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Beethoven Piano Sonatas Vol 4

Ronald Brautigan (fortepiano)


This may be quite a disturbing CD for those (fewer I trust) as yet unfamiliar with the claim of the fortepiano on our serious attention. I recommend starting with the Moonlight, in which the grave, mellow tones of the Walter/McNulty instrument give a new and attractive slant on the familiar music.

The interpretation is otherwise not unusual, but Brautigan's expertise makes for a strong claim to authenticity, quite apart from familiarity with the numerous standard versions on sale.

Even after probably enjoying this, you may still be shocked by the so-called Pastorale which is far from suggesting the calm idyllic countryside one might have associated with some well loved accounts.

It is at first quite brusque, with the repeated bass notes emphasised and a quite different feel, which takes some moments to become used to it. Brautigan characterises strongly each of its four contasted movements, ending with a helter-skelter despatch of the fearsome final page.

All in all a highly desirable CD by one of the best proponents of the fortepiano now before the public. This is Volume 4, and encourages exploration of the earlier volumes and those still to come.

An important series.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See PGW's ***** review of Brautigan's Haydn Sonatas Volume 4