Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1: No. 8, Op. 13 ‘Pathetique’; Nos 9-10, Op. 14/1 & 2; No. 13, Op. 27/1
Daniel Heide (piano)
CAvi-music AVI 8553326 64:45 mins
Daniel Heide has made his reputation as a song accompanist and chamber pianist, but time at home during the pandemic led him to return to his roots. He first got to know the Beethoven Piano Sonatas as a child through his musician mother. Red leather-bound volumes of the sonatas were on the sitting room shelf, along with LPs of Maurizio Pollini and Wilhelm Kempff’s Beethoven. As he grew up, he got to know recordings by others: Walter Gieseking, Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Backhaus. Returning to the sonatas in 2020, Heide immersed himself in their world again. This is his first solo recording.
The result is beautiful. Recorded on a Bösendorfer, in Schloss Ettersburg in Weimar, the sound is clear and warm. Heide begins his programme with the Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 14/2, the first sonata he ever learned as a child. It unfolds with a winning simplicity and lyricism and introduces the luminous quality that also infuses the following sonata, No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27/1. Here, though, moments of turbulence remain restrained; the emphasis on beauty comes at a cost.
By now, it’s clear that Heide tends to understatement, a trait that continues in Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14/1. The Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 makes clear his preference for clarity and perfection over character and personality, and in this dramatic work that feels frustrating. Still, Heide’s love and affection for the composer always comes through, and I’d certainly want to hear another volume.