Beethoven • Berio • Schumann

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Berio,Schumann
LABELS: Avie
ALBUM TITLE: Andreas Haflinger: Perspectives 6
WORKS: Beethoven: Piano Sonatas – No. 10 in G, Op. 14/2; No. 30 in E, Op. 109; Berio: Erdenklavier; Wasserklavier; Luftklavier; Feuerklavier; Schumann: Fantasy in C, Op. 17
PERFORMER: Andreas Haflinger (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: AV2293

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Andreas Haefliger likes to organise his recordings as integrated recitals, rather than as contributions to a complete cycle of Beethoven Sonatas, or something of the kind. He combines a strenuously intellectual approach with a gorgeously velvety touch, the latter reminiscent of Wilhelm Kempff. This latest in his series of Perspectives discs – all very much worth having – is devoted to music of tenderness. He finds the first sign of that quality in Beethoven in the Sonata in G, Op. 14 No. 2, and does indeed give an ideally sensitive and glowing account of it.

Interspersed between the Beethoven and Schumann items are four very short pieces by Berio, evocative of the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire. I’m not sure that I’d have known which was which, but they are lovely, refreshing items, wholly approachable and perfect for cleansing the musical palate for the next piece. The Beethoven Sonata Op. 109 is one of his supreme works, and also one of his most benevolent, and receives an account from Haefliger which does it full justice. We end with the immense Fantasy in C by Schumann, his most successful large-scale piano work in three movements. It can often barnstorm, but Haefliger gives it an individual reading which stresses its affectionate qualities from the start. This is a disc to give balm to the soul.

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Michael Tanner