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I heard the second movement of this recording of op.111 in the car on BBC radio 3. Mesmerising. It reminded me why I love Beethoven. I didn't want to do anything but sit there enthralled. Not good when driving. I went home and listened again to recordings of op.111 from my own collection (Vogel and Brendel) and then more on youtube (Barenboim, Kempff). I liked all of them, especially the Barenboim. I read the reviews here and decided to give the complete set by Brautigam a try (having failed to explain to wife why I needed more versions). I am so pleased I did. These are stunning game-changing recordings. I could listen to them all day. I can't really explain why, I am no expert. The use of period-like instruments helps, I think. The occasional tinniness of the instruments seems to match the music and the rhythms and sonorities of the early 19th century better, and one gets a better sense and empathy for what it's like to be being in Beethoven's head as he plays these pieces himself. A joy.
Got these after being blown away by the op101,109,110,111 disk, unable to resist the prospect of hearing the Hammerklavier on the sort of instrument it was written for. It is magical listening to this thinking that the piano sound - balance/colourful bass/short-lived but penetrating treble - is something like the sound Beethoven would have heard. Haven't listened to many yet, but it seems these are actually rather "straightforward" performances. That is not meant disparagingly, but simply to indicate that Brautigam doesn't impose a view on the music, but rather plays the notes (and everything else) properly, which I suspect lets Beethoven come through all the clearer. I wouldn't be without Brendel, Kempff, Ashkenazy, Lewis and many others (you can fill in your own favourites) but now I wouldn't be without this....
Automatic switching results in no ambience in advance of the start, and the "atack" of rthe first note of a piece being incomplete. This spils the whole CD, as one is listening for it agaoin. (This also ruined a transcription to CD of some of Alfred Brendel's earlier recordings). It can be avoided. What I assume to be automated volune control means that the volums is all over the place, somertimes starting with a crash and then descending almost to the inaudible. Could Do Better.
As I've got older Beethoven's music has become a constant companion. What once seemed overfamiliar is here renewed in all its revolutionary strangeness and beauty, the fortepiano revealed as its most faithful vehicle
... il CD n. 4 (dalla 12 alle 15) ha seri problemi di rumore sia sul layer SACD che su quello CD. Spero che sia il CD anche perché per 11.15 ho ricomprato il CD singolo sperando che quello suoni bene (dovrebbe arrivare tra 6gg). Alla fine l'ho pagato 70Euri, non poco per un cofanetto mid-price,!ma se non ha difetti il fortepiano di Brautigam può anche valerne la pena.
Having been blown away by Brautigam's performances of the last six sonatas, I decided to go for the complete cycle. I have not been disappointed.
The reproduction fortepianos he uses are carefully chosen to match the ones Beethoven would have known at various stages of his career, and I found them utterly convincing. Of course, we can never know what Beethoven's pianos would have sounded like at the time, but it seems reasonable that new instruments built of the same materials would be pretty close.
Even perfect instruments aren't sufficient without the understanding and artistry Brautigam brings to these sonatas. These are now my 'go-to' recordings, though I am happy to have sets by Schnabel and Brendel.