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Reviews: Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Opp. 109, 110 & 111 - Elisabeth Leonskaja

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Reviews: 2

Review by Fugue July 13, 2010 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Well, this is a huge disappointment. While it's great to have all three late Sonatas on SACD, I'm afraid this recording is a mere stopgap until something better comes along. She hits all the notes and shows some poetry here and there, but overall these are not heaven-storming or deeply spiritual performances. The clangy/clattery sound certainly doesn't help. It sounds OK and fairly clear via headphones, but through my stereo the recording has a very unpleasant hollowness. Sonically and artistically, Leonskaja's Op.111 doesn't begin to compare with Tor Espen Aspaas' 2L release. It's not unlistenable, but I'm sure a better one will come along.

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Review by JJ September 14, 2010 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Beethoven’s piano music is immense, as we all know, and it is precisely that infinite dimension that makes all forms of musical, philosophic and human reflection on it indispensable. The pianist Wilhelm Kempff, if ever there were a great Beethovian, said about the piano sonatas: “Beethoven must be experienced. Experience him, and your listeners will experience him too. Beethoven makes incalculable demands on the dexterity of the pianist. He requires feats of the hand that only years of effort can accomplish. And what is strange is that in each of these great sonatas new technical problems arise that hadn’t been resolved until then… Once your technical toolbox is ready, only then can you go full forward in Beethoven’s universe. Then again, since his world is big, one cannot conquer it in a day.” Elisabeth Leonskaja gives the last three sonatas (Op.109, 110, 111) an interiority that is both rare and profound. A thought, question, doubt, certitude rise around one or another phrase, and then all becomes human beyond possible. Here is real infinite wealth contained in supreme art.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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