"Hammerklavier" recordings compared

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Rach3
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"Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Rach3 » Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:49 am

BBC Radio 3 Record Review , just listening now:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000p6yh At about 28:00 in.

Apparently "Winner" will be Uchida,Gulda, " runner up " Lewis,Schnabel.

Rach3
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Rach3 » Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:50 am

A fav of mine, not mentioned by BBC, Eduardo del Pueyo's 1958:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyumpSv ... Y&index=32

maestrob
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by maestrob » Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:07 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:50 am
A fav of mine, not mentioned by BBC, Eduardo del Pueyo's 1958:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyumpSv ... Y&index=32
Interesting! I don't know him. Will check it out for sure.

I'm also fond of Perahia's 2018 DGG release. I hear that Richter's Prague concert performance was exceptional, but I haven't heard it yet.

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Lance
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:13 pm

Having most every major recording of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" piano sonata, two have long stayed with me due to the symphonic nature of, particularly, the first movement.

1) Egon Petri - originally on Westminster (now on DGG)
2) Ernst Levy - on Marston

Either rendition is "not for the faint of heart," as has been said. Ernst Levy is almost unknown to most these days (Marston has brought him back to life, thankfully), however, Levy turns out to be one of the most remarkable "unknown" pianists of his day.
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:28 pm

You may want to see what this link has to say!

https://slippedisc.com/2020/03/sorting- ... erklavier/
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Holden Fourth
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Nov 07, 2020 4:17 pm

This is a Sonata that polarises opinions in many ways. Tempo is just one along with other interpretative choices. Having played the work (not well as parts of it are very hard) and having listened to many recordings a certain style has evolved for me.

First movement tempo is not that important,. Richters London recording for BBC has one of the slower first movements while I feel that Pollini makes a faster incarnation work very well.

Pivotal for me is the speed and expressiveness of the slow movement. It’s got to hold togetherthroughout and with something this length that’s not easy to do. I also want to feel the dark emotions that can be expressed. I want this achieved via dynamics, not rubato.

The last movement also has to be coherent, not just a kaleidoscope of sound behind a fugue.

So which do I choose?

I imprinted on Solomon and it’s still a top five choice for me.
Richter in London also works very well
However, the recording I turn to is not that well known. In the 1970s a Hammerklavier appeared on a Mobile Fidelity Labs LP (it had been previously released). The pianist was Sokolov. It has everything I want in a Hammerklavier and is my go to recording. If you can find it, give it a listen.

I’m now going to listen to the BBC program.

Holden Fourth
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:13 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:28 pm
You may want to see what this link has to say!

https://slippedisc.com/2020/03/sorting- ... erklavier/
This points out a couple of serious omissions from the BBC program. Solomon, who I’ve already mentioned and Gilels. How they could be left out is beyond me.

Lance, I have the Levy and agree.

Handelian
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Handelian » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:34 am

I did write to the BBC after the review saying I thought the review was very poor as she omitted many many great recordings and didn’t even consider them. Obviously one realises that with nearly 100 recordings she cannot cover them all but the number left out was unacceptable.
So classics like Serkin, Gilles, Richter, Solomon were not even mentioned.

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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by barney » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:06 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 4:17 pm

Pivotal for me is the speed and expressiveness of the slow movement. It’s got to hold togetherthroughout and with something this length that’s not easy to do. I also want to feel the dark emotions that can be expressed. I want this achieved via dynamics, not rubato.

The last movement also has to be coherent, not just a kaleidoscope of sound behind a fugue.


I imprinted on Solomon and it’s still a top five choice for me.
Very well put, you speak for me too. What does "imprinted" mean in this context? YOur first love?

barney
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by barney » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:07 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:13 pm
Having most every major recording of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" piano sonata, two have long stayed with me due to the symphonic nature of, particularly, the first movement.

