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Label:
  PentaTone Classics - http://www.pentatonemusic.com/
Serial:
  PTC 5186 024
Title:
  Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 21, 23 & 26 - Kodama
Description:
  Beethoven: Piano Sonatas "Waldstein", "Appassionata", "Les adieux"

Mari Kodama (piano)
Track listing:
  1-3. Piano Sonata No. 21 in C, Op. 53 "Waldstein"
4-6. Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
7-9. Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat, Op. 81a "Les adieux"

Total time: 60:49
Genre:
  Classical - Instrumental
Content:
  Stereo/Multichannel
Media:
  Hybrid
Recording type:
  DSD
Recording info:
 

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Reviews: 3

Review by Dalton August 22, 2003 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I mostly agree with the previous reviewer. I generally withhold my opinion on sonics until I've lived with a new SACD for a while. Many times, what sounds excellent on first hearing doesn't hold up to scrutiny after the novelty has worn off. But I've had this SACD for a couple of weeks now and keep coming back to it frequently. The sound quality of this recording is absolutely stunning. This is the best-sounding solo piano recording I have ever heard. In stereo, there's a Steinway in my living room. But in multichannel, you are transported to the concert hall and treated to the sound of this spectacularly well-prepared Steinway concert grand. Attack, timbre, overtones, decay, etc. all sound very convincing to me. We're close enough to hear the sound of the dampers brush off the strings at times, but not too close - a nice balance. No hint of harshness, compression or collapse of the harmonic structure in loud or complex passages as is so common with so many piano recordings (especially on CD). It's hard to believe, without actually hearing it, how much of a difference multichannel recording can make with a solo instrument.

Unfortunately, the sound is only beguiling to the point that you almost forget that you are listening to a pianist who hasn't quite made these works her own. There is a lack of that last spark of interpretive insight that carries the listener past a mere rote performance. Ms. Kodama has technique to burn - you never get the sense that she's tiring or losing her way. That may be part of the problem. I was drawn to the virtuosic display rather than the soul of the music. Sometimes these fine distinctions are hard to put into words. But, for example, although the tempo of the 3rd movement of the "Les adieux" seemed correct, one got a sense not of ecstasy but of hysteria. The "Waldstein" as a whole comes through the best, the nadir is the Andante of the "Appassionata". Still, there is nothing glaringly bad or "wrong" with the performance, and I recommend this SACD. But if only the performance matched the excellence of the recording...

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Review by brenda October 28, 2004 (4 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have to disagree on this recording. I found it too "close" for comfort and would have preferred to listen to an acoustic that sounded more like a concert hall than inside the piano. Also, the interpretations are pretty "so-so" compared to greats like Gilels and Brendel and have nothing new to say. I sold this one after just a few hearings.

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Review by enterprise October 25, 2004 (3 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I've had this SACD for several months and have heard it numerous times. The sound is certainly full bodied and realistic; the piano is set right in front of you and can overwhelm you if the volumn is set high. The piano sound is very different from those that I have heard in other SACD or CDs; is it more realistic? I can't answer that. It all depends on what is the ideal sound at a live concert. The important point is that I like the sound. The playing is very good. The only weakness is the slow movement of the appassionata. The capabilities of SACD is certainly revealed here so there is much more to hope for. I have already ordered Kodama's other Beethoven SACD (her Moonlight, Pathetique and No. 4). I look forward to hearing them. I encourage her to record all the Beethoven's sonatas in SACD! I would buy them all.

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Works: 3  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat, Op. 81a "Les adieux"