One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


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

Some items
to consider


16th-19th November


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A, Op. 101 (1816) [22:23]
Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat, Op. 106, 'Hammerklavier' (1817-1818) [46:18]
Mitsuko Uchida (piano)
rec. La Salle de Musique, Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 2007
PHILIPS 4758662 [68:51]

Following my first acquaintance with Uchida’s 2005 account of the last three sonatas (review), I hurried to acquire this subsequent recording.

My MusicWeb International colleague Colin Clarke in his review of this issue expressed reservations similar to those in his previous assessment of Uchida’s 2005 recording of the last sonatas. I can only say that after listening several times, I do not share his concerns but am rather more in awe than ever of her technical proficiency, leonine power and aesthetic sensitivity in both these works. In this regard, I join the ranks of critics such as Michael Tanner and Robert Levine, who respectively declared, “This disc is of a calibre that I count myself lucky to encounter once in a decade” and “This is a superlative achievement.” Far from finding that she lingers or loses intensity, I am swept along by the propulsive momentum of her playing – and the clarity of her articulation is enhanced by the excellence of the recorded sound here, which is beautifully spaced and ideally resonant.

What I most admire about Uchida’s playing is the combination of detail and almost reckless attack when needs be. Dynamic range and gradation are given the most careful attention and her rhythmic sense in the syncopations of the opening of the Hammerklavier is ideal. It is true that she takes a little more time in delineating certain figures than more direct performers such as Pollini but for me that never sounds mannered, but instead considered.

The “Adagio sostenuto” is comparatively leisurely but finds Uchida at her poetic best, but just when you are admiring the rapt delicacy of her phrasing, she produces passages of extraordinary power, especially in the left hand.

Much of the music in both sonatas is typical of Beethoven’s later œuvre, in that it is difficult and challenging, with abrupt departures and ruptures in the musical argument and peculiarities of structure, but to my ears Uchida makes the strongest possible case for it by imposing an overall concept suggestive of a deep and mature contemplation of the music’s import.

Ralph Moore

Previous review: Colin Clarke

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger