Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:


Sonatas Op. 10/2; 13; 27/2 & 53
Valentina Kamenikova (piano)
Panton 81 9026-2 111 [72 mins]

I was pleased to spot this one in the Supraphon/Panton release list, because a 1972 recording by this pianist of two Mozart sonatas is one of my most treasured LPs. It fulfilled my expectations completely, with a marvellously alert and knowing interpretation of one of Beethoven's funniest works. There is real humour here, enough to bring more than a mere smile, in his early F major sonata with its rhythmic dislocations in the first movement, F minor/Db major Allegretto and bustling finale. Kamenikova (1930-89) misses nothing and her perfectly schooled fingers are always ready at the service of an original musical intelligence. Moscow trained, is noteworthy that she became a revered teacher in Prague, where her pupils included Ivan Klansky, the delightfully individual pianist of the Guaneri Prague Trio (S&H review, May 2000) favourite regular London visitors of mine.

These recordings date from 1984 & 1989 & are just a little variable tonally. The staccato chords of the F major sonata have an odd sound as they decay, but you quickly get quite used to it. There's nothing wrong with the others, which might have been recorded later. These are immediately arresting and gripping performances of the Pathetique, Moonlight & Waldstein sonatas which bear comparison with anyone's; nothing hackneyed or unconsidered here. I have not enjoyed a CD of Beethoven sonatas so much since Richard Goode's complete set ElektraNonesuch 7559-79328-2. At Supraphon's reissue price, no need to hesitate; you will not be disappointed. Valentina Kamenikova recorded more than 50 key items of piano repertoire for Supraphon between 1963 & 1988 - I look forward to hearing many more of them.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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