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Beethoven: Piano Sonatas / Andrew Rangell


Release Date: 01/24/2006 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9181   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Andrew Rangell
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews





This proves a welcome release and, for this listener, a positive first response to the playing of Chicago-born, Juilliard pupil, Andrew Rangell. If the choice of sonatas seems arbitrary and the ordering (not as above) isn?t an ideal concert, there is much to enjoy.


Rangell, his biography in the booklet advising this, had a derailed period in his career (resumed in 1998) due to a ?serious hand injury.? He has, though, built up an enterprising catalog of recordings (Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Ravel for Dorian, and Bach, Schubert, and an intriguing mix of composers under the title of ?Peruvian Honeymoon??including Haydn, Valen, and Read more Stravinsky?for Bridge). For this Beethoven CD, typically or not, Rangell is his own producer, and noticeably well engineered by Thomas Stephenson (with the proviso that the Hamburg Steinway, model D, is forwardly placed and somewhat wiry in timbre) and begins with a shapely account of the first of the op. 14 sonatas. This is lucid and dynamic playing, and Rangell?s hands are well balanced in a contrapuntally revealing way (that Rangell?s discography includes Bach?s Goldbergs and partitas is easy to appreciate) and with an expressive impetus that holds thrall. Rangell?s incisive style, one modulated enough to sustain long spans, brings forth an atmospheric and dramatic ?Tempest? that is lively and intense, the mysterious arpeggio a potent motto, and with a finale that is ideally paced (measured) to give the desired spinning wheel effect.


The gem that is op. 78 is also thoughtful in phrasing and in finding meaningful space between the notes; there?s something attractively exploratory about Rangell?s exposition, if sometimes slightly too pointed and, as the second movement finale demonstrates, he is also a little too keen on displaying contrasts and tempo fluctuations. Yet, in both op. 14 sonatas, Rangell resists such temptations and in the second of the works, he returns to the irrepressible poise that impressed at the CD?s outset.


Disappointingly, however, op. 90?s opening movement begins rather portentously and Rangell?s elastic shaping seems too improvised; while in the Schubertian theme that opens the second and last movement Rangell?s sticky phrasing works against the music?s simplicity.


Overall, though, worth hearing for Rangell?s considered and well-executed view of this endlessly fascinating music.


FANFARE: Colin Anderson
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Piano no 10 in G major, Op. 14 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Andrew Rangell (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2004 
Venue:  Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 15 Minutes 50 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Andrew Rangell (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2004 
Venue:  Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 24 Minutes 16 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Piano no 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Andrew Rangell (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2004 
Venue:  Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 11 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4. Sonata for Piano no 9 in E major, Op. 14 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Andrew Rangell (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2004 
Venue:  Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 11 Minutes 16 Secs. 
5. Sonata for Piano no 27 in E minor, Op. 90 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Andrew Rangell (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/2004 
Venue:  Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts 
Length: 16 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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