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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 8, 14, 17, 23 / Artur Pizarro


Release Date: 01/01/2004 
Label:  Linn Records   Catalog #: 244   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Artur Pizarro
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Linn’s stunning recording of a particularly warm and expressive Blüthner concert grand immediately proclaims a fascinating start to Artur Pizarro’s new Beethoven cycle. Pizarro’s performance, with occasionally wild and Schumanesque flights of fancy makes the most of his piano’s romantic hues. His playing, as well, has the scent and feel of the 19th century, at least as I imagine it.

There is little of the furrowed brow one usually hears in the Grave introduction to the “Pathétique,” the earliest of the four sonatas recorded by the young Portuguese pianist. The 32nd-note pickups are played softly rather than the startling forte that my edition of the score suggests; the contrast with the Allegro di molto couldn’t
Read more be more startling: Pizarro flies at a tempo that sounds, daringly, at the edge of his considerable technical skills. Pizarro’s playing has an operatic flair here, with the right-hand turns sounding almost Rossinian. His most rapid passagework, as in the Rondo’s triplets has the excitement of brilliant coloratura.

The operatic metaphor continues in a poised bel canto performance of the Adagio cantabile, less pensive than lyrical and never ponderous. The same is true for the opening movement of the “Moonlight” Sonata. Pizarro’s playing of this famous Adagio has a hypnotic effect, created in part by understating Beethoven’s editorial comments that give other performances perhaps more variety. The lovely Allegretto is straightforwardly played, with an artistic simplicity that put me in mind of the best performances of the similar G-Minor Bagatelle from the op. 119 set. The concluding Presto agitato is commanding and turbulent. I was on the edge of my seat.

Pizzaro’s “Tempest,” as in the “Pathétique,” offers strongly contrasted slow-fast sections. The Blüthner’s round and opalescent overtones linger in the air as well as the memory in the richly pedaled largo sections in the middle of the first movement. As in the “Pathétique” and the “Moonlight,” Pizarro gives a straightforward performance of the “Tempest’s” Adagio, but here, the pianist is disappointingly literal. The Allegretto is more a presto in Pizarro’s hands, excitingly so as he manages both elegance and power with astonishing dexterity.

The “Appassionata” is impressive. Pizarro plays the majestic Allegro assai with a potent array of pianistic colors, virtuosity, and powerful contrasts as in the fiery coda. The Andante con moto begins with impressive dignity but Pizarro builds the movement with a gradually increasing emphasis on a restless and urgent con moto.

I’ve been impressed lately with a number of young pianists’ fresh approach to Beethoven. Frank Braley’s performance on a late 19th-century Hamburg Steinway for Harmonia Mundi comes to mind. One of my cardinal beliefs is that recorded music is all about performance: Unlike those who say we have sufficient recordings of the masterworks that comprise the standard repertoire, I would counter that we can’t have enough. Every serious artist in each generation must scale these peaks throughout their artistic lives. Artur Pizarro makes an impressive start on this CD.

-- Michael Fine, FANFARE [7/2003]

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Artur Pizarro (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (10/16/2002 - 10/18/2002) 
2.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Artur Pizarro (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 15 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (10/16/2002 - 10/18/2002) 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Artur Pizarro (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (10/16/2002 - 10/18/2002) 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Artur Pizarro (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Potton Hall, Suffolk, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England (10/16/2002 - 10/18/2002) 

Sound Samples

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, "Pathetique": I. Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, "Pathetique": II. Adagio cantabile
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, "Pathetique": III. Rondo: Allegro
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight": I. Adagio sostenuto
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight": II. Allegretto
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight": III. Presto agitato
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, "Tempest": I. Largo
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, "Tempest": II. Adagio
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, "Tempest": III. Allegretto
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, "Appassionata": I. Allegro assai
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, "Appassionata": II. Andante con moto
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, "Appassionata": III. Allegro ma non troppo - Presto

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