playing it, that proves to be a fresh element. It's certainly the finest performance of it I've ever heard. The exquisite legato and dynamic sensitivity of the first movement held me spellbound. The finale is dispatched with consummate ease and scintillating brilliance. Op. 14 No. 2 is most welcome, as it doesn't get the exposure it deserves. The opening movement is suffused with the joys of spring, followed by a theme and variations. The Scherzo finale is witty and capricious.

A fitting climax is reached with the 32 Variations on an Original Theme, WoO 80. I'm very fond of this work, ever since I first got to know it via a black and white film featuring the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. The same stunning pianism revealed in that film is present here, with Kolesnikov achieving passion and drama in full measure.

The Wyastone acoustic brings out the very best of the well-voiced Steinway. Annotations in English, French and German are provided by Richard Wigmore. There's no doubt in my mind that this young pianist is going from strength to strength with each new recording.

Stephen Greenbank

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

a vibrant slice of life

stylistically assured

About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs

Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome

An inspired partnership
additional review

A valuable document

Musicweb sells the following labels

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: 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