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Schnabel and Richter

Piano music by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann -
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'... as varied as the works themselves.'

Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Artur Schnabel. © 2004 EMI Records Ltd

Schnabel was a boyhood hero of mine, proud possessor as I was of his magisterial versions of the Third Beethoven Concerto and Brahms Second. While plugging away at various Beethoven piano sonatas, I yearned after his complete edition of them for HMV; but my meagre purse forbade. Now that I can hardly manage a Bach chorale at minimum tempo, more than a quarter of the sonatas have arrived for my evening listening seventy years on, a matter for delight rather than emulation. Schnabel was the first to perform complete cycles of the sonatas. The impression he made was as varied as the works themselves. Sometimes he was too dry, too scientific, too intellectual; sometimes he made all the sonatas sound as if they came from Beethoven's middle period; but about his range of pianissimo colours there was no doubt.

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Copyright © 14 April 2005 Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt


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