Andras Schiff â€“ Ludwig van Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas Vol. IV / 2007 ECM / 4 Tracks / http://www.ecmrecords.com
Schiff has been awarded a number of different accolades throughout eir thirty-plus year career. This disc marks Schiffâ€™s 24 April 2005 performance of the last four sonatas for piano of Ludwig van Beethovenâ€™s â€œearly periodâ€. This means that works 26, 27/1, 27/2 (the famed â€œMoonlightâ€ sonata), and 28 are present. For those individuals that just wish to hear music, the applause from the audience present at this performance has been stifled. This is a strong positive for this album, as even a polite â€œgolfâ€ clap is enough to break the mood offered by a pianist (or otherwise classically-trained individual), especially when they are playing the work of the masters, such as in Schiffâ€™s case.
While it is impossible in many cases to be sure that individuals like Schiff are playing Beethovenâ€™s work in a way concordant with the wishes of the original composer, the nuances that come out during each of these sonatas give me more confidence that Schiff would make Beethoven proud. Schiffâ€™s playing of the Moonlight Sonata is the work that I found myself most impressed by. This is due to the fact that I was previously familiar with the work, and that Schiffâ€™s version of this work seemed to illuminate specific bits and pieces that were not present in the previous recordings Iâ€™ve familiarized myself with. Overall, throughout the entirety of â€œThe Piano Sonatas Vol. IVâ€, I feel that Schiff has given much more in the way of a critical focus to the reading of the original musical text; the resulting music is that much stronger because of it.
The disc is well worth the purchase price, as beyond the music there is an interview of decent length with Schiff, conducted in German but also translated into English for those of us that donâ€™t have much in the way of language skills. Individuals should look forward to the conclusion of â€œThe Piano Sonatasâ€, as the fifth volume finishes up Schiffâ€™s work on Beethoven. Individuals that are properly moved by Schiff during this recording has a number of chances to see eir, as Schiff plays Los Angeles, San Francisco, Carnegie Hall, and Ann Arbor in the months of March and April, 2008. Make sure to complete your collection of â€œThe Piano Sonatasâ€ and make it a point to see Schiff live; Beethoven has never sounded more alive, despite it being well over one hundred years since eir death.