Notes and Editorial Reviews
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonatas: Nos. 3, 13, 14 (“Moonlight”); 21 (“Waldstein”); 23 (“Appassionata”); 26, 30, 32 • Claudio Arrau (pn) • EUROARTS 2058708 (2 DVDs: 190:00) Live: Bonn 1970, 1977
"Claudio Arrau, a pianist who seems to defy the idea of change in interpretation, always seemed to have one ideal understanding of the music at hand—unlike a pianist such as Glenn Gould, who never seemed to want to play the music the same way twice. With Beethoven, Arrau always seemed to find a noble and heroic character in the music. To my ears his best interpretations come in big-boned sonatas such as the “Appassionata.” The videos, shot at the Beethovenfest in Bonn, Germany, in two different seasons, around seven years apart, show the
pianist at two different stages in his career. The earlier videos are all in black and white, while the remaining sonatas are all shot in color. Perhaps the vintage sound and look of the earlier sonatas are more appealing to me, but Arrau also seems to be a bit more energetic and lively in the performances from 1970. The “Appassionata” and “Moonlight” sonatas are fiery and dramatic in their finales, appropriately moving in their slow movements, while the wandering variations of op. 109 draw one in because of Arrau’s convincing subtlety. The “Waldstein” and op. 2/3 sonatas are, by comparison, heavier and less suitably sprightly when this kind of playing would suit the music a bit more than the pianist allows here. Op. 111, while being shot in 1977, seems to find Arrau at his best in that year’s recital. In terms of videography, the shots are mostly unobtrusive, though there are moments in the “Appassionata” Sonata especially where less could have been more."
FANFARE: Scott Noriega
Recorded live at the Beethovenfest Bonn, Germany, 1970 and 1977, Audio digitally remastered.
Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: PCM Mono
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 190 mins
No. of DVDs: 2
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