Review by Beethovenfan September 21, 2011 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
|This "Complete Bagatelles" is very complete. We get the 3 sets op 33, op 119 and op 126, some odd bagatelles (Bagatelle in C major, Hess 73, Bagatelle in E flat major, Hess 74, Bagatelle in C major, WoO 54, 'Lustig-Traurig', Bagatelle in C major, WoO56, Bagatelle in C minor, WoO52, Bagatelle in C major, Hess 57) and some odd pieces, a priori not called bagatelles (Allegretto in C minor Hess 69, Allegretto in C minor,WoO 53, Andante in C major, Piano Pieces (4), WoO 59-61a).
Brautigam uses two pianofortes, a 1805 Walter & Sohn copy and a 1819 Conrad graf copy, both, as usual, by Paul McNulty.
I have the 3 sets played by Tan and Nicholson, op 33 extra by Valentin, op 119 extra by Trudelies Leonhardt and op 126 by Carlin, Cooper, Demus, Komen, T. Leonhardt, all of them played on fortepianos. I like all of them for they are played in a very musical way with much love for the “miniature” Beethoven and much love for the period sounds (only Cooper’s SACD leaves me with some reservation…).
But none of these CD’s comes near Brautigam’s.
What strikes me now for the tenth time (SACD nr 10 …) is how Brautigam in contrast with the other players uses the instruments as perfect and modern medium to present the music as timeless and in such a way as modern pieces. In Brautigams hands literally every Beethoven composition gets all the required attention and is offered in the most convincing way. No piece is just a little piece, incidently written by a master. When I use the words modern and timeless, I mean that these pieces were surely modern in the 19th century and still are in 2011.
Brautigam gets these results by vivid accents, using all the colours of the instruments, correct tempos, just by loving the music and the instruments. He offers the instruments not as “period” instruments but as modern, perfect, beautyfull pianos. He never looks for those colours somewhere in the keyboard and the hammers and strings to show the specific "old" accents, no, he offers much more by presenting the instruments as mighty perfect blend of colours, again, modern in 1805 and 1819 and in 2011.
I have praised the instruments by McNulty before, I just want to add that the eveness of the soundcolour is striking.
The sound of the SACD ? As previous 9 SACD’s : so perfect !
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