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Track(s) taken from CKD244

Piano Sonata in C sharp minor 'Moonlight', Op 27 No 2

composer
1801; published in March 1802; No 14; Beethoven's subtitle is 'quasi una Fantasia'; the nickname 'Moonlight' comes from Ludwig Rellstab's description of the opening movement; dedicated to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi

Artur Pizarro (piano)
Recording details: October 2002
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: June 2004
Total duration: 15 minutes 30 seconds
 
1
Adagio sostenuto  [6'41]
2
Allegretto  [2'10]
3
Presto agitato  [6'39]

Other recordings available for download

Alessio Bax (piano)
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Stephen Hough (piano)
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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)
If the title of the Op 13 Sonata at least has some semblance of authenticity, the same cannot be said of the nickname that has become attached to the second of the pair of sonatas Op 27. It was the poet and music critic Ludwig Rellstab who described its famous opening movement as evoking ‘a boat, visiting, by moonlight, the primitive landscapes of Lake Lucerne’. Curiously enough, to Beethoven’s pupil Carl Czerny, writing before Rellstab had penned his phrase, the sonata’s opening movement also suggested a nocturnal landscape. The piece, said Czerny, was ‘a night scene, in which the plaintive voice of a spirit is heard far in the distance’.

The Op 27 sonatas were issued in 1801, both of them with the sub-heading of ‘quasi una Fantasia’—a qualification indicating the freedom with which Beethoven was treating the traditional sonata design. The ‘Moonlight’ Sonata’s famous opening movement bears the direction: Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino (‘This entire piece must be played with the utmost delicacy, and without dampers’). ‘Senza sordino’ was Beethoven’s habitual marking at this stage of his career for the use of the sustaining pedal, and although on a modern piano his instruction needs to be treated with some caution, a certain degree of harmonic blurring is implied in order to convey the music’s unbroken atmosphere of plaintive mystery. Beethoven was to exploit similar overlapping pedal effects in the rondo theme of the ‘Waldstein’ Sonata.

As he was to do the following year in his ‘Tempest’ Sonata Op 31 No 2, Beethoven maintains the darkness of the minor mode throughout the two outer movements, while writing the middle movement entirely in the major. (‘A flower between two abysses’ was Liszt’s evocative description of the minuet-like second movement of Op 27 No 2.) The finale is an unrelentingly agitated piece whose coda, with its ‘strummed’ diminished-seventh chords sweeping up the keyboard, reaches new heights of turbulence. Not until the ‘Appassionata’ Op 57 did Beethoven write another finale for piano of comparable dramatic intensity.

from notes by Misha Donat © 2010

Si le titre de la Sonate, op. 13, présente au moins un semblant d’authenticité, on ne peut en dire autant du surnom qui s’est attaché à la seconde sonate de l’op. 27. C’est le poète et critique musical Ludwig Rellstab qui a trouvé que son célèbre premier mouvement évoquait «une barque, au clair de lune, dans les paysages primitifs du lac des Quatre-Cantons». Assez curieusement, un élève de Beethoven, Carl Czerny, pensait, avant que Rellstab ait écrit sa phrase, que le mouvement initial de la sonate évoquait aussi un paysage nocturne. Ce morceau, selon Czerny, était une «scène nocturne, dans laquelle la voix d’un esprit plaintif se fait entendre dans le lointain».

Les sonates, op. 27, ont été publiées en 1801, toutes deux avec le sous-titre «quasi una Fantasia»—qui souligne la liberté avec laquelle Beethoven traite le modèle traditionnel de la sonate. Le célèbre premier mouvement de la Sonate «Clair de lune» est précédé de la mention: Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino («Toute cette pièce doit être jouée avec la plus grande délicatesse et sans sourdine»). «Senza sordino» était l’indication habituelle de Beethoven à ce stade de sa carrière pour l’utilisation de la pédale forte et si, sur un piano moderne, cette indication doit être traitée avec quelque précaution, il faut parvenir à un certain degré de flou harmonique afin de traduire l’atmosphère ininterrompue de mystère plaintif de la musique. Beethoven allait exploiter des effets analogues de pédales qui se chevauchent dans le thème du rondo de la Sonate «Waldstein».

Comme il allait le faire l’année suivante dans sa Sonate «La Tempête», op. 31 no 2, Beethoven conserve l’obscurité du mode mineur d’un bout à l’autre des deux mouvements externes, alors qu’il écrit le mouvement central entièrement en majeur. («Une fleur entre deux abysses», c’est ainsi que Liszt a décrit de manière évocatrice le second mouvement en forme de menuet de l’op. 27 no 2.) Le finale présente une agitation acharnée; sa coda, avec ses accords effleurés de septième diminuée qui balaient le clavier, atteint de nouveaux sommets en matière de turbulence. Il faudra attendre l’«Appassionata», op. 57, pour que Beethoven écrive un autre finale pour piano d’une telle intensité dramatique.

extrait des notes rédigées par Misha Donat © 2010
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Der Titel der Sonate op. 13 mag zumindest den Anschein von Authentizität beanspruchen können, was sich über den Beinamen der zweiten Sonate von op. 27 nicht behaupten lässt. Vielmehr geht er auf den Dichter und Musikkritiker Ludwig Rellstab zurück, den der berühmte erste Satz an eine Bootsfahrt im Mondschein auf dem Vierwaldstättersee erinnerte, und auch Beethovens Schüler Czerny nannte diesen Satz schon vor Rellstab „eine Nachtszene, wo aus weiter Ferne eine klagende Geisterstimme ertönt“.

Die Klaviersonaten op. 27 wurden 1801 mit dem gemeinsamen Untertitel „quasi una Fantasia“ veröffentlicht, wodurch die Freizügigkeit angedeutet wird, mit der Beethoven die traditionelle Sonatenform abwandelt. Der erste Satz der Mondscheinsonate trägt die Anweisung: Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordino („Man muß dieses ganze Stück sehr zart und ohne Dämpfer spielen“). Zu dieser Zeit hatte Beethoven die Gewohnheit, „senza sordino“ für den Gebrauch des Sostenuto-Pedals zu verlangen, und wenngleich diese Anweisung auf einem modernen Klavier mit einiger Vorsicht zu befolgen ist, impliziert die Interpretation ein gewisses Maß an harmonischer Überblendung, um die Atmosphäre eines klagenden Mysteriums zu erzielen. Ähnlich überlappende Pedaleffekte wird Beethoven dann auch im Rondothema der „Waldstein“-Sonate verwenden.

Wie auch ein Jahr später in der Klaviersonate Nr. 17 d-Moll op. 31 Nr. 2 („Der Sturm“) setzt Beethoven die dunkle Mollstimmung in den beiden Ecksätzen der Mondscheinsonate durchgängig fort, während der mittlere Satz vollständig in Dur steht und von Liszt anschaulich als „eine Blume zwischen zwei Abgründen“ beschrieben wurde. Das Finale ist ein beharrlich aufgewühltes Stück, dessen Coda mit ihren „geklimperten“ kleinen Septimen sich zu neuen turbulenten Höhen die Tastatur hinauf schwingt. Erst mit der „Appassionata“ op. 57 komponiert Beethoven ein weiteres Klavierfinale von vergleichbar dramatischer Intensität.

aus dem Begleittext von Misha Donat © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber

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