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Masterpieces - Beethoven: Piano Works / Hungerford


Release Date: 08/26/2003 
Label:  Vanguard   Catalog #: 1193   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 35 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If you're looking for Beethoven's greatest hits as well as a healthy cross section of his early, middle, and late-period sonatas, you've come to the right place. Better still, you get Bruce Hungerford at the piano, an unsung giant among Beethoven players. He recorded 22 out of the 32 sonatas between 1965 and his tragic death in a car crash in January, 1977, and although truncated, this cycle deserves consideration alongside the catalog's reference versions. Hungerford's style is scrupulous and direct but never dry, and his textures are transparent, crystal clear, and constantly varied (though never for variety's sake alone). Listen to Hungerford's articulation of the trills, turns, and mordents throughout the last movements of the Read more Pathetique, Moonlight, Waldstein, and Op. 111 sonatas. Such diction mirrors the work of actors like John Gielgud or Lawrence Olivier, who fuse precision and expression like few others in their profession.


The pianist takes the Tempest sonata's long pedal markings in the recitativos on faith, and he achieves hypnotic effects in the Adagio through touch and dynamic shading, keeping the slow and difficult-to-sustain basic tempo rock steady. Hungerford really cooks in the Waldstein's opening movement, fusing Solomon's rapid, clean fingerwork and Schnabel's angular propulsion into something entirely his own. The Op. 110 sonata's lyrical sections are hauntingly veiled and introspective, while the Fugue presses (even rushes) forward without sacrificing one second of polyphonic cohesion. And the little Op. 78 sonata's quirky major/minor shifts in the second movement are perfectly characterized. While Vanguard's sonics vary from session to session, Hungerford's artistry consistently stimulates and does Beethoven justice on every level.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 22 Minutes 40 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 14 Minutes 54 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1797-1798; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 18 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 17 in D minor, Op. 31 no 2 "Tempest" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 23 Minutes 57 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 9 Minutes 43 Secs. 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 20 Minutes 39 Secs. 
7.
Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 18 Minutes 34 Secs. 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 32 in C minor, Op. 111 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Bruce Hungerford (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Vanguard Studios, New York City 
Length: 25 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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