Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 - 6 Klavierstucke, Op. 118

November 11, 2009 | Format: MP3

$8.99
Also available in CD Format
Song Title
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30
1
9:40
30
2
10:56
30
3
4:42
30
4
3:32
30
5
7:22
30
6
1:56
30
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5:57
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3:27
30
9
2:32
30
10
3:58
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11
5:01

Product Details

  • Original Release Date: November 11, 2009
  • Release Date: November 11, 2009
  • Label: Denon
  • Copyright: (C) 2009 SLG, LLC
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 59:03
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B002WPPZG0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,567 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jt52 on July 30, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of those unusual discs where the last two tracks are really the best. Grimaud, as good as she is elsewhere, reaches a new level of expressivity and intensity in the Romance and final Intermezzo that conclude Johannes Brahms' well-known Op. 118 set. The CD is worth owning just for those 10 minutes of music, but that isn't to slight the rest of this very good recording.

I've been listening to three different recordings of Johannes Brahms' first great composition, the Op. 5 Piano Sonata from 1853, and they all possess much merit. There is the typically relaxed and enjoyable version from Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, the classic 1949 recording by Julius Katchen - with a truly great Andante - and then this version by Grimaud. Let me not engage in pedantry and critical taxonomy: all three recordings are very good and hold moments of great beauty. Since I'm reviewing the Grimaud, let me highlight her superb Scherzo, displaying an astonishing control over textures, especially for a young musician, the effort she puts into the finale - which is de-emphasized by in the other recordings I cite - and the beautiful way she plays the major-minor alterations in the development section of the opening Allegro. Her performance isn't perfect. The salient flaw is a lack of dynamic contrast between foreground melody and the accompaniment, which is played too loud. The Schubert-like Intermezzo in particular suffered from this even emphasis. But those are nits. This is terrific piano playing - inspired and filled with love for the music.

The Denon recording is very good, although I think it's miked too close to the piano. Again, a quibble. This recording would be a career capstone for quite a few pianists; for Grimaud, it was the launching pad.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 30, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Helene Grimaud's playing is so charismatic and arresting that I'm happy to protect the lady's honor from the grouchy lead reviewer. Aided by Denon's ravishing piano sound -- almost worth the price of the CD -- Grimaud's account of Brahms's huge Sonata #3 sweeps one away with its abundant energy and authority. This is a very discursive work. Player and listener alike can easily get lost in its byways, so it's rare to find total mastery outside a few famous recordings. Grimaud manages to avoid empty rhetoric; she never pounds; the soundscape she creates is grandly symphonic but with personal, spontaneous phrasing. To possess these virtues at such a young age is phenomenal. I like her early style better, in fact, than her current one, which tends to be tough and at times quite arbitrary in its phrasing.

The six short pieces of Op. 118 are often intimate, melancholy, and self-reflective. The young Glenn Gould made an indelible impression in this repertoire, which is often quite elusive, as so much of late Brahms tends to be. The G minor Ballade is the showpiece of the group, with its passionate outcry followed by a tender Chopinesque melody. The inner stirrings of the four Intermezzos also recall Chopin in their improvisatory moments. Here Grimaud is poised and artful. It's hard to believe that she's not an experienced artist, and altogether we get very appealing readings that, in the end, aren't as memorable as the sonata. That performance gave me a high regard for a pianist whom I haven't always enjoyed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Skylark Scribe on March 11, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is not a recording that I would crave for, but listening to it is still quite an enjoyable experience. Ms. Grimaud's idiosyncratic (or "charasmatic" in the previous reviewer's term) playing is very pleasant and easy on the ear. She plays with a palpable intention to communicate her interpretation of the music to the audience, and she communicates well.

The way she plays the beginning movement of the Sonata in F minor reminds me of the beginning movement of her 1995 recording of Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor. Very lively and intense. Her performance of the Piano Pieces Op. 118 is also quite enjoyable because of its tender freshness. But I prefer her later recording of the Op. 118 as it is better delineated and played with deeper understanding of the music.

The only regret I have on this CD would be the final movement of the Sonata, where I find the rendering too loose to pull off a more comprehensive ending (such as Murray Perhia did in his 1991 recording with Sony).
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt on February 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I returned to this CD after an absence of many years, and after about a half dozen more recordings and one incredible live performance of the work entered into my consciousness. I used to like this performance a lot, but now I find I have to temper it quite a bit. In fact, after I finish this review, I think I will head to the local used shop and sell it--how's that for tempering it? Young (and beautiful) Helene Grimaud plays with great attention to detail, bordering on fussiness, but somehow it feels too dutiful. I don't feel as though she has her own voice in these works, especailly in Brahms' deep, subdued Op. 118. It's interesting how such a young person seems to gravitate towards the more "interior" works of Brahms and Beethoven--the late piano music of Brahms, Op. 58 and 109 of Beethoven. Yet despite her earnestness, she has not yet impressed me with a natural affinity for this music. The dynamics, coloring (what little their is) and phrasing all seem calculated ahead of time rather than originating from deep feelings within. I miss the emotional logic and phrasing that connects ideas in these works. It's almost as if the voice in her head says "You've reached measure 24, slow down...you've reached measure 30, softer here." Her technical control is commendable in this difficult music (that paradoxically has to sound simple and easy), but the heart is missing.
(I know Grimaud made a second recording of the Op. 118, as well as much of the rest of Brahms' late piano works, just a few years after these early recordings. I remember not being jazzed by them either, but having grown with the works over the years, I'd had to see what I think of them today.)
Maybe I'm wrong about Grimaud and this is subjective.
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