The Classics: April 2

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No.29 Hammerklavier and No.14 Moonlight. Murray Perahia (piano). Deutsche Grammophon CD

What Murray Perahia sees as "two of the most radically ground-breaking of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas" are new studio recordings by this American performer. It is the first time he has recorded these two famous sonatas. The pianist always displays a wonderful touch producing a beautiful sound, with a technique that never strays from a perfect classical structure. Beethoven sonatas are a field where competition is fierce but this is, as Gramophone magazine declared, "a disc, naturally and vividly recorded, of rare distinction and pedigree."

The disc opens with the B flat major Hammerklavier that Perahia declares the more difficult of the two sonatas — not for its finger-wrenching displays of delivery of rather desolate music but more for its imaginative and technical challenges of interpretation and tempos. It is much bigger and does not fit with the other sonatas.

Perahia writes: "The challenge of this music is still alive because one can get deeper and deeper into the piece’s mysteries. That’s endless — both musicologically and emotionally. Everything in it is connected. There is not a random note, yet it feels improvisatory. So it is a mystery that will intrigue and occupy musicians forever."

Due respect then goes to Beethoven Sonata No.14  (the famous Moonlight title was added after his death) that changed the pattern of movements in previous sonatas. It was no doubt inspired by the transformation of piano technology — extra notes and new sustaining pedal giving wider dynamic range, resonance and attack. Beethoven then unleashed a musical revolution. Perahia treats this highly pianistic work lovingly and with great care.

Verdict: Vivid recording, piano playing of distinction. 

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter