BEETHOVEN Complete Piano Sonatas / Pollini


Complete Piano Sonatas
Maurizio Pollini
Int. Release 10 Nov. 2014
8 CDs / Download
0289 479 4120 0

Track List

CD 1: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.1 In F Minor, Op.2 No.1; Piano Sonata No.2 In A, Op.2 No.2; Piano Sonata No.3 In C, Op.2 No.3

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 1 In F Minor, Op. 2, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 2 In A Major, Op. 2, No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 3 In C Major, Op. 2, No. 3


Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:05:13

CD 2: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.4 In E Flat, Op.7; Piano Sonata No.9 In E, Op.14 No.1; Piano Sonata No.10 In G, Op.14 No.2; Piano Sonata No.11 In B Flat, Op.22

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 4 In E Flat Major, Op. 7

Piano Sonata No. 9 In E Major, Op. 14, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 10 In G Major, Op. 14, No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 11 In B Flat Major, Op. 22

Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:12:48

CD 3: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.5 In C Minor, Op.10 No.1; Piano Sonata No.6 In F, Op.10 No.2; Piano Sonata No.7 In D, Op.10 No.3; Piano Sonata No.8 In C Minor, Op.13 -"Pathétique"

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 10, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 6 In F Major, Op. 10, No. 2

Piano Sonata No. 7 In D Major, Op. 10, No. 3

Piano Sonata No.8 In C Minor, Op. 13 -"Pathétique"

Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:09:22

CD 4: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.12 In A Flat, Op.26; Piano Sonata No.13 In E Flat, Op.27 No.1; Piano Sonata No.14 In C Sharp Minor, Op.27 No.2 -"Moonlight"; Piano Sonata No.15 In D, Op.28 -"Pastorale"

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 12 In A Flat Major, Op. 26

Piano Sonata No. 13 In E Flat Major, Op. 27, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 14 In C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 -"Moonlight"

Piano Sonata No. 15 In D Major, Op. 28 -"Pastorale"

Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:13:44

CD 5: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.16 In G Major, Op. No.1; Piano Sonata No.17 In D Minor, Op.31 No.2; Paino Sonata No.18 In E Flat Major, Op.31 No.3; Piano Sonata No.19 In G Minor, Op.49 No.1; Piano Sonata No.20 In G, Op.49 No.2

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 16 In G Major, Op. 31, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 17 In D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 -"The Tempest"

Piano Sonata No. 18 In E Flat Major, Op. 31, No. 3 -"The Hunt"

Piano Sonata No. 19 In G Minor, Op. 49, No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 20 In G Major, Op. 49, No. 2

Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:15:20

CD 6: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.21 In C, Op.53; Piano Sonata No.22 In F, Op.54; Piano Sonata No.23 In F Minor, Op. 57; Piano Sonata No.24 In F Sharp, Op.78; Piano Sonata No.25 In G, Op.79

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 21 In C Major, Op. 53 -"Waldstein"

Piano Sonata No. 22 In F Major, Op. 54

Piano Sonata No. 23 In F Minor, Op. 57 -"Appassionata"

Piano Sonata No. 24 In F Sharp Major, Op. 78 "For Therese"

Piano Sonata No. 25 In G Major, Op. 79


Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:16:53

CD 7: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.26 In E Flat, Op.81a; Piano Sonata No.27 In E Minor, Op.90; Piano Sonata No.29 In B Flat, Op.106

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 26 In E Flat Major, Op. 81a -"Les adieux"

Piano Sonata No. 27 In E Minor, Op. 90

Piano Sonata No. 29 In B Flat Major, Op. 106 -"Hammerklavier"

Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:11:53

CD 8: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.28 In A, Op.101; Piano Sonata No.30 In E, Op.109; Piano Sonata No.31 In A Flat, Op.110; Piano Sonata No.32 In C Minor, Op.111

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No. 28 In A Major, Op. 101

Piano Sonata No. 30 In E Major, Op. 109

Piano Sonata No. 31 In A Flat Major, Op. 110

Piano Sonata No. 32 In C Minor, Op. 111

Maurizio Pollini

Total Playing Time 1:21:58

This set displays his utter mastery, his command of touch, of line, of shape, his delicacy and strength, his nobility . . . no pianist better distils the profundity of this great music, for example in the monumental arietta that closes the final sonata. DG's marketing claims the set ranks alongside legendary accounts by Wilhelm Kempff and Emil Gilels, the first six decades ago, and this is probably justified. Despite the long time-span and developing understanding, it has a powerful unity of vision and purpose.

