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ClassicsOnline Home » BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 4 (Ehlen) - Nos. 3, 6, 23 and 31
This disc consists of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, No. 6 in F Major, No. 23 (“Appassionata”) in F Minor, and No. 31 in A-flat Major. All of these are extremely difficult pieces, but Sonata No. 3 certainly makes the performer jump right out of the gate. And while the second movement provides a slight (although technically no less challenging) respite, the piece as a whole does not quite sizzle in this recording. It is not played poorly, but there seems to be “something” that is missing, at least for this listener. The same is true for Mr. Ehlen’s interpretation of Sonata No. 6. Again, the piece isn’t played badly, but there seems to be a sense of precision that is subtly missing. The 3rd movement Finale is much more to taste. Sonata No. 31, which contains many emotionally driven variations in its 3rd movement, also falls a bit short for me. This piece usually captivates me, but the listener doesn’t quite feel that the performer is enmeshed in the inner workings here even though just playing the piece itself is a Herculean effort.
The Appassionata, however, is a different story. Mr. Ehlen comes to life here, playing the opening movement with the proper sense of tension and lyricism, the second movement with an appropriate sense of propriety and checked/subdued emotionalism, and the last with an unending supply of feverishly driven energy. This piece is the highlight of the recording, and the performance is much more to my liking than the other selections.
In all fairness, I am extremely picky about Beethoven’s music. Someone less fussy would likely enjoy all of the selections on this disc very much, and as background music this set of performances serves well – but if you want to be transported into Beethoven’s precise, feverishly driven noble world you might be better served elsewhere.more....
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