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Cat. No. CHAN 10798(3) Price: £21 No. of discs: 3
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CHAN 10798 - Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Volume 2
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Available From: 16 December 2013

Chandos CHAN 10798

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 – Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet returns for the second volume of his survey of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. The project, set to conclude with Vol. 3 in 2014, runs alongside his complete recording of Haydn’s Piano Sonatas. Vol. 1 of the Beethoven series was critically acclaimed, BBC Music calling the performances ‘distinguished and virtuosic’ and Fanfare remarking that ‘his readings will withstand the test of time’. In this release Bavouzet performs the sonatas published between 1800 and 1804. This period marked a transitional stage in the composer’s career, in which Beethoven entered what has become regarded as his middle period. Included are the two Op. 27 sonatas, both modified ‘quasi una fantasia’, which break away from traditional forms. One of these, the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, features one of his best-known movements, the opening Adagio sostenuto, which unfolds like a baroque prelude with its famous slowly rolling triplets and lamenting melody. The ‘Waldstein’ Sonata, Op. 53 is one of the glories of the middle period and surpasses all Beethoven’s previous sonatas in scope and scale. Also recorded here is the Andante in F, originally intended as the slow movement of the ‘Waldstein’. Although later replaced by a shorter introductory Adagio molto, this is a charming piece in its own right and, having been published alone as Andante favori, quickly became one of Beethoven’s most popular works.

Reviews

                    Repertoire  ***   (Good)              Sound **** (Very Good)
Ingo Harden - Fono Forum magazine (Germany) - May 2014

"...Chandos has provided Bavouzet with a clear and bright recording that does not lack for warmth. The first-class production values are also what one expects from this label. William Drabkin has contributed detailed notes on each sonata, and Bavouzet himself provides a note on the reason he decided to record these sonatas and on his approach to the works. As a whole, while there are many recordings of these works from which to choose, Bavouzet’s belong up there with the best."
 
Leslie Wright - MusicWeb-International.com - 2 April 2014

“…The sound is as clear and realistic as on the earlier volume, while William Drabkin’s booklet notes are again informed by the latest research and Bavouzet’s reminiscences offer useful pointers as to his interpretative convictions. Those following his Beethoven cycle will not be disappointed by what is on offer here and the final volume can be only keenly awaited.”

Richard Whitehouse – International Record Review – February 2014

                  Performance ****      Recording ***** 
"...he [Bavouzet] plays a rich-sounding modern instrument, and Chandos supplies its usual feather-bed acoustic. Yet whenever there’s a chance to be abrasive, Bavouzet seizes it, and he relishes the opportunities Beethoven gives him to sound wispy and ’French’ ...
Michael Tanner - BBC Music magazine - February 2014

"... his playing is engaging and fresh; there’s never a hint of staleness about even the most familiar music, such as the Moonlight Sonata Op 27 No 2, while in Op 22, Op 26 and Op 28, the least-often heard of the sonatas in this collection, the tightly sprung rhythms and the unfussy phrasing mean that the performances are always dynamic, always focused ..." ****
Andrew Clements - The Guardian - 17 January 2014

“…Bavouzet’s three-CD box encompasses sonatas written between 1800 and 1804. The Moonlight is here, the Waldstein too, along with the three pungent Op 31 sonatas, particularly suited for this French pianist’s fingers. The nervous abrupt chords in the first movement of Op 31, No 1 jump out and bite us. He’s equally impressive capturing the music’s playful mischief and sudden poetic revelations. So much here is brilliantly achieved and so sharply polished… Chandos’s sound, as usual, is immaculate. More Beethoven, please.”  ****

Geoff Brown - The Times – 10 January 2014

 “The first volume of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s projected traversal of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas was an unqualified triumph. The only question was how could he maintain such a standard – mature in vision yet fresh in impulse – across such a challenging and diverse corpus of music? … the French pianist again justifies the faith Chandos has placed in him for such a significant project… Roll on Volume 3.”  ****
Andrew Clark – The Financial Times  - 11-12 January 2013

 

 

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