Pollini inhabits these works with such natural facility, the more demonstrative technical flourishes flowing with an easy grace that brings unusual humility to their interpretation . . . [the "Waldstein" and the "Appassionata"] are treated to pulsating interpretations.

Pollini's cycle is notable for its intellectual rigour. He never seeks to charm . . . Pollini, more than any other pianist, convey's the composer's power and, in certain instances, his almost uncontrolled rage . . . [if forced to choose just one recording of this cycle] this would be it.

Pollini's sleek and unruffled technique, stylish intelligence and watertight structures appear remarkably consistent, and justify his reputation as the prototype modern pianist . . . listening to the sonatas in the order that Pollini recorded them, you'll notice that his Beethoven becomes increasingly angular, unfettered and bracingly communicative over time . . . Even when Pollini is most reserved, ear-catching details abound, such as his unusual stressing of the grace note in the "Pathétique" first movement's second theme, piercingly accurate double notes in the first movement of "Les adieux", and the 'shock and awe' with which the pianist dispatches Op 28's deceptively tricky coda. Yet the first three sonatas fly off the page and foam at the mouth under the 67-year-old Pollini's impetuous fingers . . .

A full 40 years of Pollini's aristocratic majesty is represented here . . . He is renowned -- indeed almost infamous -- for the technical perfection of his playing and especially, his recordings. But if you think that means an automaton's lack of feeling, passion and humanty, you're quite mistaken. In that sense, Beethoven is the perfect composer for him. The playing here is flawless but it is noble and elevated and always recorded with the engineering equivalent of awe. It seems to me what box sets of Beethoven Sonatas ought to be in every way . . . The question for people who might be tempted to own a complete Beethoven sonata cycle is this "whom can you live with?" Here, I think, is one you could spend a life with. And I wouldn't say that about that many others.

A wonderful box set . . . His version of the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 26, more commonly referred to as the "Moonlight Sonata," is nothing short of spectacular.

. . . [Pollini possesses] prodigious technical facility . . . [and thorough command] of precise articulation and dynamic contrasts . . . [Beethoven 21]: the forward propulsion becomes literally staggering . . . [Beethoven 4 / 2nd movement]: this realization has potent, affective accuracy.

. . . it has every bit the feel of a classic . . . the set is anchored around his towering, legendary 1975/77 recording of the last sonatas. His "Hammerklavier" is a pianistic Matterhorn, imposing and awesome . . . There is a sort of unforgiving relentlessness to Pollini that suits late Beethoven particularly well. After having climbed the first movement of Op. 111 with vigor, Pollini is disarmingly lyrical and gentle in the slow movement. His hands just purl off notes in all shapes and forms. Larger clusters of notes are churned out with such precision that every note has the same value, length, and force . . . with everything falling perfectly in place and giving an otherwise unachievable coherence . . . His "Appassionata" is downright emotive. His interpretations, literally brilliant, go some way in shining light on the less popular, shorter Op. 54, and especially Op. 90, which is elevated to unusual grandeur . . . His "Pathétique" is a crystalline, almost disturbing account . . . Pollini changes your perception of these works for good. This quality holds up in all of his now-fulfilled cycle . . . there is nothing that sounds rushed or thoughtless; everything is full of finesse, delivered with careful deliberation.

In no way are these eccentric performances; in fact, the pianist seems to take pains to deliver "classic" Beethoven marked by serious intent, intellectual rigor, focused concentration, and a recognition of his revolutionary status . . . Pollini balances power and refinement in his approach . . . The last installment, where there's a rich piano sound and nice hall ambience, comes out best . . . That Pollini, now 73, has lived to finish the task, his powers undiminished, is a gift.

. . . a remarkable achievement that holds a few absolutely essential recordings . . . the whole set serves as a worthy tribute to the pianistic greatness that the man has given us . . . I can't resist recommending this box to anyone who cares about the piano or the composer . . .

