Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Chopin
LABELS: Ideale Audience
WORKS: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat, Op. 81a (Les Adieux) chopin Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 58; Étude, Op. 10, No. 4 in C sharp; Étude, Op. 10, No. 10 in A flat
PERFORMER: Nelson Goerner (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 307 9188

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The merits of the filmed piano recital will always be debatable. Thus numerous pianists have been ensconced in gorgeous or otherwise notable surroundings, to divert the eye from the rather dull spectacle of a man or woman seated impassively at a piano and wiggling their fingers.

When a piano recital is filmed in a virtually blackened hall (shades of Richter), the viewer’s lot is not a particularly happy one. Such is almost the case with the present release, though the black of the hall is unsympathetically offset by a rack of brightly coloured bars at the back of the auditorium. The pianist in this case is far from being a showman. He comes on, bows discreetly, sits down and plays. But boy does he play! 

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Goerner is a master. Though a stunning virtuoso, he never shows off; the prevailing character of his artistry is lyrical. His grasp of structure is innately dramatic, but melodrama is not his style. He gives the impression of playing everything from the inside out, removing all barriers between the listener and the composer. His Les adieux is scintillating and thrilling. The Chopin sonata is a gripping panorama of inspiration and invention, the more so for its Classical restraint. The selling point here is the playing. Jeremy Siepmann