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Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter? (Read 94055 times)

Offline tuufy

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #50 on: September 29, 2010, 11:01:38 PM »
Wilhem Kempff is an old sloppy cheese, sorry, but its so. Barenboim is supreme. Also Gilels, Brendel etc.

Offline birba

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #51 on: September 30, 2010, 06:54:23 AM »
Wilhem Kempff is an old sloppy cheese, sorry, but its so. Barenboim is supreme. Also Gilels, Brendel etc.
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Offline vandermozart3

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #52 on: October 08, 2010, 10:50:29 AM »

Offline pianist1976

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #53 on: October 08, 2010, 12:01:26 PM »
And you're a young neat turd.

Well said!  ;)

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #54 on: October 31, 2011, 10:35:19 AM »
Kempff's recording of moonlgiht sonata 3rd movement was excellent! anyway, I like stephen kovacevich and ashkenazy's interpretations the best.
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Offline dafnis

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #55 on: October 31, 2011, 11:16:16 AM »
I've read in this post recommendations for most classic accounts with which I mostly agree.
Would like to add Paul Lewis as well.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #56 on: October 31, 2011, 11:22:37 AM »
Forgot to add Vladimir horowitz for selected sonatas.
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Offline starstruck5

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #57 on: November 01, 2011, 11:19:05 PM »
In another thread I chose Backhaus as the pianist I'd choose to record my Beethoven, if I could only choose one. 

I considered Gulda, because he is immense - but the pianos he records on sounds like a bad digital piano of ten years ago - even though it obviously isn't.  Listen to the Rondo of the Waldstein on YouTube - the playing is outstanding - he doesn't treat the theme like a dirge at the outset,  like so many do - which is refreshing.  So if I could have the best piano and modern recordings, Gulda would be my man.

Thankfully we have the immense riches of being able to listen to many different pianists interpret these timeless sonatas.

As for Glenn Gould - it is great that we have his unique renditions.  Even if you hate his playing, he is true to himself - love it or hate it.

Richter just wants to show off - he has amazing fingers - but when I listen to his playing I am often thinking he must have a train to catch.
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Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #58 on: November 02, 2011, 12:04:42 AM »
Richter's not too bad with Beethoven. I mean, I think his playing of the Hammerklavier was pretty good.
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Offline akasimone

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #59 on: November 02, 2011, 01:51:28 PM »
I liked reading this thread; it was a good discussion about Gould.  Interesting debate on whether/how much we can know (or should care) about the composer's intentions.  I can only add that whatever the answers may be to those big questions, Gould's performances (of Beethoven) just don't do it for me.  I don't feel much (except annoyed) and my own intention, listening to Beethoven, is to feel something.  Perhaps for me that's more about connecting with a composer than a performer and that's why I don't like Gould... when the composer and the performer happen to line right up, even better.

Which brings me to point 2:  András Schiff!  Much closer to the respect-the-composer end of the spectrum, and while I can't make an irrefutable argument that that's the only acceptable way to do it, I can say that what I have heard of Schiff's Beethoven feels downright enlightening to me.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #60 on: November 02, 2011, 01:57:47 PM »
Gould's playing style is so weird he looks like some sort of creature when playing. nonethe less, I still like his inerpretation of Moonlight sonata 3rd mvt.
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Offline Derek

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #61 on: November 02, 2011, 02:29:34 PM »
For me its Claudio Arrau hands down. I think my brain must just be slower than most people's or something, because I can actually hear music go by when he plays. When most other artists play Beethoven, it sounds like it is on fast forward to me. I feel like Barenboim sometimes plays it a bit slower too, I've heard recordings by him that I like. I also own Richard Goode's complete cycle of sonatas. I like them too, but he's definitely tending towards the fast forward side of things.

Offline pianowolfi

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #62 on: November 02, 2011, 07:49:01 PM »
For me its Claudio Arrau hands down. I think my brain must just be slower than most people's or something, because I can actually hear music go by when he plays. When most other artists play Beethoven, it sounds like it is on fast forward to me. I feel like Barenboim sometimes plays it a bit slower too, I've heard recordings by him that I like. I also own Richard Goode's complete cycle of sonatas. I like them too, but he's definitely tending towards the fast forward side of things.

