Beethoven * Brahms * Mozart et al
Beethoven: Bagatelles, Op. 119; Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2 No. 3; Brahms: Intermezzos, Op. 118 Nos 1, 2 & 6; Ballade in G minor, Op. 118 No. 3; Romance in F major, Op. 118 No. 5; Klavierstücke, Op. 119; Mozart: Piano Sonatas Nos. 14 & 16; Fantasia in C minor, K475; Schubert: Impromptu in A flat major, D935 No. 2; Allegretto in C minor; Rameau: Les Sauvages; Le rappel des oiseaux; Rachmaniov: Prelude Op. 32 No. 12 in G sharp minor; Debussy: Préludes, Book I – Des pas sur le neige, etc
Grigory Sokolov (piano)
DG 483 6570 120.55 mins (2 discs)
Once, I spent an afternoon with Sokolov and watched him practise – a process which consisted mostly of silent communion with the score. I got him talking about his art. ‘First I must internalise the music,’ he said. ‘The inspiration I leave to concerts, to the special state I am in then.’
The recordings on this release come from three recitals in 2019. If the programme sounds familiar, the reality is anything but. The first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 2 No. 3 emerges spacious and unhurried – even the grace notes strictly a tempo. The Adagio’s conversation between bass and soprano – Beethoven’s heaven and hell – projects an enveloping tenderness; the anarchy in the Trio has a friendly quality; the closing Allegro exudes mighty force.
The Op. 119 Bagatelles are an even greater revelation, each supposed trifle deeply pondered and each springs its surprises. And the Brahms works are glorious. The A major Intermezzo creates a calm space around itself; the middle section of the ‘Romanze’ is heart-stoppingly beautiful. Every track is special. Sokolov’s encores are always fascinating, and in Rameau’s
Le rappel des oiseaux each bird sings out in sweet merriment.