Review By Burton Rothleder,Fanfare,November 2011
Frank was a pupil of Artur Schnabel, and the playing here epitomizes Schnabel’s unpretentious, thoroughly musical approach to these composers. Frank surpasses his eminent teacher in the Beethoven sonatas in terms of phrasing and clarity… These Beethoven sonata performances are the most satisfying of the very many that I have encountered.
Review By Raymond Tuttle,Fanfare,November 2011
These studio performances, actually recorded slightly before he turned 85, confirm Frank’s continued viability as a thinking man’s pianist. The more recent recordings presented here display…mastery of color, form, and stylistic sensitivity. After tiring of the hotshot young virtuosos, it is a relief to turn to Frank and to hear music-making in which the ego is put entirely at the service of the composer.
Review By Raymond Tuttle ,Fanfare,May 2011
The big question attached to this release is, “Why now?” Many collectors will recognize Claude Frank’s name from the complete set of Beethoven sonatas he recorded in the 1970s, and which were released on RCA Victrola LPs. (These now are available on Music & Arts.) There have been a couple of other releases since then—Beethoven’s and Schubert’s works for violin and piano, recorded with his daughter, Pamela Frank—but for the most part, Claude Frank is a major pianist who has been ignored by the recording industry. In other words, the present release is welcome, and very satisfying, and when I look at how many CDs Lang Lang has made since the start of his career, the infrequency of Frank’s recordings makes me mad.
Review By Alan Becker,American Record Guide,March 2011
These recent recordings (2008–9) were made at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. While there might be some apprehension over Frank’s technical abilities at this advanced age, the playing is outstanding. Interpretively, this one time pupil of Schnabel dares to conquer the mountain, and does so in a way that can shame many a young whipper-snapper of today. more....
Review By WGBH 99.5,February 2011
Pianist Claude Frank will be 85 on Christmas Eve, and these performances of Schumann, Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven (the last three Sonatas) were recorded in 2008 and 2009. Claude Frank spent many years working with Artur Schnabel, absorbing his philosophies and expertise, and he has recently finished his memoirs, titled “The Music that Saved My Life: From Hitler’s Germany to the World’s Concert Stages”. A very wise and moving two-CD set on the Dorian label.
Review By Phil Muse,Audio Video Club of Atlanta,February 2011
What a handsome testimonial this is to the great German-born American pianist, appearing on the eve of his 85th birthday (Nuremburg, 24 December, 1925). The best part of it is, he’s still around to enjoy the celebration. And in top form, too, judging from these 2008–2009 recordings made by producer Judith Sherman (a major name in her own field) at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYC. In particular, I’ve never heard a more moving, comprehensive account of Schubert’s final Sonata in B-flat, D960, and Frank’s Mozart selections opened new insights for me into music I’d more or less taken for granted.
Review By Jed Distler,ClassicsToday.com,January 2011
These 2008/09 recordings were made in anticipation of Claude Frank’s 85th birthday on December 24, 2010, and testify to the veteran pianist’s seasoned musicianship and remarkably intact technique. Frank always has played Schubert’s final sonata supremely well, and you can forgive the occasionally uneven phrase or split note in light of the pianist’s warm tone and intelligently shaped long lines, especially in the first-movement development section and throughout the slow movement. Frank’s moderate tempo for the Scherzo allows the music its lilting, delicate due, while the finale boasts genuine cumulative urgency and a driving coda that ought to keep younger pianists humble.
Review By David Patrick Stearns,The Philadelphia Inquirer,December 2010
This set, titled 85th Birthday Celebration, records his musical thoughts while it’s still possible, and the repertoire suits that station in life: the last three Beethoven sonatas and Schubert’s swan song in that medium, all warmly recorded by producer Judith Sherman. One might expect self-indulgent ruminating; instead, there are profound acts of conciliation with Beethoven’s far-flung musical elements coexisting, sometimes even comfortably. His Schubert refreshingly lacks morbidity. Though you hear some technical labor, the disc lacks the recklessness of Frank’s live performances, and that’s the one thing missing here.
Review By Mary Kunz Goldman,The Buffalo News,December 2010
There is a quality of quiet wisdom in these performances, recorded in 2008 and 2009. Frank was always an introspective player and now, in his 80s, I think he is even more so. If there is a fault in these gossamer recordings it is that the beauty and delicacy of Frank’s playing are too predictable.
You know how he is going to play something—you can hear it in your head. He does not exactly take chances. The late Beethoven sonatas—Op. 109, 110 and 111—are ethereal, but I found myself wishing they had more of the oomph he musters for the last movement of the great Schubert B flat Sonata, D. 960.