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Solo Piano - Released May 5, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Exceptional sound - Hi-Res Audio
For a number of years, the piano music of Ludwig van Beethoven has dominated the recordings of British pianist Paul Lewis on Harmonia Mundi, though since 2011 he has also recorded the sonatas of Franz Schubert, an equal interest to him. This 2014 album of the last four piano sonatas may bring with it expectations of a grand statement: the late piano sonatas, like the final string quartets, the piano trios, the String Quintet, the last songs, and other works of 1828 carry with them the gravitas of Schubert's illness and impending death, and some aspect of the composer's mortality is usually addressed in performances of these works. Lewis is qualified to offer meaningful interpretations of Schubert's artistic intentions, though what might not be expected is the weightlessness, ease, energy, and joy that he communicates in these sonatas, expressive choices that rises above the biographical. They are masterfully played and marvelously recorded, so such technical matters don't interfere with the pure appreciation of the music. Drama and pathos are here, of course, along with tenderness and lyricism, but Lewis doesn't dwell morbidly on the darker aspects, preferring instead to let the light shine through. It certainly does in all four works, and even though there are moments of intense passion, gloom, and even fury, one comes away from hearing these sonatas with a sense of the wholeness of Schubert's conceptions, including his ineffable serenity, and Lewis' balanced choices are fully justified. Highly recommended.
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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released April 13, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
The vagaries of the market have led a French pianist to record all his albums in England (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Chandos) whereas an English pianist, Paul Lewis, recorded all of his for the French label Harmonia Mundi. They both share a real love of Haydn. While the Frenchman has been recording sonatas by the Austrian composer from the start, Paul Lewis waited until he had assimilated Beethoven's 32 Sonatas and Schubert's as well, so as to be able to get to the root of the repertoire. For his first album dedicated solely to Haydn, he has chosen four sonatas, 32, 40, 49, and 50, allowing him to deploy his whole expressive range, dispelling once and for all the "Papa Haydn" tag that has for so long dogged the great musical innovator. In Paul Lewis's hands, Haydn's music is not that of an ancestor, however good, but of a Viennese classicist, performed with great nuance, a fluid sound and a wonderful, plastic beauty which makes the keyboard sing, underlining Haydn's joyful and puckish side as well as his passing melancholy. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released November 8, 2011 | harmonia mundi

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After his largely superb cycle of Beethoven's piano music (solo and orchestral), hot British pianist Paul Lewis returns to Schubert, a composer with whom he has often been identified in his concert career. As with Beethoven, Lewis has an uncanny ability to approach Schubert's scores seemingly afresh, with an ear open to the smallest details. His Schubert may be a bit less immediately compelling than Beethoven sonatas in which tremendous harmonic momentum is made to shift direction in entirely unexpected ways, but there are lovely touches all through this two-disc set. In the Op. 90 set of Impromptus, D. 899, Lewis manages to emphasize the amazingly progressive quality of Schubert's music without taking it beyond its proper chamber dimensions. For all his ravishing melodies, Schubert was a composer who wrote music for small groups of thoughtful connisseurs, and Lewis' interpretations respect that. The album includes the three piano sonatas coming immediately before the towering works of the last year of Schubert's life, and each one receives a very finely detailed and beautifully controlled performance. Sample his handling of the chromatic half-step running through the first movement of the Piano Sonata in C major, D. 840 ("Reliquie"), a troublesome piece that can seem shapeless, for a taste of the Lewis magic. A very fine Schubert collection from a player who has emerged as a major artist.
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Classical - Released April 7, 2008 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released October 23, 2012 | harmonia mundi

