WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 21, 23, 26 / Mari Kodama

Release Date: 06/24/2003 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186024   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mari Kodama
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These are beautifully conceived, technically polished renditions of three of Beethoven’s best-known piano sonatas, and beautifully recorded. The playing is lucid and tonally controlled, admirably free of the bombast and banging that some pianists confuse with expressivity. To be honest, I’m not sure what else to say about this recital. Mari Kodama is an Osaka, Japan-born, Paris Conservatoire-trained pianist with loads of chops, and she is utterly respectful to the composer’s directions. If I were hearing this music for the first time, I suppose I would be dazzled (indeed, I still respond to the joyousness of op. 53, when others are jaded). Collectors who treasure recordings of these great pieces by the likes of Schnabel, Arrau, Gilels, Read more Richter, et al, need not apply. Kodama conveys Beethoven’s genius with great skill, but she does not cross over to the magic realm of the aforementioned masters, who draw us into this world with endless insight and supple manipulations of the score. A telling example is the transition from the brief Introduzione, Adagio molto to the grandiloquent closing movement in the “Waldstein.” Our masters express this bridge with poetry invested in every moment, finding the music in between the notes, as Schnabel put it. Kodama just plays the notes. But as I said, she plays them extremely well, and honestly, and PentaTone’s SACD recording captures the range of color and tonalities with uncanny realism.

Peter Burwasser, FANFARE
Read less

Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mari Kodama (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mari Kodama (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804-1805; Vienna, Austria 
Sonata for Piano no 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mari Kodama (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809-1810; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 ... the piano sound was gorgeous ... May 8, 2012 By D. Leung (Hong Kong, N/A) See All My Reviews "The SACD sampler which came with my Van den Hul balanced interconnect I bought in HK introduced me to the music of this pianist. I was having an affair with this music from the first time I heard it.
Thanks to Arkiv where I found some of her most important Beethoven piano sonata discs.
Apart from a slightly "rushed" first movement of "Waldstein" her playing was both objective and clean. She had a high affinity with this music and it appeared to me she was one of the most natural performers around. The recording captured all the details and dynamics well and documented the many peaks without strain. More important was the piano sound was gorgeous that it also sounded really like a Steinway: back in school our headmistress replaced the ageing piano with a Steinway. It costed HK$250k then in the 80s. Shall we say Pentatone may be the best artistic documentation of this instrument playing Beethoven piano sonata?"
Report Abuse
Review This Title