25 Essential Beethoven Recordings: Late Piano Sonatas

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mitsuko Uchida made her name in the 1980s with celebrated sets of Mozart's piano sonatas and concertos, followed by Schubert's sonatas. She came to Beethoven's sonatas much later in her career, and got started with the last three sonatas, Op. 109-111.

Known as a thoughtful and probing artist, she shows a strong grasp of these sonatas' intellectual and structural underpinnings. But if you think of Uchida as a bit too fastidious an artist for these wild, volcanic works, you might be surprised by this album. She also imbues the works with poetry: Op. 109 opens with a lovely ebb and flow, and Op. 111 ends in otherworldly magic.

The liner notes for the collection contain her essay about the relationship between the last three sonatas, in which she speculates that they might have been written as one entity, concluding, "but when you perform them in one sweep something extraordinary and mysterious happens to the music. Together they represent a long journey. Ending in silence."

The set was recorded at Snape Maltings, the former brewery that's the main concert venue of England's Aldeburgh Festival.

Piano Sonatas Op. 109, 110 and 111
Mitsuko Uchida
Available at Arkivmusic.com


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Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Beethoven's symphonies, opera, concertos, sonatas, string quartets, overtures, chamber music generally ,and song literature, is so pervasive and his world consciousness and basic humanity construct an icon unparalleled to and past his own era. At Juilliard, I studied his oeuvre and , in those days, all singers learned the concert rep of Beethoven , Schubert , Schumann, Wolf and Grieg, whether they would be opera singers or concert singers . So much of our treasured masterpiece, vocal and instrumental, are unknown quantities to most Americans. THANK YOU WQXR FOR CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN !!! Beethoven's symphonies are the ABCs of most essential single composers' oeuvre of the symphonic literature. Who ever having heard the Waldstein well performed can ever forget its beauty and nuanced scope of emotions. Wagner and his contemporaries and their successors all recognized the epic achievement of Beethoven. I am a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute at 418A Main Street, Boonton, NJ . I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I sang the Gott ! welch dunkel hier ! aria of Fidelio. it can be heard from the live performance on my three websites, one of which is www.WagnerOpera.com It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. Rudolf Serkin and his son, Peter are among those other great interpreters of Beethoven's piano concertos and sonatas, Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Walter Gieseking, ignace Paderewvski and Simon Barere, remarkable for their virtuosity, and immense ability to interpret from their own perspective. The Beethoven violin concerto is celebrated by its ardent interpreters Heifetz, Menuhin, Perlman, I

Nov. 23 2012 06:55 PM

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About Beethoven Awareness Month

No composer impacted the course of Western music like Ludwig van Beethoven. The events of his life are the stuff of Romantic legend, his works permeate concert halls and he remains a cultural icon outside of classical music, turning up in movies, TV soundtracks, commercials and pop songs. Throughout November, WQXR celebrates Beethoven's work through concert broadcasts, multimedia projects, marathons and other features.