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Label:
  BIS - http://www.bis.se/
Serial:
  BIS-SACD-1572
Title:
  Beethoven: Complete Piano Works Vol. 5 - Brautigam
Description:
  Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major Op. 31 No. 1, Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor Op. 31 No. 2 "Tempest", Piano Sonata No. 18 in E flat Op. 31 No. 3

Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)
Track listing:
 
Genre:
  Classical - Instrumental
Content:
  Stereo/Multichannel
Media:
  Hybrid
Recording type:
  PCM
Recording info:
 

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Reviews: 1
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Site review by Polly Nomial October 6, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:  
A wonderful disc that keeps the exalted standard of this series flying high.

Chronologically the last group of sonatas to be published under the same Opus number - the juvenile pair Op49 were published "out of order" - this is a natural combination that contains some of the most varied piano music that Beethoven wrote and Ronald Brautigam is fully up to the Herculean task of one of Beethoven's many peaks in the repertoire. The dexterity and clarity of articulation in the opening of Op31/1 or the finale of Op31/3 is just dazzling!

Just as he has done earlier in the cycle, Brautigam makes very sensitive use of both pedals so that textures have the ideal blend of strength, clarity and, when required, tenderness. This is particularly evident at moments of sudden drops in the dynamic markings (a common feature to all three works). One thing that becomes ever clearer as the cycle progresses is that, although a fortepiano is used, this is no homage to HIP in its purest form. Brautigam makes many expressive points that are not specified in the score but like others before him have found to make a great musical effect - this is a wonderful juxtaposition of head and heart that is all too rarely heard.

Just as he brings out the apparent innocence in the G major sonata, the unbridled energy of the E flat major sonata, Brautigam also creates real tension and drama in the D minor "Tempest" sonata. In one of the most famous of all sonatas, Brautigam unleashes a furious storm that would sound quite outsize on a modern piano but the more restrained forces of his fortepiano allow the quasi-tremolando figurations to be registered as a convincing torrent of sound. But virtuosity is not Brautigam's only talent - the eloquence that he brings to the Adagio is very touching and illustrates in a microcosm how varied the compositions are on this disc.

The disc was recorded in Österåker Church, Sweden and like others in the series BIS and Brautigam have used the acoustic as part of the interpretative process. The resonance smooths most sympathetically the percussive nature of the fortepiano making the patina of sound richer, yet at no point is any of the clarity of articulation blurred, although I would have preferred a slightly more neutral response from the acoustic if being completely honest.

Enthusiastically recommended and I look forward to Beethoven: Complete Piano Works Vol. 6 - Brautigam dropping through my letter box any day now!

(Purchased)

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and SA-CD.net

 
Works: 3  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31 No. 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 "Tempest"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 "The Hunt"