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Keyboard Concertos - Released April 15, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released August 1, 2010 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released May 5, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
The booklet for this release by British pianist Paul Lewis, a fine complement to his cycle of the 32 Beethoven sonatas, contains various goodies, including an interesting image of the Diabelli Variations' dedicatee, Antonie Brentano (the recipient from Beethoven of one of history's greatest if most despondent love letters), and a rarely cited evaluation of the entire work from its commissioner, Anton Diabelli. Far from being dismayed that he had asked for one variation and gotten back 33, he remarked that the set was fit to be placed beside "Sebastian Bach's masterpieces of the same type." This perceptive comment ought to give the lie to the idea that nobody appreciated Bach in the early 19th century, and it's a key as well to Lewis' reading. A student of Alfred Brendel, Lewis has by now emerged from under that master's shadow; his interpretation here takes off from Brendel's emphasis on Beethoven's immediate and dramatic departure from Diabelli's theme but forges from it a big, sharply differentiated reading quite unlike Brendel's dry, subtle playing. Lewis' first few variations give him a lot of space, and he fills it in with variations that diverge greatly in tempo and approach yet hold together in larger structures. The middle variations are stretched out a bit, and Lewis seems to get to the truly unthinkable quality of the harmonies in the slow variation 20 as well as anyone ever has. Perhaps in order to tie together the distinct worlds of his variations, Lewis plays them with little (or in some cases no) pause between them. This is not a completely solid move, but it works convincingly in this interpretation, which is daring, well thought out, and somehow very Beethovenian. Highly recommended.
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Solo Piano - Released July 14, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
Paul Lewis presents a perceptive reading of Liszt's Sonata in B minor, as well as several shorter works from later in Liszt's career. Lewis plays with a lot of color and restrained drama. He uses touches of rubato and well-conceived contrasts of dynamics to make the sonata truly enjoyable and not an overwrought piece of pianistic theater. There are moments of smoothly lyrical melody and moments of orchestra-like textures within the sonata, all well-balanced. Liszt's later, short pieces seem strange to many people because of the more adventurous harmonies the composer used, as well as the more pessimistic outlook of the works. Lewis seems to understand the humors of these later pieces. In the opening of Nuages gris, he doesn't force the chords over the tremolo, but rather blends them with the rumbling to create an overall sense of a glowering sky. The similarly dark or bitter moods of the remaining pieces are temporarily relieved with the Four Little Pieces and En rêve. In the latter, Lewis creates a lovely, delicate, and wispy dreamscape. Lewis doesn't get carried away with the drama or technical flashiness of Liszt's music. Rather, his attachment to it -- his own respect for the music and what he believes it's trying to convey -- is what engages you most and makes you really take an interest in it and enjoy it.
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Classical - Released February 8, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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With both of their lives cut short before they reached forty years of age, one from tuberculosis and the other from syphilis, the piano sonatas that Weber and Schubert left behind have either long been forgotten or are unheard of among pianists and the public. Luckily, this has been rectified for Schubert’s works thanks to pioneering pianists such as Artur Schnabel and Wilhelm Kempff, but more must be done for the works of Carl Maria von Weber who is still primarily known for his opera Der Freischütz (The Marksman). It takes an exceptional musician to bring forgotten music back to life and that is exactly what Paul Lewis does in this new album after having previously released fantastic interpretations of Beethoven and Schubert under the same French record label, Harmonia Mundi. Weber was around at the same time as Beethoven and was one of the first piano virtuosos from the beginning of the 19th century. His dazzling technique can be heard in this Sonata No.2 in A flat major which is both a virtuosic and a classic work that opened the door to romanticism for many other composers thereafter. The Sonata in B major, D 575 is actually from the same year that Schubert celebrated his twentieth birthday and sought independence from his parents to become a prolific composer, despite all the risks that came with a career as an independent artist at that time. This captures the beginning of romanticism and is an original and exciting pairing between two composers who appreciated each other’s work, but whose styles were diametrically opposed: the bright lights and panache for Weber and the melancholy soul for Schubert. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released September 25, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Solo Piano - Released January 12, 2015 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Classical - Released December 19, 2018 | Krapes

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Classical - Released January 15, 2008 | harmonia mundi

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Soundtracks - Released January 15, 2016 | Silva Screen Records