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.