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Vladimir Feltsman|Beethoven: Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier"; Sonata in A Major, Op. 101

Beethoven: Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier"; Sonata in A Major, Op. 101

Vladimir Feltsman

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Originally recorded in 1998 for the MusicMasters label, this Beethoven disc was reissued in 2010 on Nimbus, complete with Mount Everest on the cover and pianist Vladimir Feltsman's own notes, quite elegant, that refer to "a feeling of brutality" in the gigantic yet exacting fugal finale of the Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier." It's a good phrase for the entire work, whose chilly monumentality sets it apart even from the rest of Beethoven's late output. Yet what's a bit odd, although not in the least troubling, is that the work is anything but brutal in Feltsman's hands. The "Hammerklavier" is allied with the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, the Grosse Fuge for string quartet, Op. 133, and perhaps a few other works in making extreme demands on the performer, in fact, in existing at the very boundaries of performability. Yet, despite brisk tempos (especially in the slow movement) that bring the work in well below average in terms of duration, Feltsman doesn't sweat in the least. This is a precise, clear, almost placid "Hammerklavier" if indeed there can be such a thing, and it clarifies details of the counterpoint in the finale that seemed forever lost in the tradition of performances following Artur Schnabel's gate-storming performances. The slow movement perhaps loses some weight in this version, and you have to take it on faith that it wasn't meant to have the scope of the Ninth Symphony's outer movements. But Feltsman deserves full credit for performances that are both original and technically remarkable, both in the "Hammerklavier" and in the gentler Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, where he rightly tones down his approach a good deal. Well worth hearing, as with Feltsman's other recordings of this period.
© TiVo

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Beethoven: Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier"; Sonata in A Major, Op. 101

Vladimir Feltsman

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1
Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": I. Allegro
00:11:35

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

2
Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": II. Scherzo: Assai vivace
00:02:34

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

3
Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": III. Adagio sostenuto
00:17:14

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

4
Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": IV. Largo - Allegro risoluto
00:12:09

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

5
Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101: I. Allegretto, ma non troppo
00:04:03

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

6
Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101: II. Vivace alla marcia
00:05:50

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

7
Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101: III. Adagio, ma non troppo, con affetto
00:03:37

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

8
Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101: IV. Allegro
00:07:27

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Vladimir Feltsman, MainArtist

(C) 1998 MusicMasters (P) 1993 MusicMasters, Inc.

Album Description

Originally recorded in 1998 for the MusicMasters label, this Beethoven disc was reissued in 2010 on Nimbus, complete with Mount Everest on the cover and pianist Vladimir Feltsman's own notes, quite elegant, that refer to "a feeling of brutality" in the gigantic yet exacting fugal finale of the Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier." It's a good phrase for the entire work, whose chilly monumentality sets it apart even from the rest of Beethoven's late output. Yet what's a bit odd, although not in the least troubling, is that the work is anything but brutal in Feltsman's hands. The "Hammerklavier" is allied with the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, the Grosse Fuge for string quartet, Op. 133, and perhaps a few other works in making extreme demands on the performer, in fact, in existing at the very boundaries of performability. Yet, despite brisk tempos (especially in the slow movement) that bring the work in well below average in terms of duration, Feltsman doesn't sweat in the least. This is a precise, clear, almost placid "Hammerklavier" if indeed there can be such a thing, and it clarifies details of the counterpoint in the finale that seemed forever lost in the tradition of performances following Artur Schnabel's gate-storming performances. The slow movement perhaps loses some weight in this version, and you have to take it on faith that it wasn't meant to have the scope of the Ninth Symphony's outer movements. But Feltsman deserves full credit for performances that are both original and technically remarkable, both in the "Hammerklavier" and in the gentler Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, where he rightly tones down his approach a good deal. Well worth hearing, as with Feltsman's other recordings of this period.
© TiVo

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