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Hi, I'd love to some opinions on the best interpretation of the complete LVB piano sonatas. I have Richard Goode's and am very pleased, but wondered specifically about Arrau, Brendel and Barenboim's interpretations, to name a few. But I am welcome to any other suggestions. Thanks.


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Try Ashkenazy's. Some of his greatest playing, imho. You might like it even if you aren't a huge fan of his.

And at $30, we're talking like 95 cents per sonata!

But seriously-you should check it out. It's a great set.

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Brendel's first Philips cycle is very good. But I love Kovacevich's cycle (EMI) even more -- it's very vividly played.


Die Krebs gehn zurucke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.
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This has been touched upon for several times right here. Do a search and see the prefered sets out there.

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Originally posted by AndrewG:
This has been touched upon for several times right here. Do a search and see the prefered sets out there.
Thanks, I did finally find some posts that were a few years old, and very helpful. I've narrowed it down to Arrau, (I have Goode), maybe Brendel. I love Ashkenazy (excuse spelling) and Barenboim as well but not sure about their LVB sonatas.


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Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
Brendel's first Philips cycle is very good. But I love Kovacevich's cycle (EMI) even more -- it's very vividly played.
Kovacevich sounds intriguing.


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"Barenboim on Beethoven" DVD set is wonderful----All 32 sonatas recorded in 8 concerts from Berlin.

Goode

Ashkenazy

Mat D.

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Has anyone heard 20-year-old Adam Golka's set?

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Originally posted by Mat D.:
"Barenboim on Beethoven" DVD set is wonderful----All 32 sonatas recorded in 8 concerts from Berlin.

Goode

Ashkenazy

Mat D.
Hi, Mat, I think we have similar taste. The Barenboim is quite pricey, so I thought maybe I'd request that at Christmas. But I am really favoring Goode. I listened to Arrau sound clips and my former teacher LOVES Arrau. I did like what I heard. Have you heard the Arrau edition?


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Originally posted by Mr_Kitty:
Has anyone heard 20-year-old Adam Golka's set?
No, any comments, assuming you have?


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Originally posted by Irenev:
Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
[b] "Barenboim on Beethoven" DVD set is wonderful----All 32 sonatas recorded in 8 concerts from Berlin.

Goode

Ashkenazy

Mat D.
Hi, Mat, I think we have similar taste. The Barenboim is quite pricey, so I thought maybe I'd request that at Christmas. But I am really favoring Goode. I listened to Arrau sound clips and my former teacher LOVES Arrau. I did like what I heard. Have you heard the Arrau edition? [/b]
Irenev....I have some of the Arrau....not my personal favorite...it seems there is some 'fire' missing...the interpretations seem rather dry IMO.

The Goode is excellent and beautifully recorded...Ashkenazy is also wonderful (supreme technical ability....listen to the Hammerklavier!!!!)

The earlier audio recordings by Bareboim are reat also.

Check this out Berenboim Live..LVB sonata #28

Mat D.

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Originally posted by Irenev:
Hi, I'd love to some opinions on the best interpretation of the complete LVB piano sonatas. I have Richard Goode's and am very pleased, but wondered specifically about Arrau, Brendel and Barenboim's interpretations, to name a few. But I am welcome to any other suggestions. Thanks.
I like the Gulda set a lot. That's the one originally on Amadeo LPs now reissued on Eloquence or Brilliant, both at bargain prices, but you also get the concertos with the Eloquence set.

Everybody needs to hear the Schnabel, even if it wouldn't be my first choice. Also, the early Brendel on Vox is worth investigating.

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As AndrewG posted, there have been many threads on this subject before. Yet with the Beethoven sonatas, a new thread never hurts: we'll never exhaust the possibilities.

I can't claim to have listened to the many cycles available; in addition to those I own (very few), most of my experience is from hearing excerpts on the radio. One or two sonatas at least give an idea of what that particular pianist's point of view is.

When you hear, say, the Op. 27#2, it's not difficult to imagine what this pianist will do with the nearby sonatas. Similarly, a broadcast of the Op. 53 will give a fair clue to what their Op. 54, 57 or 81a will sound like... and so on.

Overall (IMHO), Richard Goode is the benchmark... and this has been confirmed here. If I only had to choose one cycle...

Schnabel is always important as a reference point... as is his edition of the sonatas. Kempff's finely chiseled Beethoven is very admired in some circles, but to me he is often hopelessly prissy, sort of the way Mozart was viewed before the Germans cross-pollinated and the rest of the West figured out what Mozart was up to. Arrau always gets bogged down with his insistent magisterial approach. Ultimately -emperor's clothes here- it's all rather a bore. He plays the Op. 2#1 the same way he plays the Op. 111; he doesn't see any difference between them.

I first discovered -and fell in love with- Martha Argerich as a young teen. Subsequently finding out that the teacher she most admired was Friedrich Gulda, I ordered two of his jazz CDs from Germany.

They did not disappoint. Incredible playing. But imagine my surprise when I found out that Gulda had recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas! Alas, the CD set was too expensive... so it was a few years before I was able to sample them via a friend.

Funnily, I still haven't been able to enter this set into my collection. It's availability is always "in and out". But memories are strong: Gulda's Op. 110 was a revelation, but most of all his Op. 27#1. He is the only pianist I have heard to take the arpeggios in the "Allegro molto e vivace" all the way down to the low C.

