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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Peter Takacs

Beethoven / Takacs
Release Date: 07/26/2011 
Label:  Cambria   Catalog #: 3800   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács
Number of Discs: 11 
Recorded in: Multi 
Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  
SuperAudio CD:  $98.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Unlike other Beethoven piano sonata cycles on the market, the present release is truly complete in that it includes the rarely performed early C major sonata and F major sonatina without opus numbers, the three "Elector" sonatas Wo47, the Andante favori in F (originally intended as the Op. 53 "Waldstein" sonata's slow movement), and the D major Op. 6 sonata for piano duet. More importantly, the Romanian-born/American-raised pianist Peter Takács, who teaches at Oberlin, has lived with, thought about, and performed this repertoire over the course of his long professional life, and his interpretations abound with intelligent virtuosity and insight.

Takács is not a colorist on the level of Arrau
Read more or Kempff, yet his keen attention to voice leading and responsiveness to Beethoven's frequent, sudden dynamic shifts lend textural interest to the performances, as well as reveal the pianist's deep-rooted affinity for the composer's essentially linear style. These qualities especially come home to roost in the three Op. 2 sonatas, which split the difference between Murray Perahia's classical poise and the comparably brasher Pollini and Kovacevich editions.

Flexible lyricism and infectious brio enliven the Op. 7 and Op. 22 sonatas' outer movements, along with the finales to both Op. 14 sonatas and Op. 26. Takács also spins out detached, woodwind-like passages with marvelous character and humor, such as in the Op. 10 No. 2 finale, Op. 28's Andante, and Op. 31 No. 3's Scherzo, while movements based on variation form (Op. 26's opening, the "Appassionata" Andante con moto, the Op. 109 and Op. 111 finales) benefit from assiduously unified tempo relationships. And like Glenn Gould, Takács imbues some of Beethoven's thornier left-hand sequences with remarkable melodic clarity, albeit in a less iconoclastic fashion. Examples of this include the "Les Adieux" sonata's spiraling runs, Op. 27 No. 1's finale, and Op. 110's first movement.

Takács' inspiration particularly takes wing in shorter works. I love the pianist's slightly dry yet spirited energy in Op. 54's moto perpetuo finale, his fluid, almost conversational demeanor in Op. 78's first movement and both Op. 90 movements, plus his disarming, seemingly off-handed way with simpler fare such as the two Op. 49 sonatas and Op. 79.

Oddly enough, I find Takács treading a little too carefully in some of the so-called "name" sonatas: he holds back in the "Moonlight" finale, is too dynamically constricted in the "Waldstein", and gradually slows down as the "Hammerklavier" sonata's all-but-impossible fugue progresses. Furthermore, Takács' rhythmic distensions in the Op. 101 Scherzo dissipate the march rhythm's cumulative momentum. Still, Takács' overall high level of achievement warrants admiration, together with excellent surround-sound engineering that does the pianist's Bösendorfer Imperial Grand full justice.

Cambria's packaging is first class all the way, with all 11 SACDs housed in a sturdy, easy-to-access booklet, a 144-page book featuring Takács' extended, informative essay "The Mind of Beethoven", accompanied by score samples and visual illustrations, plus a fold-out Beethoven timeline organized by biography, music, literature, science, and history. Such production values and artistic integrity are rare in an era where major labels habitually cut corners. Well worth considering.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonatas (3) for Piano, WoO 47 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1783; Bonn, Germany 
2.
Sonata for Piano no 9 in E major, Op. 14 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in D major, Op. 10 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 6 in F major, Op. 10 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 5 in C minor, Op. 10 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795-1797; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Sonata for Piano no 4 in E flat major, Op. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 2 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Sonata for Piano no 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1817-1818; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 28 in A major, Op. 101 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Sonata for Piano no 27 in E minor, Op. 90 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809-1810; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Sonata for Piano no 25 in G major, Op. 79 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Sonata for Piano no 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Sonata for Piano no 22 in F major, Op. 54 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804; Vienna, Austria 
20.
Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
21.
Sonata for Piano no 20 in G major, Op. 49 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in A major, Op. 2 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
23.
Sonata for Piano no 19 in G minor, Op. 49 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797; Vienna, Austria 
24.
Sonata for Piano no 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
25.
Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
26.
Sonata for Piano no 16 in G major, Op. 31 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
27.
Sonata for Piano no 15 in D major, Op. 28 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
28.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
29.
Sonata for Piano no 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 no 1 "Quasi una fantasia" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
30.
Sonata for Piano no 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 "Funeral March" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
31.
Sonata for Piano no 11 in B flat major, Op. 22 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
32.
Sonata for Piano no 10 in G major, Op. 14 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799; Vienna, Austria 
33.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 2 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793-1795; Vienna, Austria 
34.
Sonata for Piano in F major, WoO 50 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1793; Bonn, Germany 
35.
Sonata for Piano in C major, WoO 51 [fragment] by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1797-98; Vienna, Austria 
36.
Andante for Piano in F major, WoO 57 "Andante Favori" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
37.
Sonata for Piano 4 hands in D major, Op. 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Takács (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 

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