I am with you in this, for sure! I think Arrau plays deeply from his soul and from his heart. He is definitely one of my favorite Chopin interpreters and understanders. And as for Beethoven, I still feel very related to Brendel, because I heard him play so many Beethoven Sonatas live and it was just incredible, it was a life changing experience!!
Both used to be not very respected/popular on this forum (at least for a while, as far as I know) and I think that's a pity! Sometimes I sensed a sort of "industrial" spirit in that whole movement against these pianists.  

Offline scottmcc

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #63 on: November 02, 2011, 10:12:45 PM »
wolfi, that's an interesting point and I must say that I thoroughly enjoy both Brendel and Arrau's renditions of the sonatas.  Many point to the slower tempi often chosen by Arrau, such as in the first movement of the Waldstein, but they fail to note that sometimes he chose rather rapid tempi, such as the first movement of op 28, which he plays a full minute faster than Brendel, and about 2 minutes faster than Barenboim.  At first when I bought the complete set of Arrau Beethoven sonatas (the first complete set I owned), all people could focus on was how slow they are.  Now that I have listened to them dozens of times, I think that all of the nuances and artistic subtleties are deserving of the slower tempo.  Besides, Glenn Gould himself famously commented that too many people are wrapped up in tempo as the only thing they notice, and that he sees tempo as just a vessel to contain the music.

Offline bachapprentice

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #64 on: November 04, 2011, 02:53:02 AM »
After watching Valentina Lisitsa videos on youtube I have to say she is the best Beethoven and Rachmaninoff Interpreter right now.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #65 on: November 04, 2011, 02:56:59 AM »
.
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Offline philb

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #66 on: November 04, 2011, 03:55:28 AM »
After watching Valentina Lisitsa videos on youtube I have to say she is the best Beethoven and Rachmaninoff Interpreter right now.

I happen to find her Beethoven (and most of her Rachmaninoff for that matter) particularly bland. Also, it's hard to base an opinion when she only has maybe 3 sonata's posted on youtube (Three of the most overplayed sonatas: Moonlight, Hammerklavier, Appassionata.) If I had to pick a Beethoven interpreter, probably Arrau or Barenboim.

Offline bachapprentice

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #67 on: November 04, 2011, 06:57:33 PM »
I happen to find her Beethoven (and most of her Rachmaninoff for that matter) particularly bland. Also, it's hard to base an opinion when she only has maybe 3 sonata's posted on youtube (Three of the most overplayed sonatas: Moonlight, Hammerklavier, Appassionata.) If I had to pick a Beethoven interpreter, probably Arrau or Barenboim.
I think if you look harder you will see most of the Sonata's on her youtube site. It's more than 3.
Bland you must be joking.



Offline pianomcl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #68 on: November 04, 2011, 09:08:00 PM »
There are some really nice Solomon Beethoven Sonata recordings that don't get heard too often.
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Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #69 on: November 04, 2011, 09:31:22 PM »
After watching Valentina Lisitsa videos on youtube I have to say she is the best Beethoven and Rachmaninoff Interpreter right now.

Not her, she's a great pianist but I find her recordings missing something.
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Offline akasimone

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #70 on: November 05, 2011, 02:12:00 AM »
I still feel very related to Brendel, because I heard him play so many Beethoven Sonatas live and it was just incredible, it was a life changing experience!!   

This may explain how Schiff just skyrocketed to the top of my list :)  (Not that he was very far down.)  Saw him play op 109 this week; that one is my favorite of all favorites and plus it was the encore, so it was a surprise that I got to hear it. 

Offline kerryblue

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #71 on: November 05, 2011, 08:04:08 AM »
For sure DANIEL BARENBOIM  :)


Offline bachapprentice

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #72 on: November 05, 2011, 01:44:36 PM »
For sure DANIEL BARENBOIM  :)


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Offline minor9th

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #73 on: November 05, 2011, 07:57:07 PM »
I recently bought Peter Takacs' complete set on the Cambria label. I had not heard of him, but I went ahead and purchased the set based on rave reviews, and I must say that I enjoy them very much. He plays with plenty of power without banging, and the soft passages are very poetic. I guess my main quibble is that many of the slow movements would sound a bit more spiritual if they were a tiny bit slower, but otherwise, this is a fine set. What really sets it apart is the stunning 5-channel SACD audio--it is easily the best piano recording I have ever heard. His Bosendorfer Imperial Grand sounds mighty grand indeed. Plus, it comes with an informative 142-page hard bound book and a large foldout timeline that shows biographical info, literature, science, and historical events for each year of Beethoven's life. All of this for only $64 via Amazon sellers!

