Beethoven: Piano Sonata 'Moonlight' Op. 27/2; Piano Sonata Op. 14/2; Seven bagatelles Op 33; Variations on an origina

Beethoven: Piano Sonata 'Moonlight' Op. 27/2; Piano Sonata Op. 14/2; Seven bagatelles Op 33; Variations on an origina

by Pavel Kolesnikov

CD

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Overview

The young Novosibirsk-born pianist Pavel Kolesnikov has made a splash in London not only by virtue of his technical facility -- perhaps nobody on the scene today can manage a perfectly smooth surface at low volumes the way he can -- but also with unusual programming. Some may find his programs perverse, but there is generally some method to them, and in cases like the present one they may be revelatory. Beethoven's sonatas are routinely presented in various kinds of groupings, but it is rare indeed that they are put down in the middle of groups of small pieces, many of them "WoO," or without opus number. That's just what Kolesnikov does here, opening with four short without-opus pieces and resuming the sequence of freestanding short works with the set of "seven Bagatelles, Op. 33." In between comes the "Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 (Moonlight)," and if you need a reason to check out Kolesnikov's work, it's this: not many performances make you hear this most familiar of all Beethoven's sonatas in a new way. Kolesnikov's intent with the short pieces is dual. First, he stresses the formal experimentalism of Beethoven's early music, with the result that the two piano sonatas on the album come across expanded versions of the ideas developed in the shorter pieces. And second, he is aware that Beethoven's solo piano music, especially at first, was chamber music in the broad sense of the word. He wasn't playing in big halls; his music was intended for homes and for private gatherings of his patrons. Thus, where almost everyone else foregrounds the irregular rhythms of, say the second of the "Op. 33 set of Bagatelles," Kolesnikov reins it in. And the entire "Moonlight sonata," even the tumultuous finale, is relatively quiet. One might object that the trend in historical performance is going the other way, that Beethoven's piano was an ungainly but expressive beast with a strongly percussive quality that would have emphasized the accents, not smoothed them out. But sample the first movement of the "Moonlight" and admire the almost perfectly glassy surface: there's no denying Kolesnikov's skills as a technician. The climax is reached, as it ought to be, with the "32 Variations on an Original Theme, WoO 80," another without opus work but one with which Beethoven himself might easily have ended a recital. Hyperion contributes perfect sound for this kind of experiment at the Wyastone Estate concert hall, and the bottom line is that if you're thinking you don't need another "Moonlight sonata," think again.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/31/2018
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571282374
catalogNumber: 68237
Rank: 270017

Tracks

  1. Andante for piano in C major, Biamonti 52
  2. Bagatelle for piano in C minor, WoO 52
  3. Allegretto for piano in C major ("Bagatelle"), WoO 56
  4. Allegretto for piano in C minor, WoO 53
  5. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ("Moonlight"), Op. 27/2
  6. Bagatelles (7) for piano, Op. 33
  7. Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14/2
  8. Variations (32) on an original theme for piano in C minor, WoO 80

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