Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider



£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág

 



Best Seller


Symphony for solo piano


Chopin Piano Concerto No.1


Schubert Piano sonata


Schubert symphony No. 9


Katherine Watson (Sop)


From Severn to Somme

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 52,619 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat, Op. 110 [20:37]
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 [27:30]
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, Appassionata [26:08]
Claudio Arrau (piano)
rec. 5 April 1960, Swedish Radio Studios, Stockholm
ICA CLASSICS ICAC5122 [74:15]

Claudio Arrau plays against type in these performances: the sensitive keyboard poet shows a penchant for speed, drama, and virtuoso flair. He was a spry young 57; three years later he performed his only complete, surviving [live] account of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit.
 
The first movement of the Sonata No. 32 moves at breakneck speeds and with dizzying power — check out the brisk, clear-cut rhythms of the introduction. The opener to No. 31 has a slow track timing, but that’s deceptive, because Arrau uses some kind of trickery to give the impression of powerful momentum.
 
On the other hand, for all the dramatic power and speedy playing, Arrau excels at the stuff you expect him to do well, too. In No. 31, the adagio and fugue are marvellous long-breathed lines of poetry, not quite as romantic as Gilels (DG) but close. The final sonata’s arietta extends to 18 luxurious minutes, steadily paced but for one strategic hesitation around 11:00. This, most of all, is where you hear a great pianist at the height of his expressive powers.
 
The first two movements of the Appassionata confirm our Arrau stereotype: beautifully sculpted, dramatically powerful, but also lyrical and with a measured pulse - an “architectural” interpretation. Then he goes all-out for the finale, which is as virtuosic as anybody’s. The presto coda runs dangerously — and thrillingly — close to the edge of his formidable technique, although I’m let down by the choice to play the two last chords legato, instead of brutally short.
 
The live, mono sound from 1960 is not exactly ideal, but it’s not bad, either, in fact almost as good as monaural gets. The audience keeps quiet, and there’s little tape noise or hiss. This is a fascinating live document, and in the Sonata No. 32 it becomes transcendent.
 
Brian Reinhart

Masterwork Index: Sonata 23 ~~ Sonatas 31 & 32