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #74 on: November 06, 2011, 01:48:06 AM »


Probably the best playing of Moonlight sonata mvt 3 I've seen.
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Offline octavius_trillson

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #75 on: November 06, 2011, 07:30:23 AM »
I have a recording of what I think is a machine playing moonlight sonata 3rd movement and this may sound like heresy but it's the best recording of the piece I've heard..... it's absolutely relentless, there are no pauses (however brief), no rubato, it is consistently swift, perfectly accurate, and every note falls in place with scientific precision. If anyone is interested I could post it, assuming that's legal of course?

Among the human pianists I like Kempf, Louis Lortie and Stephen Kovacevich

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #76 on: November 06, 2011, 07:34:18 AM »
I have a recording of what I think is a machine playing moonlight sonata 3rd movement and this may sound like heresy but it's the best recording of the piece I've heard..... it's absolutely relentless, there are no pauses (however brief), no rubato, it is consistently swift, perfectly accurate, and every note falls in place with scientific precision. If anyone is interested I could post it, assuming that's of course?

Among the human pianists I like Kempf, Louis Lortie and Stephen Kovacevich


I'm interested. And yes, my favourite Beethoven interpreter is Kovacevich. I have the complete recordings of Beethoven sonatas on disc although I haven't heard all of it.
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Offline octavius_trillson

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #77 on: November 06, 2011, 07:46:21 AM »
Third movement starts at 7:21, the 1st and 2nd movements aren't half bad.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #78 on: November 06, 2011, 08:03:16 AM »
the 3rd mvt aint  bad but some parts are reminiscent of machine guns.
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Offline Mayla

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #79 on: November 08, 2011, 05:51:44 PM »
.
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Offline yodaofpiano

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #80 on: November 13, 2011, 02:39:04 AM »
In this order of the best, imo:

Schnabel,

Kempff,

Brendel.

Offline Derek

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #81 on: November 13, 2011, 05:31:46 AM »
I watched Kempff play the 3rd mvt of the moonlight sonata somewhere on this site the other night. I hadn't heard his interpretation yet, and admittedly have not listened very widely to classical piano recordings. But it sounds like I may want to get his full cycle as well, cause it was really good. There was something really special about how he plays the main "rising arpeggio" theme of the piece, that made it feel like it was being...hmmm....sent along....? more than other performers.  :)

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #82 on: November 13, 2011, 06:32:55 AM »
I think he probably brings out the top note of each arpeggio in the rising arpeggio figure and fully brings out the chords.
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Offline minor9th

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #83 on: November 13, 2011, 07:33:55 PM »
I'd have to say it isn't Frederick Rzewski with this 46 minute "expanded" Appassionata!! :o


Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #84 on: November 25, 2011, 12:26:55 PM »
I'd have to say it isn't Frederick Rzewski with this 46 minute "expanded" Appassionata!! :o



Sorry to say but probably the worst by far of Beethoven's Appasionata sonata. Most music do not have to be played up to speed to sound 'good', although it will lack the intensity and drama of a fast playing. but maybe this is just one of the handful of pieces that Have to be played up to speed to sound good and flowing.
Maybe Rzewski is a composing type of guy instead of a performing type of guy. On another note, I think Richter and Horowtiz deserve some credit for select performances of Beethoven sonatas.

JL
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Offline na7104

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #85 on: October 18, 2012, 10:23:32 PM »
John O'Conor and Daniel Barenboim.

Offline clavile

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #86 on: October 19, 2012, 04:18:52 AM »
Wilhelm Kempff!!! I LOVE his interpretations!!!!!!



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Offline 49410enrique

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #87 on: October 19, 2012, 12:09:31 PM »
im w derek. arrau.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #88 on: October 19, 2012, 09:05:11 PM »
Arrau was born to play Beethoven.
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Offline cometear

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #89 on: May 04, 2013, 12:34:04 AM »
Wilhelm Kempff. very nice.

His recording of the "Moonlight Sonata" was not so good. I turned away from him and his son after that.

I like Barenboim's interpretations to an extent. He really is way to fast in the end of the Appassionata. I would say Glenn Gould is my all time favorite Beethoven interpreter.
Clementi, Piano Sonata in G Minor, No. 3, op. 10
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Beethoven, Piano Concerto, No. 2, op. 19

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #90 on: May 23, 2013, 04:52:26 PM »
He is the best.  Too bad I cannot find any recording of him with the Pathétique on YouTube.