Pollini's Superb Beethoven Cycle Enhances Canon . . . [Beethoven 28]: Here is a vibrant interpretation of music that sounds intimate and experimental at once, the hands widely separated yet impeccably balanced, not least in the final cadence of the first movement, where the heights and depths seem to meet in a kind of Euclidian accord . . . the highest praise is owed the spiky fugue that constitutes the development of the finale. Few pianists realize the many strands of Beethoven's imagination as convincingly -- an observation that goes double for the finale of "Hammerklavier" in a performance of almost frightening authority. Listen to the manic leaps and trills! This is Extreme Beethoven. While Pollini does not observe the composer's near-impossible metronome recommendation for this movement, he fully captures the spirit of the main tempo marking: Allegro risoluto . . . I plan to keep the Pollini box close to hand.

. . . [the middle-period sonatas] are still fine, and his steely intellectual readings of the late sonatas (Nos. 28-32) remain the best of their objective kind thanks to his superb structural understanding and brilliant tone . . . His "Hammerklavier" (No. 28) sets the standard (along with Richter's) in this most demanding of Beethoven's sonatas. He is also excellent in the early sonatas, playing with wit and lightness at times and with passionate intensity at others . . . His concert performances (there are a few here) carry an extra frisson -- notably, he plays the "Waldstein" with tightrope bravura in a reading that takes risks successfully . . . this cycle is a milestone in the history of the Beethoven piano sonatas . . . [its completion is] a boon to collectors.

Die Genauigkeit im Umgang mit dem Notentext bleibt der Maßstab, kompromisslose Klarheit in der Darstellung oberstes Gebot. Damit entfacht der große Antiromantiker unter den Pianisten ein Feuer, das nicht aus dem Expressionsdruck stammt, sondern aus einem Interesse an schnellen Tempi und rhythmischem Drive, aus scharf gemeißelten Kontrasten und vor allem der gleichbleibend artistischen Brillanz seines Spiels.

. . . clear, bright, detailed piano tone . . . The analogue recordings (technically exceptional for the time) still sound well. An important set.

Pollinis technische Meisterschaft ist nur ein Vehikel, um Erkenntnisse zu transportieren . . . [der Italiener] hat immer die Gesamtarchitektur des Werkes im Auge. Manchmal übertreibt er, um Strukturen aufzuzeigen oder auch mal mit einer Begleitfigur zu verstören. Sein Spiel ist nicht immer ausgewogen, aber stets aufwühlend und hochemotional. Pollini bringt den Hörer gerade durch seine Expressivität zum Nachdenken. Sein gestalterischer Wille ist in jedem Takt spürbar . . . [Pollini zeigt ] bereits in den frühen, Joseph Haydn gewidmeten Sonaten op. 2 aus dem Jahr 1795, wie viel Revolutionäres hier angelegt ist. Der erzählerische Bogen, den er im zarten Adagio der C-Dur-Sonate spannt, kulminiert in einem großen Drama. Das abschließende Allegro wirkt in seiner zugespitzten Virtuosität fast schon surreal. Gerade mit seiner Rechten sorgt Pollini immer für eine klare Phrasierung. Deutlichkeit ist ihm wichtiger als Klangfarbe oder ein Superpianissimo . . . In der "Pathétique" auf der dritten CD findet Pollini eine ideale Balance zwischen Freiheit und Strenge. Seine "Appassionata" strotzt nur so vor Energie gerade in den Tonrepetitionen. Im Adagio sostenuto der "Hammerklaviersonate" op. 106 entwickelt er deren gewaltige Architektur aus einem verinnerlichten Gestus. Die Polyphonie des streng gestalteten Fugenfinales wird durch die gleiche Intensität der rechten und linken Hand eindrucksvoll erlebbar. Es ist besonders Pollinis rhythmische Genauigkeit, die der letzten Sonate op. 111 auch im Pianissimo Spannung verleiht. Die Sechzehntel im Kopfsatz sind kein Laufwerk, sondern gleichen existenziellen Erschütterungen.

. . . ein Aristokrat am Flügel, radikal kultiviert, extrem vital, aber nie in Extreme verfallend. Jede Sonate ist ein Wurf, ein Dokument und mehr noch: ein Definitivum. Kein Rest, der irgendwie ungelöst bliebe -- alles hat hier seine Ordnung, seine Form gefunden. Intellektuelle Schärfe und konzentrierte Emotionalität gehen bei Pollinis Beethoven Hand in Hand . . . Mit seiner Beethoven-Totale hat er sich ein Denkmal gesetzt.

