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Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording (Read 36717 times)

Offline quirky

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Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
« on: January 06, 2009, 09:33:57 PM »
Who's is the best recording of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas and why? Also, who's could be called the worst?

Sheet music to download and print: Sonatas by Beethoven



Offline thalberg

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 10:58:26 PM »
I have Richard Goode's complete Beethoven Sonatas.  It good but not great.  Also there is Ashkenazy...also good but not great.

I have not heard Schnabel's complete Beethoven sonatas, but I'd guess those are some of the best based on the little I've heard.

Also don't be afraid to assemble your own complete set with different pianists, because not all pianists play all 32 equally well.  I'd start by checking Richter and Gilels, neither of whom recorded the complete beethoven sonatas but both of whom play beethoven well.

Offline mad_max2024

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 11:16:35 PM »
I have Baremboim's set and quite like it, though it doesn't exactly blow me away...
It's definitely in my car music's most played list...  ;D

I hear a lot about Kempf but never heard him play, maybe I'll check it out someday.
I'm also curious about Brendel. I really like his playing and I heard he recorded a set too.
I am perfectly normal, it is everyone else who is strange.

Offline mousekowski

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 12:05:18 AM »
I've got Barenboim's and Ashkenazy's. Both are very easy to listen to. Perhaps Ashkenazy has a bit more charisma and intellect.
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Offline hodi

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #4 on: January 07, 2009, 12:06:49 AM »
gulda!

Offline iroveashe

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 12:11:35 AM »
I have most (not all by every performer) sonatas played by Barenboim, Brendel, Gould, Annie Fischer and Richter; the last 2 are my favorites with Barenboim quite close. Some of Brendel's are okay and some of Gould too, though obviously not exactly an example to follow.
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Offline goldentone

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 07:04:51 AM »
I have Richard Goode's complete Beethoven Sonatas.  It good but not great.  Also there is Ashkenazy...also good but not great.

I have not heard Schnabel's complete Beethoven sonatas, but I'd guess those are some of the best based on the little I've heard.

Also don't be afraid to assemble your own complete set with different pianists, because not all pianists play all 32 equally well.  I'd start by checking Richter and Gilels, neither of whom recorded the complete beethoven sonatas but both of whom play beethoven well.

I am definitely going to buy the late sonatas by Richard Goode.  What do you think of those?  I think he is a quite an amazing pianist. 

I have nearly all of the John O'Conor complete set, except for one I believe.  I agree, one pianist isn't going to do justice to them all.  On Beethoven's last three, O'Conor is exquisite.  And Schnabel is something to hear.

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Offline allemande

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 10:16:50 PM »
Personally, i'm getting quite fond of the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli recordings of some sonatas. He didn't record them all, sadly, but the few he did, to me, are absolutely amazing.

In general, I'm fond of Claudio Arrau playing them. Brendel as well. As for Gould, he does have an interesting way of playing them, but in no means degenerating, he's truly original. I haven't heard ashkenazy, and i've heard a lot by Barenboim. Baremboim's recording are good, but nothing out of this world. He's a great pianist none the less. Kempf is also very good.

Lately I would recommend Michelangeli, the concertos by him are flawless as well.

Offline minor9th

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 11:27:52 PM »
No Stephen Kovacevich recommendations?  :o

Offline scottmcc

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #9 on: January 08, 2009, 01:31:40 AM »
second the votes for kempff and for arrau.  both excellent, both very different.

andras schiff recently released his recording of the complete cycle.  haven't heard all of them, but the lectures he gives on guardian uk are excellent (google them if you haven't heard them already). 

I can't say I care for glenn gould's recordings of the sonatas.  they're just weird to me.

Offline amelialw

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #10 on: January 08, 2009, 12:31:34 PM »
Baremboim and Pollini for sonatas.
Kissin for Beethoven Piano Concertos(reccomended by my teacher)- fabulous
J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu

Offline rhapsody4

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #11 on: January 08, 2009, 04:48:07 PM »
I've got Barenboim's and Ashkenazy's.

Both of those I would rate very highly as complete sets.

However, I have never heard better than the Gilels recordings - its a shame he tragically never was to complete the cycle: 5 or 6 short if memory serves me correctly.

and why?