Offline bronnestam

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #91 on: May 27, 2013, 08:17:49 AM »
BTW, two days ago I witnessed Mr. Tengstrand performing the Waldstein sonata. What an energy explosion, I can't believe the piano didn't crack. 

 :o

The audience started to applause after the first movement. I pitied everyone who was not there ...

Offline cometear

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #92 on: October 30, 2013, 08:37:39 PM »
1. Gilels
2. Arrau
3. Richter

Honorable Mention: Barenboim
Clementi, Piano Sonata in G Minor, No. 3, op. 10
W. A. Mozart, Sonata for Piano Four-Hands in F Major, K. 497
Beethoven, Piano Concerto, No. 2, op. 19

Offline david456103

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #93 on: October 30, 2013, 11:06:40 PM »
i like barenboim the best for beethoven sonatas..very energetic playing!

Offline vertigoone

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #94 on: March 23, 2014, 08:50:51 PM »
I think it's a shame that I can only find one Sonata recording by Alfred Cortot.  They say that he was considered a Beethoven expert early in his career.  His playing (and masterclasses, for that matter) of the Op. 109 sonata is a spiritual experience.

I could be wrong, but isn't Beethoven remembered as a piano-crushing performer?  Of course, much of his piano music is so intimate and introspective, especially near the end of his life, that it would require a much more reserved and meek approach to the instrument.  In fact, if I remember right, Beethoven is responsible for much of the improvements made on the piano - such as greater dynamic contrasts and sturdiness.  Weren't there even times where he would massacre the piano on-stage because of his musical fury?

If this is true, I would think that a performer such as Sviatoslav Richter would be more inclined to a Beethovenian temperament than even a pianist as respected as Claudio Arrau.  With Beethoven, I feel that it is just as important to be knowledgeable about the historical context of performance as it is to have deep feelings about the music being performed.  There is no question that Daniel Barenboim, Wilhelm Kempff, and Claudio Arrau have deep feelings about the Beethoven sonatas; but I feel that at their core they have restrained their musical demon to the power of their intellect.  Richter, on the other hand, often lets the music carry him away to uncharted territories.  THIS, I feel, is the true spirit of Beethoven.

Besides all this, however, my vote goes to Artur Schnabel.  I am quite surprised that I haven't seen him mentioned much on this thread!  Wasn't he a descendant of Beethoven?  Not only do I feel that he captures a pure spirit of Beethoven, I also sense that his performances are as historically profound and accurate as is necessary.  His tempi are usually very even and pronounced while also being alive.  His phrasing is gorgeous and romantic.  His rubato (an element which is only most understood by a true artist - Alfred Cortot and Vladimir Horowitz come to mind) is thoughtful and beautiful.  Like I said before, I wish that Cortot had more popularized Beethoven recordings; but for now, my vote goes to Schnabel.

BONUS: I feel that Glenn Gould's Beethoven is inspired.  Rough around the edges, spiritual, adventurous, and intellectually stimulating.  His playing of the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata is, I feel, the best version out there.

“I will seize fate by the throat; it shall certainly never wholly overcome me.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven

Offline perprocrastinate

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #95 on: March 23, 2014, 10:03:34 PM »
Any thoughts on Annie Fischer?

Unrelated, I think the dark, warm tone of the Bosendorfer she plays on is well suited for Beethoven.

Offline thomasshiraza

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #96 on: March 13, 2015, 07:26:27 AM »
Schnabel

Andras schiff

Serkin

Offline rachmforever

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #97 on: March 13, 2015, 07:37:43 AM »
Wilhelm Kempff
Chopin etudes op.10 No 1,3,12 op.25 No 12
Schumann and Grieg piano concertos A minor
Beethoven sonatas No.17, No.14
Rachmaninoff prelude B minor
and more...
learning:

Offline thomasshiraza

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #98 on: April 06, 2015, 09:56:28 PM »
I think its Artur Schnabel without doubt. And for the living my vote goes to Andras Schiff. He has such a good understanding of them, listen to his lectures on youtube. There is also a very promising young pianist called Soheil Nasseri

Offline stevensk

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Re: Who is the best Beethoven Sonata Interpreter?
«Reply #99 on: April 07, 2015, 07:27:53 AM »

Whats the point whith this kind of discussion??  >:(