Notes and Editorial Reviews
The first volume of a projected Beethoven piano sonata cycle from Timothy Ehlen explodes from the starting gate as he dives into the Op. 2 No. 1's first-movement Allegro with headlong brio, nervous energy, and not a safety net in sight. These words also apply to the angularly shaped Menuetto and the joy-riding Prestissimo. A few blurry phrases don't matter, although Pollini's DG recording offers a like-minded conception with superior control.
In the "Moonlight" sonata's Presto agitato Ehlen concerns himself less with speed than with clarity and rhythmic firmness. The Allegretto features uncommonly accentuated inner voices, while Ehlen plays the famous Adagio sostenuto first movement simply and straightforwardly.
I wish that his solid grasp of the "Hammerklavier" sonata's bucketfuls of notes and textural complexities embraced a wider range of tone color and dynamics. Still, his outer movements convey just the right energy and forward momentum, even if the Allegro risoluto fugue's basic pulse slightly slows down from where it started (this happens more often than not among pianists). A dry recorded ambience befits Ehlen's gaunt pianism, although the piano's upper octaves do not consistently hold their tuning. One last point: Ehlen needs not apologize in advance for his informative and inviting booklet notes.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title