To me, Gilels somehow phrases everything in his Beethoven cycle exactly how I would want to play it myself. In addition, the build up and releases of tension in his playing combined with expression and development of complex musical ideas makes these recordings my favourite.

Also, who's could be called the worst?

Pointless question. Why would you want to hear a bad cycle?
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Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #12 on: January 08, 2009, 06:30:31 PM »
Schabel has very good interpretations. I haven't heard them all though, but the ones I've heard are very good.

Hmm, the worst... I haven't heard Jeno Jando play any other than appassionata, but I am quite sure they are rather bad. I also assume that Idil Biret's recordings might be very bad.
These are only random guesses, from other pieces I've heard from them, I might be very wrong, and I didn't mean to harm any of Jando's or Biret's fans.

Offline richard black

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #13 on: January 08, 2009, 10:16:35 PM »
Worst recordings? There are some filthy things I've come across over the years (no complete sets though) in the way of vanity recordings promoted by the performer. Mercifully I've forgotten the names....
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Offline thalberg

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #14 on: January 09, 2009, 03:20:18 AM »
I am definitely going to buy the late sonatas by Richard Goode.  What do you think of those?  I think he is a quite an amazing pianist. 

I have nearly all of the John O'Conor complete set, except for one I believe.  I agree, one pianist isn't going to do justice to them all.  On Beethoven's last three, O'Conor is exquisite.  And Schnabel is something to hear.


Hi Goldentone!  If you are Richard Goode fan, I recommend getting his Schubert Bb Sonata (the last sonata).  Goode's recording of this piece is just breathtaking.  As far as the late Beethoven Sonatas go, I'd say his playing is very solid and respectable and I think you would enjoy it.  Though, I'd be a bit more likely to recommend someone like Richter or Gilels if you can find them.



Offline gerryjay

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #15 on: January 09, 2009, 07:08:57 AM »
hi there!
i like brendel's more than any other, even if there are other superb renditions of the sonatas.
best!


Offline aslanov

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #16 on: January 09, 2009, 07:45:40 AM »
i'd say barenboim, richter, and gilels.

i wouldnt even think of recommending kempff, its just me, but i dont quite like his interpretations. just like i dont like a lot of horowitz. his mozart though, is exquisite.

and someone mentioned kissin for his concertos. i dont know about kissin, but i do know that van cliburn and ashkenazy do play some meaaan beethoven concertos.

Offline mousekowski

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #17 on: January 10, 2009, 10:05:06 PM »
Minor 9th - are you actually Stephen Kovacevich in real life?!
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Offline shaunarundell

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #18 on: January 11, 2009, 10:43:00 AM »
I have complete sets or almost complete set of the below (plus lots of single discs with just 3 or 4) - Its taken me about 40 years to collect them.

MY tastes have changed over time - many year ago, I liked Richter best with Brendel & Gilels next. But after Schiff's wonderful lecture series a few year ago, his version have become my favorites. But I still listen to them all

If you want clean, beautiful and classic -  Arrau & Barrenboim would be a great place to start.

All the below have recorded the complete series. I number have many many recorded versions of the majors.

Arrau
AshKenazy
BackHaus
Barrenboim
Gilels
Kempf
Fisher
Firkusny
Goode
Gould
Horowitz
Richter
Rubinstein
Schiff
Schnable


shaun

Offline minor9th

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #19 on: January 11, 2009, 06:13:10 PM »
Minor 9th - are you actually Stephen Kovacevich in real life?!

Haha, no. Most critics drool over his set--I was just surprised not to see him among the recommendations. I enjoy his Beethoven, though EMI doesn't always provide him with the best sound.

Offline mousekowski

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #20 on: January 11, 2009, 06:37:08 PM »
I heard Kovacevich play some Beethoven at Dartington, UK - I think it was the last 3 sonatas. It was an amazing gig.
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Offline minor9th

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #21 on: January 11, 2009, 07:55:47 PM »
I heard Kovacevich play some Beethoven at Dartington, UK - I think it was the last 3 sonatas. It was an amazing gig.

