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HJ LIM|Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas

Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas

HJ Lim

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The marketing of this collection of Beethoven's piano sonatas (minus the two small student pieces of Op. 49) may have overshadowed its musical content. The charismatic Korean pianist HJ Lim first gained a following on YouTube, where she posted her work from France in order to keep in touch with her parents back home. Her gutsy decision to plunge into the entire Beethoven cycle has been released digitally by EMI, at a bargain price, and heavily advertised on Facebook. Lim's sheer ambition is displayed in her organization of the set, which is not chronological but instead uses "themes": Heroic Ideals, Eternal Feminine -- Youth, Assertion of an Inflexible Personality, Nature, Extremes in Collision, Resignation and Action, Eternal Feminine -- Maturity, and Destiny. It might be objected that these are not satisfying as categories, and indeed they don't really hold together well, nor emerge convincingly in Lim's playing, which seems to approach each piece is a sort of free-flowing, rhythmically irregular way. Yet Lim defends her programming in a remarkable set of (digital) notes, making extensive biographical references to Beethoven's own writings and those of his assistant Schindler, among others. This is quite an intellectual feat for one who has made it through the rigors of conservatory training, and in many specific locations Lim's observations are both persuasive and generative of fresh interpretations. To take just one example, the placement of the Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 ("Waldstein"), in the "Nature" segment is surprising yet revelatory, as Lim turns the slow movement into a series of murky forest whispers and the finale into a blaze of sunny Romantic transcendence. She does a good job of backing up her more outrageous ideas with Beethoven's own words, many of them dealing with his always tempestuous love life, and at the local level, if not in wider thematic thrusts, her interpretations make sense, and she has the technical chops to pull them off. The best word for Lim at this point is "prodigy"; her talent is impressive but needs focus, and she gets extra points for a star quality that is well suited to the way EMI is trying to present this release. That star quality is, moreover, something much needed in mainstream classical music.
© TiVo

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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas

HJ LIM

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1
Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-Flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": I. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:10:24

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

2
Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-Flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": II. Scherzo. Assai vivace
Andrew Cornall
00:02:43

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

3
Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-Flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": III. Adagio sostenuto. Appassionato e con molto sentimento
Andrew Cornall
00:12:50

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

4
Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-Flat Major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier": IV. Introduzione. Largo - Fuga. Allegro risoluto
Andrew Cornall
00:11:23

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

5
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-Flat Major, Op. 22: I. Allegro con brio
Andrew Cornall
00:06:59

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

6
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-Flat Major, Op. 22: II. Adagio con molto espressione
Andrew Cornall
00:06:12

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

7
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-Flat Major, Op. 22: III. Menuetto
Andrew Cornall
00:02:54

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

8
Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-Flat Major, Op. 22: IV. Rondo. Allegretto
Andrew Cornall
00:05:22

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

9
Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-Flat Major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux": I. Das Lebewohl. Adagio - Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:06:15

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

10
Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-Flat Major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux": II. Abwesenheit. Andante espressivo
Andrew Cornall
00:02:58

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

11
Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-Flat Major, Op. 81a "Les Adieux": III. Das Wiedersehen. Vivacissimamente
Andrew Cornall
00:05:19

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

DISQUE 2

1
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-Flat Major, Op. 7: I. Allegro molto e con brio
Andrew Cornall
00:07:39

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

2
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-Flat Major, Op. 7: II. Largo, con gran espressione
Andrew Cornall
00:05:55

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

3
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-Flat Major, Op. 7: III. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:04:43

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

4
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E-Flat Major, Op. 7: IV. Rondo. Poco allegretto e grazioso
Andrew Cornall
00:06:02

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

5
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E Major, Op. 14 No. 1: I. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:05:37

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

6
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E Major, Op. 14 No. 1: II. Allegretto
Andrew Cornall
00:03:13

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

7
Piano Sonata No. 9 in E Major, Op. 14 No. 1: III. Rondo. Allegro comodo
Andrew Cornall
00:03:07

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

8
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14 No. 2: I. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:06:27

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

9
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14 No. 2: II. Andante
Andrew Cornall
00:04:03

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

10
Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14 No. 2: III. Scherzo. Allegro assai
Andrew Cornall
00:03:24

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

11
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-Flat Major, Op. 27 No. 1: I. Andante
Andrew Cornall
00:04:35

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

12
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-Flat Major, Op. 27 No. 1: II. Allegro molto e vivace
Andrew Cornall
00:01:46