C'est l'aboutissement de 40 années d'un travail continu . . . Travail sur la forme, l'architecture, l'énergie que le grand oeuvre dans sa totalité absorbante ne manque pas de susciter d'un regard globalisant, c'est aussi selon les périodes une réflexion sur les moyens de l'interprète pour exprimer le souffle visionnaire et l'extrême modernité de Beethoven . . . Le pianiste dirigea Rossini comme chef: l'inventivité et la facétie, comme Mozart et comme Haydn; voilà qui lui permet de colorer le dernier Beethoven, le plus impressionnant, le plus complexe et difficile aussi (ses fugues qui semblent retrouver la concision inspirée de J.S. Bach). Mais toujours Pollini y glisse le flux de la vie, le nerf tendu par un indéfectible espoir fraternel. Voilà qui renforce la haute valeur de son intégrale Beethoven . . . [dans les trois premières Sonates,] Pollini captive par la clarté et la construction de son jeu. La fougue virile beethovénienne s'entend naturellement dans le jeu . . . d'un Pollini très engagé: la fureur de Beethoven, sa sanguinité conquérante profite à l'interprète capable de prendre tous les risques, mesurés cependant à l'aulne de l'élégance . . . [les Sonates de l'epoque de "l'Heroique" et de "Fidelio"]: Pollini éclaire la pensée continue d'un compositeur en perpétuelle recherche: un Picasso avant l'heure . . . l'élévation et le souffle désormais époustouflants dialoguent avec des plongées introspectives d'une profondeur renouvelée Acrobate et poète, conscient des risques encourus, Pollini est capable de vertigineux contrastes . . . Le jeu du pianiste suit le souffle, accompagne chaque respiration de chaque phrase, joue l'expressivité comme un dernier soubresaut: une vitalité ardente, un feu intact que colore à peine l'ivresse éperdue échevelée des épisodes plus retenus (écoutez les dernières tendresses agiles, presque insouciantes de l'opus 49 . . . Pollini / Beethoven, l'équation positive? Porté par une connivence heureuse, l'interprète sert comme peu l'art de son maître. Le jeu respecte à la lettre l'activité et l'embrasement de chaque partition. La vivacité électrise, l'élégance caresse, la vision convainc. Totalement. Coffret événement.

Pour le répertoire classique et romantique, il effectue un travail intellectuel remarquable respectant le texte au plus près, tout en livrant des interprétations de grande intensité. C'est ce travail qui a permis à Pollini de se confronter d'emblée, dans les années 70 pour le disque, aux toutes dernières Sonates de Beethoven (nos. 28 à 32) avec plénitude, puissance et rigueur sans pareilles. Ensuite, peu à peu, Pollini a bâti patiemment son intégrale beethovenienne avec les mêmes qualités et la même honnêteté artistiques, jusqu'aux Sonates op. 31 et op. 49 . . .

On ne peut pas parler du Beethoven de Pollini, mais de plusieurs. Une première période s'étend de 1975 à 1977, celle des cinq dernières sonates: limpidité et puissance, technique d'acier et architecture lucide (impressionnante "Hammerklavier" et 28e qui reste une de ses plus belles réussites) . . . Autour de 1990, "Les Adieux", lapidaires, d'une lisibilité fanatique, seront plus ferraillants qu'exaltants . . . Une "Waldstein" presque moelleuse (révolution pollinesque) amorce en 1997 un tournant qui se confirme en 2002 . . . Splendide de controle, de contrastes, de variété de touchers, de nuances, il transfigure les 5e et 6e, fait resplendir avec une étonnante éloquence les 7e et "Pathétique". Cette nouvelle rondeur du son les captations se sont considérablement améliorées -- opère des miracles dans les Opus 54 et 78 . . . Une chose n'a pas changé en quarante ans: ce serviteur de la musique aborde chaque partition, y compris la plus modeste, avec la poigne, la hauteur de vue, l'autorité douloureuse . . . de celui qui, au piano, semble toujours jouer sa vie.