His new recording of the Diabelli Variations is getting rave reviews, too.

Offline twiltot

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #22 on: January 24, 2009, 03:51:24 PM »
Vladimir Ashkenazy,Kempff,Barenboim, waldstein (3) by fazil say is good...also rubinstein

Offline soderlund

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #23 on: January 24, 2009, 05:10:58 PM »
Hmm, the worst... I haven't heard Jeno Jando play any other than appassionata, but I am quite sure they are rather bad. I also assume that Idil Biret's recordings might be very bad.
These are only random guesses, from other pieces I've heard from them, I might be very wrong, and I didn't mean to harm any of Jando's or Biret's fans.

What is wrong with Jando's complete set? I am very offended xD
Seriously, Jando's Beethoven is not comparable to Richter and Gilels, I suppose, but they aren't that bad! I wish I had heard more Ashkenazy though. For now, I am happy with Jando's rendition, I hope I am not the only one!

Offline styx

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #24 on: February 15, 2009, 01:50:32 PM »
I am surprised that nobody mention's Ronald Brautigam. He plays the Sonatas on a Fortepiano. Very refreshing.

Rudy

Offline goldentone

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #25 on: February 20, 2009, 08:16:56 AM »
Last night I listened to Garrick Ohlsson on WQXR, from a link from the Piano Street blog.  A wonderful pianist!  I've known his name, but this is the first I've really listened to him play.  He has recorded the complete set of Beethoven sonatas not long ago.  His discussion and playing of excerpts from opus 111 was very interesting and enjoyable.

http://www.wqxr.com/cgi-bin/iowa/air/features/article.html?record=5969
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Offline njalli

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #26 on: February 20, 2009, 02:06:22 PM »
Annie fischers, no doubt!

Offline general disarray

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #27 on: February 20, 2009, 04:18:20 PM »
The great Chilean pianist, Alfredo Perl.  Not perfect -- but then no one is in all 32 sonatas -- but a solid command of classical technique combined with beautiful tone production yields truly exquisite Beethoven playing.
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Offline mikey6

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #28 on: February 20, 2009, 05:27:21 PM »
His new recording of the Diabelli Variations is getting rave reviews, too.
Really, the one I read absolutely canned his playing as if he hadn't even practised his Kinderszenen and his diabelli were no where near the quality of his recording (whichI actually like).
Paul Lewis's Beethoven set has been hailed as one fo the best of the modern era - having none of the eccentricities of the great Schnabel and Kempff sets.
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Offline anda

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #29 on: February 28, 2009, 08:15:55 AM »
I don't think I have a fav "cycle" recording, I have favorites for each sonata separately. I love the barenboim esp for waldstein (for having the guts to play slow - absolutely incredible); for the last three sonatas I prefer brendel; also gilels (for many many sonatas, and for the concertos, and esp for hammer); pletnev played an incredible op.111 at carnegie... and I'm sure there are many more I loved and I'm forgetting now. As for "worst"... I don't particularly like Kempf (cold and impersonal), or Arrau, or Glenn Gould (as much as I love his Bach... but Beethoven and Brahms aren't his dish - imho) - but I pretty sure these aren't the worst Beethoven sonatas.

best luck

Offline zax102

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #30 on: June 01, 2011, 03:58:28 PM »
Obviously this topic hasn't been posted in for awhile, but when I googled "best Beethoven piano sonata recordings" this topic popped up. So, I thought I would add that Mitsuko Uchida has wonderful recordings of the Beethoven piano concertos. I haven't really listened to the couple of sonatas she recorded.

Offline lelle

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #31 on: June 01, 2011, 06:53:28 PM »
I dislike kempff. His playing is so stiff, held back and uninteresting in most sonatas.

Offline djealnla

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #32 on: June 01, 2011, 07:28:01 PM »
But after Schiff's wonderful lecture series a few year ago, his version [sic] have become my favorites.

Ergh.

If you want clean, beautiful and classic -  Arrau & Barrenboim [sic] would be a great place to start.

Urgh.

All the below have recorded the complete series. I number have many many recorded versions of the majors.

