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I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas op.10 1-3

#alttext# Pianist Paul Lewis has recorded the entire piano sonatas by Beethoven on Harmonia Mundi, the 8th CD in the complete 10-CD set features op. 10 1-3 (C min, F maj, D maj). I already own the Robert Goode complete set recorded on Nonesuch, but having heard wonderful things about the Brendel recordings, not to mention the things about this set from Lewis, why not try something new from Alfred's student? At times, I wished Lewis was playing a historical instrument, because he saves his noisy style for just the right moments, which I know would be popping the top off a Hammerklavier. His choice and preference for a modern piano isn't a bad choice, but there's something just too perfect in those big chords voiced low in the C-minor that I know would have been far noisier on a compact, leather-clad hammer instrument. I believe no.1 is the best well-known of the sonatas, but the Rondo from no. 3 is also special. It has an odd opening phrase, which Lewis handles well, especially during one of the harmonic progressions before a theme entrance that's transposed. This isn't the most well-appreciated of the Beethoven collection, but it shows great accomplishment from our pianist. I was looking for a nice clean reading of the Beethoven sonatas done with taste, and Mr. Lewis comes through. I'm not sure he does anything on this disc to raise an eyebrow or to herald a new interpretive genius. Instead, Lewis delivers a well-reasoned disc that takes appropriate liberties with speed, is captured in a realistic acoustic, and occasionally impresses me with this technique (his evenness on ascending scales is really nice). That said, nothing new or profound is added to the recording. I'll reserve some of the more extrovert works and readings for future reviews, but in total, if you don't already have a complete reading of Beethoven's sonatas, this is a good one to have.


Cantatas, volume 44