Review by Beethovenfan August 16, 2010 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
|I am extremely in love with the last piano sonatas since I first heard Paul Komen playing them on a 1830 Conrad Graf instrument. And although none of the recordings gives me complete satisfaction I am very happy to have in my collection the CD's from Badura-Skoda, Komen, Ney, Demus, Binns and Serkin.
So it was with some childlike agitation and fear that I put this SACD in my player, assuring myself not to be disturbed for two hours. Brautigam had created himself very high expactations just by the way he played the previous 7 volumes. And I feared that my own expactations again would leave me with some unfulfilled mixed emotions.
Brautigam did not prepare us to this SACD. After listening in one rush I realised that I just heard these sonatas realy for the first time. Brautigam surpasses every possible expactation.
"BBC-Music" helps me to find words to picture the world Brautigam offers to us with this SACD. I do not agree with their comments on opus 111 (but I still love "BBC-Music" !). When they have troubles with Brautigam playing the second movement too fast I had the experience that for the first time a pianist shows us that Beethoven did write this for piano. Whereas all other players try to emphasize on the spiritual world of this sonata, Brautigam just gives the piano all the honours to be the only and adequate medium to bring this sonata to life. Whereas all the others try to escape the instrument in that famous passage where Beethoven goes to the far right-handed keys, or even don't know what to do with it, Brautigam just shows us how beautiful this can be played on a piano (Komen is the only one who comes near) and the "hectic activity" might disturb some, I was thrilled. And absolutely satisfied.
The same goes for the other sonatas.
Over the 8 volumes we learned that our fixed idees about Beethoven definitively do need some refreshment.
About the instrument : I had the privilege to be able to touch some McNulty instruments in Brugge last week and to hear Viviana Sofronitsky demonstrate a Walter and a Stein copy. I heard Brautigam with this instrument live in Gent. The McNulty instruments have an extremely high level of historical credibility, both the technical and the musical aspects are pure luxury.
And the SACD-sound places all this live in your room ! This is an absolute top-SACD !
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