Arrau
AshKenazy [sic]
BackHaus [sic]
Barrenboim [sic]
Gilels
Kempf [sic]
Fisher [sic]
Firkusny [sic]
Goode
Gould
Horowitz
Richter
Rubinstein
Schiff
Schnable [sic]

Richter, Horowitz and Gilels did not record them all.

Pollini is my recommendation, but I don't know whether he recorded them all. The list above is missing Brendel.

Offline irrational

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #33 on: November 15, 2011, 09:50:11 PM »
Old thread. 8).
But I love Beethoven, so wanted to get in an answer too!

I have the Gilels set as my choice, Ever since I heard the first recording I found (of the Waldstein) I was amazed at his interpretation. I have Pollini's set of the last sonatas which I really enjoy as well. The recording quality is great too.
I am looking to augment these with Richter (I have the Appassionata/Choral Fantasy disk on the way)
I also like Arrau a lot, but the recordings are a bit too old. My sound equipment enhances the background noise too much.
After watching the Barenboim BBC series I also like some of his interpretations, but I prefer the above.
I also want to revisit the few that Perahia did. I am a fan of his, but I remember not liking his interpretations especially. But I now listen with a different ear.

Offline haydnseeker

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #34 on: November 18, 2011, 10:46:09 PM »
The pianists who've recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas are overwhelmingly male.

The only sets by female players that I'm aware of are those of Annie Fischer and Tatiana Nikolayeva.  Are there any others?

Offline leonidli

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #35 on: November 25, 2011, 12:12:52 PM »
I glanced through the comments and saw no one mentioned Kempff's or Brendel's cycles... I lived with Kempff's stereo cycle on DG and Brendel's third cycle (Philips) for a long time, and I think they are both indispensable in this repertoire.
These two pianists' Beethoven is not the big-boned and dramatic type of, say, Arrau or Gilels. But then I realized that no one plays Beethoven as beautifully as Kempff and as intellectually-satisfying as Brendel. Both shows equally commanding musicality as other big names. I do love their recordings.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #36 on: November 25, 2011, 12:31:29 PM »
What coincidence...there was another thread I posted in minutes ago on a similar topic about Beethoven and Best interpreters etc. Somebody mentioned Kempff and Brendelin this one.

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=31665.msg479732;topicseen#new
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Offline remy

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #37 on: November 26, 2011, 12:21:28 AM »
The pianists who've recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas are overwhelmingly male.

The only sets by female players that I'm aware of are those of Annie Fischer and Tatiana Nikolayeva.  Are there any others?

Maria Grinberg was the first Russian to record all the Beethoven Sonatas.


remy

Offline dollerakos

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #38 on: February 19, 2012, 10:12:09 AM »
I have the Bilson's and his student's complete Beethoven sonatas on period instruments (more different instruments from different periods). It is not the best but very interesting interpretations; not the best because the students aren't on the same levels...

I'm interesting in the Richard Good's complete recording. Maybe it is a strange asking but i'd like to hear some short details from some of the parts of the sonatas, for example from the 1-st part of the Op. 31., No. 1. G-dur sonata. Can Somebody send me? Very thanks! :-)

P. S.: I have the Schubert complete sonatas with Wilhelm Kempff on LP, so if Somebody 'd like some details, i can send..

Offline joe1792

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Re: Best Beethoven Piano Sonatas Recording
«Reply #39 on: August 28, 2014, 02:06:32 PM »
Hello all.
I have three cycles: Claude Frank's (Schnabel student - German born/American b. 1925), Brendel's second complete cycle (of his three), and Frederich Gulda's. I also have some singles by Richter, Gilels, Perahia, Watts, O'Conor and Pollini. Each of the three complete cycles contains several sonatas that are for me 'definitive' (within my small collection). Claude Frank is an inexpensive set and the playing is very strongly convincing, even heroic at times - the man had a concept. I also admire Gulda's spontaniety, Brendel's control and architecture (the Late ones esp). Of the singles, Gilels' Waldstein is magnificent, Richter's Appassionata (!!!), and Perahia's Tempest and Der Abschied. Definitely will be planning to acquire Goode's cycle after reading the many glowing posts, and the Gilels' minus #32 has been on the list for some time.