1) Egon Petri - originally on Westminster (now on DGG)
2) Ernst Levy - on Marston

Either rendition is "not for the faint of heart," as has been said. Ernst Levy is almost unknown to most these days (Marston has brought him back to life, thankfully), however, Levy turns out to be one of the most remarkable "unknown" pianists of his day.
I'm one of those who has never heard of Ernst Levy. I'll keep an ear out.

barney
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by barney » Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:10 am

I have 31 accounts of the Hammerklavier, and could not pick out a favourite. The honest and unfortunate truth is that I can only remember a handful. I have the Petri for example, but cannot remember when I last played it.

Sometimes I long for the innocence of earlier days of collecting, when I had far fewer CDs/Lps and played them obsessively.

Rach3
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Rach3 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 12:23 pm

barney wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:07 am
I'm one of those who has never heard of Ernst Levy. I'll keep an ear out.
You'll have to find him here. I have 2 of the Marston Levy cd's.Interesting,but as noted , not for the faint of heart. I dont listen to them often, bit exaggerated tempi and dynamics,overly percussive playing, in some cases, to my ears.

https://www.marstonrecords.com/search?q=Levy

maestrob
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:01 pm

I have the set of Solomon Beethoven Sonatas that he recorded. Holden, I also admire that recording and deeply regret that I didn't mention it in my first post in this thread. :oops:

Lance, thank you for that link to Slipped Disc. For once, I almost entirely agree with at least this quote from the essay (The typos included are not mine. :mrgreen: ):
Which leads me to the most penetrative of the Russians, Emil Gilels, who was supposed to deliver a full cycle of sonatas for Deutsche Grammophon but, in the late Cold War era, fell two or three short. Gilels, who wore a perpetual haunted look, was shadowed by KGB men wherever he went. He died in 1985, still in his sixties. In one of the slowest performances of the Hammerklavier, he takes us on an inner journey where he can be entirely himself. I think this recording, made in 1983, might be his most important legacy – indeed, possibly the most powerful interpretation of any Beethoven sonata

He is the all time first choice of our panellist Erica Worth, editor of Piano magazine. Erica is also keen on Mitsuko Uchida (2007) whom she finds ‘far removed from selfish virtuosity and with a strong musical conviction’, valid qualities, as well as a distinctly feminine form of instrospection. Other panel favourites? The Israeli critic and psychoanalyst Amir Mandel directs me to Murray Perahia’s second recording, made in 2018 for DG and the fruit of a lifetime’s all-weather engagement with this force of nature. After years of struggle with a hand injury, Perahia conveys a sense of resignation, with a touch so delicate it is almost weightless

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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:50 am

barney wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:06 am
Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 4:17 pm

Pivotal for me is the speed and expressiveness of the slow movement. It’s got to hold togetherthroughout and with something this length that’s not easy to do. I also want to feel the dark emotions that can be expressed. I want this achieved via dynamics, not rubato.

The last movement also has to be coherent, not just a kaleidoscope of sound behind a fugue.


I imprinted on Solomon and it’s still a top five choice for me.
Very well put, you speak for me too. What does "imprinted" mean in this context? YOur first love?
"Imprinted" means the first performance or recording you heard of the piece. In many cases, it leaves an "imprint" on your brain that THIS is the way the piece should be played. In the case of the Hammerklavier, my imprint recording is by Beveridge Webster. That's not a familiar name these days, but he was a widely respected "pianist's pianist" in his day and his recording of the Hammerklavier is excellent.

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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:44 pm

There are a number of versions in my collection, but I've by no means heard all the renditions mentioned here. I do have Uchida's.
For me, the standout is Brendel's. And that's because of the adagio. I love his handling of the adagio for the same reason he excels in the D.940 and the late Schubert sonatas. He handles a long melodic line like no one else; it flows with metronomic precision, unforced, and is very pleasing.
I have rewritten this last paragraph in case you read the previous version. Today I listened to Uchida's recording of the Hammerklavier. I like the first two movements well enough, and love the adagio, as I mentioned. The final movement does nothing for me. I'm referring to the sonata itself, not Uchida's playing. Uchida shows great command and expression, but I don't care for her reading of the adagio compared to Brendel. (But she is one of my favourite pianists in general.)