Of course Beethoven didn't have that low C until later on - he uses it in the Op. 111- but isn't it obvious Beethoven would have made use of it had it been available to him? After Gulda, every other recording -always respecting the printed note- just sounds frustrating. And I played it after Gulda's example... even after arguments with my teacher.


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Originally posted by argerichfan:
As AndrewG posted, there have been many threads on this subject before. Yet with the Beethoven sonatas, a new thread never hurts: we'll never exhaust the possibilities.

I can't claim to have listened to the many cycles available; in addition to those I own (very few), most of my experience is from hearing excerpts on the radio. One or two sonatas at least give an idea of what that particular pianist's point of view is.


They did not disappoint. Incredible playing. (With hindsight I hear the best moments of Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock.) But imagine my surprise when I found out that Gulda had recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas! Alas, the CD set was too expensive... so it was a few years before I was able to sample them via a friend.

Thanks so much for the very informative response. You are right, I'm sure each of these similar threads invites different viewpoints from different individuals. I am very intrigued by Gulda and will try to find sound clips of his playing.

I totally agree with you regarding making decisions based on recordings heard on the radio, tv, etc. That is how I have increased my library of favorite artists today. If a particular artist touches me, due to their expressive interpretation, then that is the edition I should purchase (for starters at least!) Right now, it is Goode. I was fortunate to see Goode perform the last sonatas of Beethoven. I also saw John O'Connor, who I thought played beautifully. I saw Ashkenazy, who if I recall, played superbly, technically, but I do not recall that his expressiveness was particularly striking. But that was long ago, when I was a much less educated LVB "fan." Again, thanks for the info.


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Originally posted by Mat D.:
The Goode is excellent and beautifully recorded...Ashkenazy is also wonderful (supreme technical ability....listen to the Hammerklavier!!!!)

The earlier audio recordings by Bareboim are reat also.

Check this out Berenboim Live..LVB sonata #28

Mat D. [/QB]
Mat, thanks, you just saved me $70! I was just about to order Arrau, but was hesitant. I will check the link out today--it's snowing like crazy here and I am homebound. What a great day!


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Richard Goode is probably the best set to start with, and really the only reason why I say that is to be irritating by stating the bleeding obvious....as has been said multiple times already.

I actually got my set of Goode's Beethoven for half price on Amazon, which at the time meant $45 and, naturally, was an extremely good deal. I also highly recommend Brendel's sets, though I think general opinion tends to be that his earliest one is the best overall. Two of my own personal favorites (everyone has a few) are Annie Fischer (strongly recommend all of her recordings) and John O'Conor, who plays with what I feel is a rare intimacy that is often overshadowed in Beethoven playing, although admittedly it is not always the best approach.

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Originally posted by Goldberg:
Richard Goode is probably the best set to start with, and really the only reason why I say that is to be irritating by stating the bleeding obvious....as has been said multiple times already.

I actually got my set of Goode's Beethoven for half price on Amazon, which at the time meant $45 and, naturally, was an extremely good deal. I also highly recommend Brendel's sets, though I think general opinion tends to be that his earliest one is the best overall. Two of my own personal favorites (everyone has a few) are Annie Fischer (strongly recommend all of her recordings) and John O'Conor, who plays with what I feel is a rare intimacy that is often overshadowed in Beethoven playing, although admittedly it is not always the best approach.
Wow, I guess I need to keep searching for a bargain because I have not seen Goode for under $90. As I said, I have Goode on tapes, but really wanted something as "good" but from a different artist. I did love O'Conor's performance which I had to pleasure to attend of LVB sonatas, and also do really enjoy Brendel's playing of the sonatas I've heard on the radio. Thanks for the input.


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It's interesting to see/hear the differences between recordings and live performances. I don't disagree with the comments about Arrau's recording, but one of my most vivid live experiences was hearing Arrau play a Beethoven Sonata recital in Ottawa shortly before he died. After starting with one of the early sonatas he proceeded to Les Adieux, the Waldstein, then the Appassionata. Still sends shivers up my spine thinking about this concert

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Originally posted by Goldberg:
...and John O'Conor, who plays with what I feel is a rare intimacy that is often overshadowed in Beethoven playing, although admittedly it is not always the best approach.
That's very interesting. O'Conor's Telarc set is in glorious sound -would that Gulda had the same luxury- but I've always felt that his playing is delightfully neat and tidy, but quite under-characterized. Also a bit rhythmically unstable: check the 2nd movement of the Op. 54 for a particularly glaring example.

O'Conor must have been playing too much John Field. Not that playing Field is a bad thing: now we know for certain that his piano concertos are truly ho-hum. wink

After the utter visceral excitement of Hummel's concertos (hear, hear... we're not even yet to Chopin), Field comes across as a 20 watt lightbulb. And I'll leave it to others to praise his proto-Chopin nocturnes.


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Unlike sets from Goode, Brendel, Arrau, Kempff, Kuerti, Roberts, et al, I have yet to tire of Annie Fischer's. This is my first recommendation, with Schnabel a mandatory second. Yes, Fischer's is expensive, but if you only want to buy one set, and not keep shopping, it's a steal-of-a-deal. This is the first music I loaded into my macbook, so I could listen out here on the ship, where I am now, somewhere north of Taiwan.

Cheers,

Craig


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