Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Brahms: Beethoven Piano Sonata No 29, 'Hammerklavier', Op 106

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Brahms: Beethoven Piano Sonata No 29, 'Hammerklavier', Op 106

Article excerpt

Beethoven: Brahms

Beethoven Piano Sonata No 29, 'Hammerklavier', Op 106 Brahms Piano Sonata No 1, Op 1 Adam Golka pf First Hand [F] FHR33 (75'*DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

After Brahms performed his First Piano Sonata, a friend mentioned the resemblance between its opening theme and that of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata, to which the composer gruffly replied 'Any ass can hear that!' Since this apocryphal story refuses to die, Adam Golka has decided to couple the works on disc for the first time, so he claims. Taking Brahms's first movement at a genuine, fluid allegro, Golka manages to make the thick staccato chords sound supple without sacrificing their orchestral heft. Although Golka doesn't differentiate the Andante's marcato repeated notes to the multi-dimensional extent of Krystian Zimerman's long-deleted reference version (DG, 6/80), his subtle harmonic inflections and vocally informed legato prove no less exquisite. The Scherzo has impressive rhythmic spring but the Allegro confuoco finale's momentum flags next to Zimerman or Katchen, who goose up the basic pulse to ensure cumulative sweep.

Golka's well-oiled fingers navigate the Beethoven's first-movement technical provocations fluently, with amazingly even trills to boot. …

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