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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by barney » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:32 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:50 am
barney wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:06 am
Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 4:17 pm

Pivotal for me is the speed and expressiveness of the slow movement. It’s got to hold togetherthroughout and with something this length that’s not easy to do. I also want to feel the dark emotions that can be expressed. I want this achieved via dynamics, not rubato.

The last movement also has to be coherent, not just a kaleidoscope of sound behind a fugue.


I imprinted on Solomon and it’s still a top five choice for me.
Very well put, you speak for me too. What does "imprinted" mean in this context? YOur first love?
"Imprinted" means the first performance or recording you heard of the piece. In many cases, it leaves an "imprint" on your brain that THIS is the way the piece should be played. In the case of the Hammerklavier, my imprint recording is by Beveridge Webster. That's not a familiar name these days, but he was a widely respected "pianist's pianist" in his day and his recording of the Hammerklavier is excellent.
I listened to the Solomon yesterday. Ravishing, so profound.

Handelian
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Handelian » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:21 am

Richter performer the sonata at the Festival Hall during the 1970s and we listened on the radio to the broadcast. A stupendous performance in which he repeated the last movement as an encore. I have it on disc though unfortunately without the encore. One of the greatest Hammerklaviers though not even mentioned by the incredibly superficial review.

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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Lance » Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:28 pm

Thank you for referring to BEVERIDGE WEBSTER. I have all of his DOVER Publication LPs, and have discussed the possible issuance of those magnificent recordings on CD, including with his son. Unfortunately, no one knows where the original tapes are. Webster's recording of von Weber's Piano Sonata No. 2 is also one of the best I have ever heard.
Ricordanza wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:50 am
barney wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 11:06 am
Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 4:17 pm

Pivotal for me is the speed and expressiveness of the slow movement. It’s got to hold together throughout and with something this length that’s not easy to do. I also want to feel the dark emotions that can be expressed. I want this achieved via dynamics, not rubato.

The last movement also has to be coherent, not just a kaleidoscope of sound behind a fugue.


I imprinted on Solomon and it’s still a top five choice for me.
Very well put, you speak for me too. What does "imprinted" mean in this context? YOur first love?
"Imprinted" means the first performance or recording you heard of the piece. In many cases, it leaves an "imprint" on your brain that THIS is the way the piece should be played. In the case of the Hammerklavier, my imprint recording is by Beveridge Webster. That's not a familiar name these days, but he was a widely respected "pianist's pianist" in his day and his recording of the Hammerklavier is excellent.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Rach3
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Rach3 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:31 pm

Lance wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:28 pm
Thank you for referring to BEVERIDGE WEBSTER. I have all of his DOVER Publication LPs, and have discussed the possible issuance of those magnificent recordings on CD, including with his son. Unfortunately, no one knows where the original tapes are. Webster's recording of von Weber's Piano Sonata No. 2 is also one of the best I have ever he
I have Webster's Dover lp of the Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableaux as well as as .flac of his ca.37 minute recording of the "Hammerklavier".The late Irvin Kolodin of the defunct Saturday Review said at the time that while Webster was to be commended for not over-emoting, he did not " bring all to Rachmaninoff that is Rachmaninoff's". While more astringent than most, I find Webster's reading of these works quite refreshing and in some cases relevatory precisely for that reason, and suspect the composer would as well.

You may be interested in these historic live performances from his time at Juilliard, "Full Audio" not best sound , but...

http://jmedia.juilliard.edu/digital/col ... 101/rec/27 ("Hammerklavier")

http://jmedia.juilliard.edu/digital/col ... 3/id/12034

http://jmedia.juilliard.edu/digital/col ... 027/rec/25

http://jmedia.juilliard.edu/digital/col ... 711/rec/39

http://jmedia.juilliard.edu/digital/col ... 565/rec/26

Rach3
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Rach3 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:44 pm

Sorry, I did not recall any of these being restricted when I heard, but the first and last of these seem to be restricted now, the other 3 not.

Rach3
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Re: "Hammerklavier" recordings compared

Post by Rach3 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:05 pm

Allegedly Webster's Dover " Hammerklavier":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFzP0h3p1-I

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