Notes and Editorial Reviews
We live in an age of great Beethoven piano playing, even if not of great orchestral interpretation. One series of records or discs after another has emerged of the highest quality, so that we can gain extremely varied perspectives on the same works, quite a few of them equally valid. Even so, I doubt whether I shall ever be as impressed by any future performances as I have been by the ones on the first two (Bridge 9198 and 9201) of a planned complete cycle by the American Garrick Ohlsson. His career is something of a mystery: having won the Chopin competition in Warsaw in 1970, and established himself as a great Chopin interpreter, he has never made nearly as big a reputation in the UK as he should have done, though I heard wonderful
concerts from him in the 1970s here. Now, with the superb sound engineering of Bridge, we can hear him in six of the 32 sonatas, the most familiar ones so far avoided, but all these as fresh and compelling as I have ever heard them. Ohlsson commands a huge variety of tones, pays immense attention to detail, but contrives to be spontaneous and to keep each whole work always in view. The last work on the second disc is Op. 111, the last sonata of all, and given here as great a reading as I have ever heard – and as great as Ohlsson’s teacher, Claudio Arrau, gave it. I can’t give it any higher praise than that. Yet in some ways I was even more impressed by the sheer stature he finds, without going in for inflationary measures, in the ‘little’ Sonata in F sharp minor, Op. 78. Lasting only ten minutes, the effect it has is out of all proportion to that.
-- BBC Music Magazine
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title