Notes and Editorial Reviews
Hess pays careful attention to details of dynamics and the piano-pianissimo range is used a great deal to create a rarefied atmosphere of quiet reflection.
The two late Beethoven sonatas are above everything else gentle and poetic readings. The elemental force of Beethoven is not really hinted at. Hess pays careful attention to details of dynamics and the piano-pianissimo range is used a great deal to create a rarefied atmosphere of quiet reflection. The two fugues of the last movement of Op. 110 have such thoroughly musical and deft contrapuntal playing that an overall feeling of mastery is easily maintained. Here Hess accumulates the instrument's sonorities towards the final triumphant climax with impressive
Of course, the EMI recordings are all post-Second World War and mostly date from the LP era, so that surface noise and side changes do not distract the listener's attention. Of the shorter pieces on this disc I especially enjoyed the Granados, in which Hess's shaping of accompanying figures is superb. The twitterings of the nightingale at the end also conjure up all the colours and associations one could wish for. Whereas the Bach items have a characteristic coating of spirituality and a sort of grandiloquent homeliness, the Brahms, for me, could have been livelier. It is the second of the two Scarlatti sonatas that provides this quality in abundance: Hess's fingerwork is really scintillating here.
-- Gramophone [5/1991]
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title