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Beethoven's Last Piano Sonatas


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Audio CD, December 20, 2010
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109: Vivace, ma non troppo 3:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109: Prestissimo 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109: Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung13:07Album Only
listen  4. Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat, Op. 110: Moderato contabile molto espressivo 6:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat, Op. 110: Allegro molto 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat, Op. 110: Adagio ma non troppo - Fruga: Allegro ma non troppo10:20Album Only
listen  7. Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111: Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato 9:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111: Arietta - Adagio molto semplice e cantabile16:53Album Only


Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven's Last Piano Sonatas + Mozart/Beethoven: Piano & Wind Quintets: K.452 & Op.16 + Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Complete Music For Two Fortepianos
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Product Details

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (December 20, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Musica Omnia
  • ASIN: B004GV76PQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,662 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on September 1, 2011
Format: Audio CD
The last three solo keyboard sonatas composed by Ludwig Beethoven -- Opus 109: Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major (1820), Opus 110: Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major (1821), Opus 111: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor (1822) -- rank, in my never-entirely humble opinion, as the most sublime music of their genre, sharing the apex of beauty with Beethoven's late string quartets. No recording of them has ever seemed to my ears unworthy of hearing attentively. Among the more recent conventional interpretations, played on a modern concert grand piano, my personal choice is that of Andras Schiff, which I have reviewed. However, if I were permitted to take only one recording of the three sonatas to a Tea Party Forced Labor Camp in West Texas, it would be this performance by Penelope Crawford. Here are three reasons why:

1) The pianist! Penelope Crawford is as eloquent/elegant at the keyboard as Schiff or Maurizio Pollini, despite the fact that she is not a full-time on-the-road concertizer. She has important teaching positions at the University of Michigan and at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute. These works require a touch that is al least as 'sensitive' as it is agile, and that is Crawford's 'forte'.

2) The piano! Crawford plays a genuine historical fortepiano, built by Conrad Graf of Vienna in 1835. That choice will deter many die-hard musical conservatives from giving the CD a chance, of course. They will declare that the fortepiano was merely an inadequate precursor of the piano forte of today, and that it sounds like 'a toy piano'. My own ears tell me that it was a distinct instrument, with its own timbre and its own playing qualities, very well suited to the music of its era, including Beethoven's.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bachjscpe on July 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have never been fond of Beethoven on the fortepiano. I have been able to take some pleasure listening to such light things as the bagatelles with Melvyn Tan, but the instruments (and generally the soloists) have generally seemed to me unworthy of the late sonatas--sonatas I do not wish to experience merely for historical reasons. So when someone persuaded me to give this CD a try, I was quite skeptical that I would like it. On the first listening, however, my skepticism was totally overcome as I found both the instrument and the performance quite wonderful. The instrument has a rich and powerful sound (but still is clearly a fortepiano)and the interpretations hold their own with those I regard as the very best--e.g. Mitsuko Uchida and Myra Hess. (I have no gender biases in music, and it is purely a coincidence that the two I remembered first and Crawford all happen to be women. I am also very fond of the late sonatas played by Backhaus, Gilels, and Kempff.) Crawford allowed me to see some things in these sonatas that I had not before seen--always a valuable experience. I never thought that I would want to hear the Hammerklavier played on a fortepiano, but I very much hope that Crawford will record that sonata on this instrument. Although I can ignore poor sound quality in recordings for a great interpretation, the sound recording on this one could not be better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on February 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Recently two difference performances of Beethoven's last three piano sonatas came into my gravitational orbit, both of which are played on a fortepiano. The first is played by Penelope Crawford (an American academic), the second by Alexei Lubimov, a pupil of Maria Yudina and Heinrich Neuhaus.

Yes, one can focus on their respective instruments and temperaments but surely such considerations are mundane - what an ominous word to use of late Beethoven; one's focus, rather, should be on payload. Come immersion into this music of the spheres, is one left earthbound or airborne?

Crawford is a fine exponent of her art - I wish I could play like that - but once the novelty of the fortepiano has worn away, she has to compete with any number of virtuosos who have measured themselves against these stupendous creations. Indeed, Opus 109, 110 & 111 could be likened to an African watering-hole where predators congregate in search of `easy meat'. I marvel at Crawford's technique and musicality but vision is lacking, particularly in the second movement of Opus 111. Likewise, her Opus 110 is enjoyable but explicable. Come the final bar, I looked down at my feet: those big Size 14 paddles were still anchored to the third rock from the sun.

Lubimov is another matter. One soon forgets that he is playing something other than a Bosendorfer with a V12 engine under the bonnet; in my mind, this is always a sure-sign that a period-practice performance is right on the money. He is far more successful in evoking the Cosmic Clock which chugs away at the heart of Opus 109 (Andante molto cantabile ed expressivo, 3'48"ff).
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Calvin on March 15, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Need I say more?
As a pianist, out of all the Beethoven Sonatas I have heard in my lifetime, these are the most artistic and beautiful.
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