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Great Pianists: Artur Schnabel 5

Ludwig van Beethoven , Artur Schnabel Audio CD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Artur Schnabel
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (November 18, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000CDJJ5
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,797 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ('Moonlight'), Op. 27/2: Adagio sostenuto
2. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ('Moonlight'), Op. 27/2: Allegretto
3. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor ('Moonlight'), Op. 27/2: Presto agitato
4. Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major ('Pastoral'), Op. 28: Allegro
5. Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major ('Pastoral'), Op. 28: Andante
6. Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major ('Pastoral'), Op. 28: Scherzo
7. Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major ('Pastoral'), Op. 28: Rondo
8. Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31/1: Allegro vivace
9. Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31/1: Adagio grazioso
10. Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31/1: Rondo - Allegretto

Editorial Reviews

At first reluctant to make recordings, by the 1930s the great pianist Artur Schnabel had fully accepted the new technology. His recordings of Beethoven’s piano music include all the numbered sonatas, originally issued on subscription by the Beethoven Sonata Society. This, the fifth volume of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas series, presents the famous Moonlight Sonata, which was no less a recital favourite in the 1930s than it is today. Writing in 1936, a critic of the New York Times noted that Schnabel’s interpretation was marked with a characteristic regard both for detail and the full sweep of the work, which "assumed a new vitality". In its August 1933 review of the recording of the Pastorale Sonata, Gramophone’s critic wrote of the transparency of Schnabel’s playing and of his unerring choice of tempi. In his insistence on recording all thirty-two Sonatas, Schnabel left a statement that influenced how we understand and appreciate many of Beethoven’s works.

Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gold Standard December 10, 2003
Format:Audio CD
When His Master's Voice (England) made plans to have Schnabel record all of Beethoven's piano sonatas in the 1930s it was a huge financial risk. They ameliorated that risk by signing up subscribers ahead of time.The project became one of the most notable recording efforts up to that time, and it was a success. When finished it came to over 200 78rpm sides and included many of the smaller pieces as well as the full 32 sonatas. The performances became legendary and remain so. Schnabel was and is so revered for his Beethoven playing that no one since has even come close. And for good reason.
This issue, number five in the series of CDs that will eventually number eleven, contains Beethoven's most popular sonata, the 'Moonlight,' No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2. This is the recording I grew up with. I remember my teacher sitting me down to listen to how Schnabel played the whirlwind third movement and commenting, 'You'll never be able to manage it that well.' That hurt. But, of course she was right. That last movement, in Schnabel's hands is simply titanic. It doesn't matter that there is some sonic distortion in the loudest passages; it's the playing that counts, and we're lucky to still have Schnabel's performance some seventy years later. As for the first two movements of the sonata, one can only marvel at the utter calmness of that famous first movement, and the insouciance of the Allegretto. This performance does not have an equal.
The other two sonatas are almost at that level. The 'Pastorale,' No. 15 in D, Op. 28, manages somehow to combine broad tempi with peasant-like joie de vivre. The 'Pastorale' has never been one of my favorite sonatas, but Schnabel makes you believe in it.
The Opus 31 sonatas are among my favorites, but No.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sound is much better on Pearl series December 18, 2005
Format:Audio CD
With the high praise given in other reviews about the sound of these reissues, I ordered the set with great expectations. I regret to report that the sound is badly dulled by the engineer's filtering. While not as dull as the original LP or EMI CD releases, if you compare it to the Pearl releases of the mid 1990s, you will see what is lost. The Pearl series sounds unfiltered --- it has the greatest surface noise, but for the first time you can actually hear the sparkle and vibrancy of Schnabel's piano --- almost like a modern recording with a lot of noise. That sparkle gives the music a psychoacoustic aliveness that is profoundly important to the emotional impact. The engineering of the Naxos series puts the musician behind a veil of 70 years. The Pearl series brings Schanbel into your room now. The mind can filter out the surface noise and hear the vibrancy present. Perhaps someday computers will be able to do this for us. But this is not to be found in this Naxos series. As to the performances --- I can focus on the sound, because the performances are simply essential to any lover of Beethoven; when I sit down and close my eyes and listen, Schnabel more than any interpreter evokes a stream of images, moments, characters, feelings, and indescribable stories that inhabit Beethoven's musical world. But use Amazon's advanced search to find the Pearl editions of these recordings.
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