The final volume of pianist Paavali Jumppanen’s acclaimed cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas. This volume combines the early Op. 7 and the famous Pathétique sonata together with the Last Sonatas Opp. 109-111 written by Beethoven in the 1820s. Jumppanen has collaborated with numerous contemporary composers and premiering many solo and chamber works for the piano.
Andrea Bacchetti follows his album of sonatas by Baldassarre Galuppi with another little-performed 18th century Venetian, Benedetto Marcello, whose work has a surprisingly modern character. The "Sonata III", for instance, opens with a sequence in which the right hand plays the same note 48 times in rapid succession, while the left cycles quadruplets around it – the kind of gambit you'd expect from a Cage or Feldman, but hardly from a contemporary of Vivaldi. Marcello is said to have once fallen into a grave that opened beneath him, a trauma perhaps responsible for the austere, near-spiritual logic of pieces such as the "Sonata V", where the absence of frills prefigures the enigmatic miniatures of Erik Satie.
Paul Lewis performed all the Beethoven piano sonatas on tour in the USA and Europe between the 2005 and 2007 seasons, in parallel with his complete recording of the cycle for Harmonia Mundi. His interpretation of the Lizst sonata was distinguished by the prestigious Edison Award, while his recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas received two Gramophone Awards in 2008.
Winning first prize at the 1989 Van Cliburn Competition, Alexei Sultanov enjoyed a meteoric rise of epic proportions, with a major recording contract, Carnegie Hall recital, American and European tours, and TV appearances with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and other notables. But Sultanov's star soon fell to Earth as critics would often characterize his bold style in unflattering terms, finding his interpretive manner feral and superficial, and his herculean fortes ostentatious: he broke a string during a performance of the Liszt First Mephisto Waltz at the Cliburn Competition. But the youthful pianist's health soon proved a more formidable opponent than any critic's pen, as a series of strokes sabotaged his career, eventually leaving him paralyzed on his left side after 2001. Though he died at 35, Sultanov left a memorable though controversial legacy. His Prokofiev, Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Scriabin could rivet the listener, while his Beethoven and Mozart might have been less consistently engaging. His recordings, mostly available from Warner Classics, document the enormous talent of this imaginative performer, a pianist unafraid to take interpretive chances.
10 CD box set celebrating the work of the German Beethoven-pianist of international renown, Wilhelm Backhaus. It contains all of his concert recordings, the most popular sonatas and waltz-variations.