Piano Street Magazine

Beethoven Hammerklavier & Moonlight Sonatas – Murray Perahia

September 12th, 2018 in Articles by | 5 comments

Murray Perahia has spent a lot of time with Beethoven throughout his long and successful career. Still, it was only when he passed the 70-year mark that he felt ready to perform and record the “Hammerklavier” — a sonata which is something of the ultimate test of a pianist’s technique, stamina, and musical understanding.

An Unsentimental but Still Expressive Experience

In his recently released album, Perahia couples the Hammerklavier Sonata, op 106 with the Moonlight Sonata, op 27 no 2; the juxtaposition of these two very contrasting works seems to highlight just how limitless and groundbreaking Beethoven was as a composer for the piano. Add Perahia’s unsentimental yet expressive playing, and suddenly even the old Moonlight turns into something of a new experience.

“… his insights into the motivations behind the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata are absolutely remarkable. Here we find an Aeolian harp – or what Beethoven’s idea of one may have been – and some imaginative associations with nothing less than Romeo and Juliet.” — Jessica Duchen

A Fast and Thrilling Ride

The Hammerklavier can feel like an overwhelming structure to get lost in, but here it’s a thrilling ride, sweeping you along. Perahia’s tempos are fast, but the music never feels hurried, thanks to his faultless technique and tasteful rubato. The slow movement has calm, tenderness and poise but it never loses its sense of direction. The sound is warm, rich and resonant without obscuring the impressive clarity of articulation — just listen to the concluding fugue, which is a real feat of transparency.

Doubtless, it’s been worth the wait to hear Perahia in this repertoire!

NEW! Click the album cover to listen to the complete album.
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Perahia Plays Beethoven Moonlight and Hammerklavier| Play album >> | Download CD cover >> |

Recording: Berlin, Funkhaus Nalepastraße, Saal 1, 11/2016 (op. 106) & 7/2017 (op. 27 no. 2)

Listen on Spotify >>
View the album on Amazon >>

Related discussions in Piano Forum

Sheet music to download and print

Beethoven Moonlight Sonata

Beethoven Hammerklavier Sonata - piano sheet music


  • Melissa N. says:

    I look up to Murray Perahia a lot and his amazing talents never disapoint. I am a young aspiring pianist who only recently started playing. I am hoping to perfect my skill and one day be able to play the amazing works of Beethoven myself. It has to be such an amazing feeling!

  • Seth W. says:

    Perahia’s work is nothing short of astonishing. Not many people can do what he does and it amazes me every time I hear his work. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t already, listen to that CD. It is out of this world and will leave you feeling things for music you may not have felt in years.

  • Heather Shelton says:

    Is there a place I can purchase this CD? I would love to get it for my father for his birthday coming up. He will be turning 60. I come from a long line of music lovers and his has always been the piano. He is a huge fan of Murray and I know he would cherish this.

  • Mike Andersen says:

    Wow! That is one of the most naturally flowing but still very mournful renditions of the moonlight first mvt that I have ever heard.

  • Caciora Teodor says:

    Great artist!

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