Paavali Jumppanen is an internationally esteemed pianist, with a vast performance repertoire spanning from Bach to the Avant-garde. Jumppanen’s performances of the complete cycles of Beethoven’s and Mozart’s Piano Sonatas as well as Beethoven’s concertos and chamber music have won critical acclaim. Jumppanen has collaborated with numerous contemporary composers and has premiered many solo and chamber works for the piano. Of particular note are his recordings of Pierre Boulez’s complete piano sonatas at the request of the composer. This adaptability between musical genres gives a fresh reading of the core classical piano repertoire.
Angela Hewitt presents a fourth volume in her acclaimed series of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, which has delighted her fans worldwide. The little-known Sonata in B flat major, Op 22, the last of Beethoven’s ‘early’ sonatas, is recorded alongside Op 31 No 3 (sometimes known as ‘La chasse’, or ‘The Hunt’, because of its tumultuous Presto con fuoco finale). The album is concluded with Op 101, of which the journalist for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung in Leipzig wrote: ‘Truly, here in his 101st composition admiration and renewed respect take hold of us, when we wander along strange, never trodden paths with the great painter of the soul’, going on to enthuse about the most beautiful colours and pictures in Beethoven’s new Piano Sonata.
Angela Hewitt is rapidly establishing herself as one of the great pianists of our age, her concert career expanding as rapidly as her discography, so it seems only right that, following her success in tackling one of the pillars of classical music in Bach, she should tackle another in Beethoven. This volume commences a survey of Beethoven sonatas which will couple the well known, in this case the ‘Appassionata’, with the comparatively neglected, here the grandest of Beethoven’s early sonatas, his Op 7. The disc is completed with a superb performance of Op 10/3, one of the early sonatas where Beethoven can be seen breaking the bounds of convention to create the style which would define the great works of his middle period.
This live Appassionata, from a Moscow recital of 1959, is one of the most thrilling piano performances ever recorded. Sviatoslav Richter fills every moment of the first movement with intense drama, creates the illusion of total repose in the central variations, and then takes off in the finale with an exhibition of musical virtuosity and ever-increasing tension that becomes almost unbearably intense (and unbelievably fast and accurate). The studio Pathétique is quite fine, and the Fantasy (sung in Russian!) well performed by all but still rather quaint in its effect. But don't miss that Appassionata!
Every man's death diminishes us all, but the death of a man so close to completing his greatest achievement and the summation of his life's work diminishes us all greatly – very, very greatly. When Emil Gilels died in 1985, he had completed recordings of most but not all of Beethoven's piano sonatas, released here in a nine-disc set. What's here is unimaginably good: superlative recordings of 27 of the 32 canonical sonatas, including the "Pathétique," "Moonlight," "Waldstein," "Appassionata," "Les Adieux," and the majestic "Hammerklavier," plus the two early "Electoral" Sonatas and the mighty Eroica Variations. What's missing is unimaginably priceless: five of the canonical sonatas, including the first and – horror vacui – the last. But still, for what there is, we must be grateful. Beyond all argument one of the great pianists of the twentieth century, Gilels the Soviet super virtuoso had slowly mellowed and ripened over his long career, and when he began recording the sonatas in 1972, his interpretations had matured and deepened while his superlative technique remained gloriously intact straight through to the last recordings of his final year.
This is the first in a nine-disc series of Beethoven’s complete Piano Sonatas that Jonathan Biss plans to record over as many years. That does seem excessively leisurely, however great a testimony it is to Biss’s seriousness and dedication.
Philips 50 is a unique collection of classic recordings celebrating many of the finest performances from one of the world's great music catalogues.
Philips Classics' distinguished legacy stretches from the early 1950s to the present day and features many of the finest artists of our time. This new series captures their inspired musicianship and incomparable artistry with greater fidelity than ever before. The famous Philips sound has been further enhanced by the use of the latest 96kHz, 24-bit technology to enable new generations to appreciate once more these critically acclaimed, award-winning recordings.
Philips 50 — a wonderful harvest from 50 years of recording.