Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ludwig van Beethoven - Complete 32 Piano Sonatas

Volume I

Piano Sonatas 1-3, 16 tracks


Volume II

Piano Sonatas 4-6, 10 tracks


Volume III

Piano Sonatas 7-10, 13 tracks


Volume IV

Piano Sonatas 11-14, 15 tracks


Volume V

Piano Sonatas 15-17, 10 tracks


Volume VI

Piano Sonatas 18-22, 13 tracks


Volume VII

Piano Sonatas 23-27, 12 tracks


Volume VIII

Piano Sonatas 28-29, 7 tracks


Volume IX

Piano Sonatas 30-32, 9 tracks


Maria Grinberg's legendary recordings of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, recorded between 1964-1967, were the first done by a Russian pianist. Click here for scans of the inserts.

"We encountered a protean outstanding interpreter of Beethoven's sonatas, Maria Grinberg (USSR). The great art of this pianist is happily combined with penetrative spirituality and mature realization of form. Her rendering of music is clear, transparent, full of passionate temper and virile force, but sometimes it is tender, lyrical, contemplative, evoking moods, which touch hearts of the audience."
- Alfred Tipe, Dresden, 1963

As we all know, Ludwig van Beethoven was a titanic composer of Romantic music and a pioneer in the expansion of the piano's potential sound. The liner notes found in the set (written by Samuel Feinberg) provide more information:

"In piano works of Beethoven, first of all, in his remarkable cycle of 32 piano sonatas, there is something important, central for his whole legacy. They are linked to all his other musical compositions in many different ways. A multi-part sonata formm, which has been designed for implementation of dramatic contents, with its manifold powerful devices fit to development of contrasting themes, became for Beethoven a main area for realization of his artistic concepts. Besides piano, violin and cello sonatas the composer wrote in this form all his symphonies, quartets, trios, all his concertos, in a word, almost all of his best output."

I have never really liked Beethoven, just out of personal preference, but these sonatas are enough to really sweep you away. I believe Maria Grinberg does a fine job, although her sound can get a little heavy at times... Being obsessed with the Soviet Union I just find it interesting to listen to the music of one of the most famous composers ever interpreted by a classically trained Soviet pianist (and a WOMAN, omg).


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