Classical Music Home

The World's Leading Classical Music Group

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search
in
 
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews



 
See latest reviews of other albums...


Bryce Morrison
Gramophone, November 2006

After an alarmingly long delay Naxos's "Great Pianists - Mosieiwitch" continues with Vol 9. So here, thankfully, is an incomparable pianist admired this side of idolatry by, among others, Rachmaninov and, later, Bolet in Beethoven. Here, in Beethoven, his performances sweeping all earnestness and solemnity to the winds with a debonair, scintillating ease and elegance. Rarely can the term "lightweight" have come to seem such a super-fine virtue in Beethoven, an approach as far from the Schnabel tradition as possible. Moiseiwitsch was a virtuoso in the most aristocratic sense, incomparably fleet and vivacious in the Pathétique's Allegro di molto con brio, coolly without falseness or special pleading in the Adagio, sleek and feline in the finale. He eases his way into the Moonlight's Allegretto with typical insouciance and you can only marvel at his dazzling and propulsive spin through the Waldstein.

True, there are many endearingly old-fashioned touches - a luxuriant change of tempo for the second subject, the odd unmarked arpeggiation for added spice - but everything is as true as it is personal. The encores by Beethoven, including the composer's elaborate first thoughts for the Waldstein's slow movement, Scarlatti-Tausig and Weber (has anyone ever played the Moto perpetuo from the C major Sonata with such nonchalant grace and brilliance or altered the final page so mischievously?) are all vintage.

Such playing is beyond price and to have Moiseiwitsch's Chopin and, indeed, everything else on Naxos's super-bargain price would be musical glory indeed. The sound of the recordings has come up excellently and this issue is another indelible reminder of a sadly far gone age.




Anthony Clarke
Limelight Magazine, November 2006

These are fascinating historical recordings by one of Russia's most famous exports of the early 20th century. All three of the Beethoven piano sonatas were recorded in wartime Britain around 1941, while Moiseiwitsch was furiously touring the country giving fundraising concerts. All of the issued sides of these recordings came from his very first take. That is not necessarily a good thing. His account of the Moonlight Sonata (No. 14) sounds too impetuous, especially in the scurrying final movement, in which he seems too concerned with dramatically chopping-off notes at their very birth. But the Pathetique (No.8), is played with individuality and sensitivity, while the Waldstein (No. 21) is a great achievement, with all the dynamism, thought and timing which seemed in some short supply on the Moonlight. It is a great performance, which I would stand alongside those of Arthur Schnabel and Emil Gilels. The transfers from shellac 78s have been done by one of the masters in this area, Ward Marston. He seems to have not had the greatest material to work with. Although the hisses, clicks and scratches of the old surfaces have been subdued, these do sound noisier than most reissues from Naxos. There is also a certain plumminess in the overall quality of sound - a slightly bassy, over-resonant tone which comes over as acoustically over­rich, and for which we can only blame the original recording engineers. The three encore items are pleasant enough filler­items.



Robert Matthew-Walker
International Record Review, November 2006

From an earlier generation of pianists, Naxos has issued Volume 9 in its Benno Moiseiwitsch series, containing the Pathetique, Moonligbt and Waldstein Sonatas, plus the Andante favori and C major Rondo, Op. 50 No.1, with two 'encores' ­Scarlatti/Tausig and Weber - all recorded between 1927 and 1950. The three sonatas date from 1941-42 and certainly belong to a school of pianism that is lost today. Not that there should be a revival of the Leschetizky school of interpretation - if these accounts are anything to go by - but when, as Moiseiwitsch did, a boy of just nine years old wins the Anton Rubinstein Prize and goes on to become one of the best-loved pianists before the public (certainly with regard to Great Britain), then his recordings eminently deserve reissue. There is little doubt that Moiseiwitsch was a great pianist, but his approach to Beethoven might raise a few eyebrows today, accustomed as we have become to what we regard as textural and stylistic (if not timbral) authenticity. Moiseiwitsch's tempos tend to be very fast in Allegra movements, but he produces a golden range of tone-colour in the Adagio cantabile in the Pathetique, and his reading of the first movement of the Moonlight is remarkable for its characterization and delineation of each strand. I also particularly admired the finale of the Waldstein. Aspiring pianists should hear these individual and intensely musical interpretations, which will bring back fond memories for older collectors



Robert Matthew-Walker
International Record Review, November 2006

From an earlier generation of pianists, Naxos has issued Volume 9 in its Benno Moiseiwitsch series, containing the Pathetique, Moonligbt and Waldstein Sonatas, plus the Andante favori and C major Rondo, Op. 50 No.1, with two 'encores' ­Scarlatti/Tausig and Weber - all recorded between 1927 and 1950. The three sonatas date from 1941-42 and certainly belong to a school of pianism that is lost today. Not that there should be a revival of the Leschetizky school of interpretation - if these accounts are anything to go by - but when, as Moiseiwitsch did, a boy of just nine years old wins the Anton Rubinstein Prize and goes on to become one of the best-loved pianists before the public (certainly with regard to Great Britain), then his recordings eminently deserve reissue. There is little doubt that Moiseiwitsch was a great pianist, but his approach to Beethoven might raise a few eyebrows today, accustomed as we have become to what we regard as textural and stylistic (if not timbral) authenticity. Moiseiwitsch's tempos tend to be very fast in Allegra movements, but he produces a golden range of tone-colour in the Adagio cantabile in the Pathetique, and his reading of the first movement of the Moonlight is remarkable for its characterization and delineation of each strand. I also particularly admired the finale of the Waldstein. Aspiring pianists should hear these individual and intensely musical interpretations, which will bring back fond memories for older collectors



Gramophone, October 2006

View PDF  





Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
3:58:49 AM, 14 July 2014
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2014 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
-212-
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.