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Track(s) taken from CKD244

Piano Sonata in D minor 'Tempest', Op 31 No 2

composer
1802; No 17

Artur Pizarro (piano)
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Recording details: October 2002
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: June 2004
Total duration: 22 minutes 17 seconds
 
1
2
Adagio  [8'44]
3
Allegretto  [5'01]

Other recordings available for download

Heinrich Neuhaus (piano)

Reviews

'Artur Pizarro now re-emerges on Linn Records with performances of Beethoven sonatas sufficiently individual and freshly conceived to make them emerge as new-minted rather than over familiar. Let no-one say that there is no room for another set of established masterpieces when the pianist is possessed of this sort of recreative energy and exuberance! … Pizarro is not frightened to go his own way, and I think that his way of allowing such pages to erupt in a blaze of romantic fire would have won Beethoven's hearty applause and approval … I hope this is the start of what promises to be a more than distinguished series'' (Gramophone)» More

'[Artur Pizarro] has an exceptional sense of musical line: not just in the elegantly vocal long melody that opens the Pathétique's famous slow movement, but also running through the furious torrents of notes in the finale of the Moonlight. It's a very Romantic view, but it's delivered with conviction, intelligence and refined pianism that demands respect at the very least. And in moments like the 'voice from the tomb' recitatives in the first movement of the Tempest sonata, the poised intensity can be pretty compelling … this is a remarkable effort from a pianist who deserves more attention' (BBC Music Magazine)» More

'Pizarro is emabarking on a year long Beethoven sonata cycle in London. As a sampler, here are four of the most popular: the C minor Pathétique, C sharp minor Moonlight, D minor Tempest and F minor Appassionata. It is a lot of minor, but his commitment is manifestly major, and the quality of his realisation is scrupulous. He avoids exaggerated gesture, but always rises to Beethoven's dramatic challenges, never more thrillingly than in an Appassionata of faultless bravura. Sometimes the precision can seem steely, at the expense of poetry: the Moonlight's evocative opening needs a drop or two more of silver, but he captures the uncanny quality of the pedalled recitatives in the Tempest, and his Pathétique is sterling' (The Sunday Times)
Indirectly, we have Beethoven to thank for the 'Tempest' tag to his D minor sonata Op 31 No 2. Anton Schindler, one of Beethoven’s circle, reported that he once asked Beethoven to explain the 'key' to the Opp 31/2 and 57 sonatas, to be gnomically advised 'just read Shakespeare’s Tempest'. The story has a ring of truth about it; it was not the only time that Beethoven made reference to Shakespeare with regard to hidden 'programmes' in his music. If it was his intention to link his genius with Shakespeare’s, it worked; during the nineteenth century, the notion became a critical commonplace. The D minor sonata opens with a stark opposition of materials; a soft, arpeggiated chord, marked Largo, followed by a nervous burst of active music, which has more than a hint of the opera house about it. The arpeggios take on an unsettling quality when they reappear at the beginning of the recapitulaion. They flower into strange recitatives, their poetry intensified by their very wordlessness. As Charles Rosen has remarked, Beethoven’s direction to hold down the sustaining pedal at this point lends them 'a hollow and even cavernous quality like a voice from the tomb'. Both the arpeggiated chord and elements of the recitatives are employed in the succeeding Adagio, in which the concept of opposites is also continued. Here, the farthest reaches of Beethoven’s piano are exploited in a dialogue of extreme registers. In the concluding Allegretto, the arpeggio is transformed into the material for a nagging perpetuum mobile in which the intimation of the human voice, ever present during the first two movements, seems entirely absent.

from notes by Sandy Matheson 2003

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