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  • Virtuoso Series: Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonatas
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Virtuoso Series: Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonatas

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Audio CD, July 24, 2012
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Product Details

  • Conductor: n/a
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (July 24, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B005JS7VBO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,989 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Beethoven s 32 piano sonatas, from the haunting stillness of the opening adagio of the Moonlight to the scorching ferocity of the finale of the Appassionata , are central to his music. The recording of the Moonlight is exemplary, reflecting the pianist's formidable attack without harshness... ...the finale is a model of stormy authority and poetry . Gramophone review

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A better version of the Appassionata sonata is that recorded fairly recently by Carlo Lombardi, PhD, and available here on I compared both on the same evening, and clearly the depth and passion of Lombardi outweighs the clinical precision of Vladimir Ashkenazy. It may be the difference between Ashkenazy's relative youth and Lombardi's relative maturity at the time the recordings were made -- and that may be relevant to Beethoven's age when he composed the Appassionata Sonata (somewhere between the two.) Also relevant, is Lombardi's extensive experience in concertizing in Italy, Europe, and the United States. Until recently, Lombardi was Emeritus Professor of Music at Dowling College, a fairly new College on Long Island in New York. In fact, Lombardi and a handful of other professors started at Dowling when it was still part of Adelphi University (in Garden City, NY).

So, Ashkenazi plays every note, and does justice to the dynamic phrasing that Beethoven seems to have intended. Another time, I will review Ashkenazi vs Van Cliburn on the same piece. And probably do a few more before I'm done. I am curious whether Vladimir Ashkenazi was taught in the era where piano students were forbidden to use the *sustain* pedal, presumably because it blurred the sound, and made for "lazy" playing. Certainly, if you were taught the same way, his recording might sound more as your teacher would have played it.
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