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CD Review

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonatas

  • Piano Sonata #7 in D Major
  • Piano Sonata #4 in E Flat Major
  • Piano Sonata #23 "Appassionata" in F minor
Angela Hewitt, piano
Hyperion CDA67518 77m DDD
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Also released on Hybrid Multichannel SACD SACDA67518
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After a magnificent series of Bach recordings, star pianist Angela Hewitt now turns her attention to Beethoven's piano sonatas and if future releases are anything to go by this first disc, we are in for one of the most rewarding cycles of modern times. Her choice is well judged with Op. 10, #3 and the F minor Appassionata paired with the fiery Op. 7, a lovely cocktail if there ever was one.

Hewitt plays with indomitable fire, one only has to sample the energy and excitement of the opening Presto Op. Op. 10 whilst the mesmerizing Largo that follows rather reminds one of the composer's Second Symphony with the pianist suitably dreamy in her gossamer like interpretation.

The highlight of the disc must be the Appassionata Sonata which is really one of the greatest interpretations I've ever heard and that includes all the so called 'greats' such as Schnabel, Backhaus, Horowitz and Rubinstein to name but a few. The incredible sense of momentum that Hewitt creates in the opening movement marked Allegro assai really has to be heard to be believed. The same goes for the glorious Allegro ma non troppo that is as fiery as one could imagine; a true Romantic, big-blooded spirit.

Hewitt herself writes the programme notes which are also an important feature of this disc and will be looked at many a time by discerning scholars and enthusiasts alike. I really cannot praise this disc too highly and am already anxiously looking forward to the next instalment in this projected cycle.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech