Andras Schiff – Ludwig van Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas Vol. IV

Andras Schiff – 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 Schiff’s 24 April 2005 performance of the last four sonatas for piano of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “early period”. This means that works 26, 27/1, 27/2 (the famed “Moonlight” 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 “golf” 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 Schiff’s case.

While it is impossible in many cases to be sure that individuals like Schiff are playing Beethoven’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. Schiff’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 Schiff’s version of this work seemed to illuminate specific bits and pieces that were not present in the previous recordings I’ve familiarized myself with. Overall, throughout the entirety of “The Piano Sonatas Vol. IV”, 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 don’t have much in the way of language skills. Individuals should look forward to the conclusion of “The Piano Sonatas”, as the fifth volume finishes up Schiff’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 “The Piano Sonatas” 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.

Rating: 7.8/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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