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Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas Vol 3 / David Allen Wehr


Release Date: 02/13/2007 
Label:  Connoisseur Society   Catalog #: 4263   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I like my Beethoven piano sonatas fresh and cool, and David Allen Wehr is fully in that mold. Although the name may not be familiar to you, Mr. Wehr is a stupendous pianist. His technique, aside from his interpretive style, is only comparable to Murray Perahia. One can forget the music and simply listen to the incredible beauty and precision of the notes he plays; it’s enough to make a piano teacher sob from pure joy. One ought to note that these Beethoven sonatas were recorded in a remarkably few hours in the studio; Mr. Wehr really sounds that good, he doesn’t need fifty takes and 100 hours of editing to come out on top. Wehr is the pianist Glenn Gould should have been, the pianist he thought he was.

The sound on this
Read more recording — 96kHz digital recording with Sony Super Bit Map mastering — is a thin hair away from an SACD in clarity and definition. Added to the magical skill of E. Alan Silver, one of the truly legendary great recording producers of our time, this is a recording to cherish purely for the sound. You will never come a lot closer to actually sitting next to a piano. Connoisseur Society recordings have been setting a critical standard for many decades, and it is exciting to see new recordings from them with all of the traditional quality, but also using the latest advances.

The early sonatas Mr. Wehr plays with a classical directness and transparency. It is only with Op. 57 that he begins to flail and shriek with the best of them, while never losing his control and clarity. While no pianist is or ever will be directly comparable to Wilhelm Kempff — and the tragedy for us is that Kempff needed an audience to really play to his limit, that is, his studio recordings never quite measured up — Wehr has certain qualities of technique and style in common with the great German master. Of course Kempff was a profoundly mystical man and had the genius of conveying that sense to us. Wehr does not convey mysticism, but solid musicianship, drama, and poetry. It is certainly telling that the only other recording by Wehr in my collection is the music of the “American Ravel,” impressionist Charles Tomlinson Griffes. He brings the same precision, grace and clarity to his Beethoven, something Beethoven surely needs and doesn’t often get.

The later sonatas in this set do not really tell us — nothing could — just how Mr. Wehr will play the very last sonatas, the ones Leschititsky advised his students never to play. Beethoven was mad when he wrote them and a pianist who tries to remain sane while playing them just may not make it — either he won’t bring them off, or he won’t be able to come back afterwards. The Waldstein Sonata, Op. 53, exactly halfway to the Hammerklavier, utilizes a few of the stylistic devices Beethoven will later amplify and use in the construction of his last works, and Mr. Wehr here plays this sonata exactly as he should, in view only of what has come before, not, as most pianists do, with full knowledge of what came after. Hence this is a rather tame Waldstein in comparison, but a beautiful and poetic Waldstein nonetheless.

-- Paul Shoemaker, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Piano no 16 in G major, Op. 31 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New Yo 
Length: 22 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New York (07/13/2004 - 07/14/2004) 
2. Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New Yo 
Length: 22 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New York (07/13/2004 - 07/14/2004) 
3. Sonata for Piano no 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New Yo 
Length: 21 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New York (07/13/2004 - 07/14/2004) 
4. Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New Yo 
Length: 25 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New York (07/13/2004 - 07/14/2004) 
5. Sonata for Piano no 22 in F major, Op. 54 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/22/2003 
Venue:  Music Hall, Tarrytown, New York 
Length: 12 Minutes 58 Secs. 
6. Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/22/2003 
Venue:  Music Hall, Tarrytown, New York 
Length: 24 Minutes 40 Secs. 
7. Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809-1810; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/23/2003 
Venue:  Music Hall, Tarrytown, New York 
Length: 16 Minutes 21 Secs. 
8. Sonata for Piano no 27 in E minor, Op. 90 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  David Allen Wehr (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New Yo 
Length: 13 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: First Presbyterian Church, Utica, New York (07/13/2004 - 07/14/2004) 

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