Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas-No 9

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas-No 9

Article excerpt


Piano Sonatas--No 9, Op 14 No 1; No 16, Op 31 No 1; No 19, Op 49 No 1; No 20, Op 49 No 2; No 26, 'Les adieux', Op 81a

Angela Hewitt pf

Hyperion (F) CDA68131 (75' * DDD)

Angela Hewitt leaves few stones unturned in projecting the linear specificity of Beethoven's style. In Op 31 No 1's first movement, for example, you'll rarely find the left-hand second subject and the sequential right-hand patterns so logically contoured. No doubt Hewitt's authority in Bach informs her sophisticated articulation of the Adagio grazioso's elaborate ornaments (note her fastidiously calibrated trills), achieved with minimum pedal and maximum finger control. For my taste, Hewitt's Allegretto is a tad deliberate and fussy, whereas Jonathan Biss matches her intricate workmanship in faster, more humorous terms. Hewitt's subtle timbral distinctions between detached and sustained passages throughout Op 14 No 1 bring Beethoven's wonderful string quartet arrangement of this sonata to mind.

Hewitt lavishes similar care over the modest Op 49 sonatas. She brings a winsome lilt to No l's finale which makes up for its sedate tempo. If she holds back in No 2's Allegro ma non troppo (here I prefer Francois-Frederic Guy's robust animation), her steadfast legato/detache differentiation in the Menuetto is attractively deadpan. …

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