Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: 'A Single Breath: Beethoven's Last Three Piano Sonatas'

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: 'A Single Breath: Beethoven's Last Three Piano Sonatas'

Article excerpt

Beethoven

'A Single Breath: Beethoven's Last Three Piano Sonatas'

Piano Sonatas--No 30, Op 109;

No 31, Op 110; No 32, Op 111

Beth Levin pf

Navona (F) NV5908 (67' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Brooklyn-based pianist takes on Beethoven's final trilogy

The slightly airless and nasal qualities of this otherwise full-bodied recording may be due to the hazards of reproducing a large concert grand in a relatively small venue. Or perhaps it's the instrument, which does not ideally hold its tuning in the higher register. In any event, Beth Levin's expansive and free-flowing way with Op 109's Vivace, ma non troppo will remind listeners of the young Barenboim, although she goes her own way regarding rubato and accents. She tempers the Prestissimo's fury but without compromising the music's quick dynamic contrasts, even if the quiet central section is a tad rounded-off. The third movement's long playing time is due to Levin's unusually slow and hauntingly sustained statements of the theme, framing her intensely expressive treatment of the variations proper. …

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