WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for classical.net!

Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Maurizio Pollini


Release Date: 02/24/2015 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 002235002  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
Number of Discs: 8 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Maurizio Pollini’s Beethoven Sonatas cycle has reached completion after nearly 40 years. The Beethoven cycle began in June 1975 with opp. 109 and 110, and reached completion this year with the final CD, of the three sonatas op. 31 and the two of op. 49. This latter recording will appear as a single CD simultaneously with the box set. This is the first Beethoven cycle on DG since those of Barenboim and Gilels in the 1980s.

-----

To understand why several Beethoven Sonata cycles hit the market every year is to understand how the record industry has changed: from making monuments to making business cards. For a pianist a Beethoven Sonata cycle is the ultimate business card, which is why we see such efforts (and
Read more very fine, too) from Paavali Jumppanen or Mari Kodama or Jonathan Biss or Stewart Goodyear. But one cycle issued last year is still a monument amid business cards: Maurizio Pollini’s. By my Beethoven Sonata Survey, it’s the ninety-sixth complete cycle to come out, but after four decades in the making it has every bit the feel of a classic, like Kempff, Arrau, Backhaus, or Brendel. That’s partly because Pollini is one of the last active titans of the ivories, and partly because the set is anchored around his towering, legendary 1975/77 recording of the last sonatas. His “Hammerklavier” is a pianistic Matterhorn, imposing and awesome. Thomas Mann spent a whole chapter in Dr. Faustus on op.111 — listening to Pollini, I wonder why not an entire book.

There is a sort of unforgiving relentlessness to Pollini that suits late Beethoven particularly well. After having climbed the first movement of Op. 111 with vigor, Pollini is disarmingly lyrical and gentle in the slow movement. His hands just purl off notes in all shapes and forms. Larger clusters of notes are churned out with such precision that every note has the same value, length, and force, making him seem like a sort of mechanical toy with everything falling perfectly in place and giving an otherwise unachievable coherence. But Pollini is much more than the stereotype of the cold, inhumanly perfect technician, and he also shines beyond (or, rather, before) late Beethoven. His ‘Appassionata’ is downright emotive. His interpretations, literally brilliant, go some way in shining light on the less popular, shorter Op. 54, and especially Op. 90, which is elevated to unusual grandeur. The tension Pollini builds in the growling, looming approach of the op.10/3 Largo shows that he has plenty to say in the early works. His ‘Pathétique’ is a crystalline, almost disturbing account. No trace of Haydn, and every note audible. It might send people scurrying to the comfort of softer takes, but Pollini changes your perception of these works for good.

This quality holds up in all of his now-fulfilled cycle. And at less than a year per sonata, there is nothing that sounds rushed or thoughtless; everything is full of finesse, delivered with careful deliberation. Quite the contrast to the “24-hour” cycles of artists like Mélodie Zhao (yea) and HJ Lim (nay). Between silver-fingered and granitic, Pollini’s Beethoven is, if you pardon the petrological pun, something to marble at. Pollini opted for a couple of live takes to be included in this set over his studio recordings (Opp. 26, 53) in which a wee bit of occasional humming adds a touch of Keith Jarrett. Given the magnitude of this set, Deutsche Grammophon might have gone all-out in the presentation; they stopped at “very nice.”

– Jens F. Laurson, Listen Magazine Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 9 in E major, Op. 14 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in D major, Op. 10 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 6 in F major, Op. 10 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 5 in C minor, Op. 10 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795-1797; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 4 in E flat major, Op. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 2 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Sonata for Piano no 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1817-1818; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Sonata for Piano no 28 in A major, Op. 101 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 27 in E minor, Op. 90 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809-1810; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Sonata for Piano no 25 in G major, Op. 79 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Sonata for Piano no 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Sonata for Piano no 22 in F major, Op. 54 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
20.
Sonata for Piano no 20 in G major, Op. 49 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
21.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in A major, Op. 2 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Sonata for Piano no 19 in G minor, Op. 49 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
23.
Sonata for Piano no 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
24.
Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
25.
Sonata for Piano no 16 in G major, Op. 31 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
26.
Sonata for Piano no 15 in D major, Op. 28 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
27.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
28.
Sonata for Piano no 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 no 1 "Quasi una fantasia" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
29.
Sonata for Piano no 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 "Funeral March" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
30.
Sonata for Piano no 11 in B flat major, Op. 22 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
31.
Sonata for Piano no 10 in G major, Op. 14 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
32.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 2 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1795; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  5 Customer Reviews )
 A wonderful surprise! June 22, 2015 By Eulogio G. (Shelton, CT) See All My Reviews "To say that these recordings of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas are amazing is to not give them sufficient credit. I as a classical music collector tend to use boxed sets as introductions to a given entity whether a composer, artist, orchestra, conductor; etc. From that intro if I like the music I begin searching for more refined versions of it. Such were my expectations when I began playing the set. I was totally blown away. The music was beautiful. The recording is crisp and Mr. Pollini's playing is absolutely scary. If it doesn't raise the hair on the back of your head what can I say. I recommend this set with all my musical heart. I know I will never need another version of the Piano Sonatas. I am sure that anyone that listens to these versions will feel the same. Take the chance. You will be glad you did." Report Abuse
 Pollini April 29, 2015 By Wallace C. (Sydney, New South Wales) See All My Reviews "Excellent interpretation from a master of the keyboard. I am a fan of Pollini,have been for many years,he does not disappoint in these CDs." Report Abuse
 Timeless treasures spotlessly preserved April 21, 2015 By M.J.C. B. (Groningen, Groningen) See All My Reviews "This copious set o of cd's, meant as a present for a friend, did its work above all expectations. We all are very happy with this beatiful release and also with the careful wrapping, the speedy delivery and on top of it: the attractive price. Thank you very much! Best regards, M.J.C. Bijl" Report Abuse
Review This Title