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

13
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-Flat Major, Op. 27 No. 1: III. Adagio con espressione
Andrew Cornall
00:02:06

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

14
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-Flat Major, Op. 27 No. 1: IV. Allegro vivace
Andrew Cornall
00:04:45

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

15
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight": I. Adagio sostenuto
Andrew Cornall
00:04:27

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

16
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight": II. Allegretto
Andrew Cornall
00:02:11

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

17
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight": III. Presto agitato
Andrew Cornall
00:07:14

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. A Warner Classics release, ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited

DISQUE 3

1
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2 No. 1: I. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:03:40

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2 No. 1: II. Adagio
Andrew Cornall
00:04:25

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

3
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2 No. 1: III. Menuetto. Allegretto
Andrew Cornall
00:02:51

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2 No. 1: IV. Prestissimo
Andrew Cornall
00:04:42

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2 No. 2: I. Allegro vivace
Andrew Cornall
00:06:17

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

6
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2 No. 2: II. Largo appassionato
Andrew Cornall
00:04:39

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

7
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2 No. 2: III. Scherzo. Allegretto
Andrew Cornall
00:02:54

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

8
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2 No. 2: IV. Rondo. Grazioso
Andrew Cornall
00:05:49

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

9
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2 No. 3: I. Allegro con brio
Andrew Cornall
00:09:43

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

10
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2 No. 3: II. Adagio
Andrew Cornall
00:05:42

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

11
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2 No. 3: III. Scherzo. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:02:58

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

12
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2 No. 3: IV. Allegro assai
Andrew Cornall
00:05:08

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

DISQUE 4

1
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Op. 28 "Pastoral": I. Allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:10:02

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Op. 28 "Pastoral": II. Andante
Andrew Cornall
00:05:23

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

3
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Op. 28 "Pastoral": III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
Andrew Cornall
00:02:18

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Op. 28 "Pastoral": IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non troppo
Andrew Cornall
00:04:24

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53 "Waldstein": I. Allegro con brio
Andrew Cornall
00:09:57

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

6
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53 "Waldstein": II. Introduzione. Adagio molto
Andrew Cornall
00:03:13

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

7
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53 "Waldstein": III. Rondo. Allegretto moderato - Prestissimo
Andrew Cornall
00:09:42

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

8
Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54: I. In tempo d'un menuetto
Andrew Cornall
00:04:48

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

9
Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54: II. Allegretto - Più allegro
Andrew Cornall
00:04:58

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

10
Piano Sonata No. 25 in G Major, Op. 79: I. Presto alla tedesca
Andrew Cornall
00:04:17

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - HJ LIM, Piano, MainArtist

© 2012 EMI Records Ltd. ℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

Descriptif de l'album

The marketing of this collection of Beethoven's piano sonatas (minus the two small student pieces of Op. 49) may have overshadowed its musical content. The charismatic Korean pianist HJ Lim first gained a following on YouTube, where she posted her work from France in order to keep in touch with her parents back home. Her gutsy decision to plunge into the entire Beethoven cycle has been released digitally by EMI, at a bargain price, and heavily advertised on Facebook. Lim's sheer ambition is displayed in her organization of the set, which is not chronological but instead uses "themes": Heroic Ideals, Eternal Feminine -- Youth, Assertion of an Inflexible Personality, Nature, Extremes in Collision, Resignation and Action, Eternal Feminine -- Maturity, and Destiny. It might be objected that these are not satisfying as categories, and indeed they don't really hold together well, nor emerge convincingly in Lim's playing, which seems to approach each piece is a sort of free-flowing, rhythmically irregular way. Yet Lim defends her programming in a remarkable set of (digital) notes, making extensive biographical references to Beethoven's own writings and those of his assistant Schindler, among others. This is quite an intellectual feat for one who has made it through the rigors of conservatory training, and in many specific locations Lim's observations are both persuasive and generative of fresh interpretations. To take just one example, the placement of the Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 ("Waldstein"), in the "Nature" segment is surprising yet revelatory, as Lim turns the slow movement into a series of murky forest whispers and the finale into a blaze of sunny Romantic transcendence. She does a good job of backing up her more outrageous ideas with Beethoven's own words, many of them dealing with his always tempestuous love life, and at the local level, if not in wider thematic thrusts, her interpretations make sense, and she has the technical chops to pull them off. The best word for Lim at this point is "prodigy"; her talent is impressive but needs focus, and she gets extra points for a star quality that is well suited to the way EMI is trying to present this release. That star quality is, moreover, something much needed in mainstream classical music.
© TiVo

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