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Alan Becker
American Record Guide, July 2012

…I will comment in some detail and begin by mentioning that Korstick gets through the Hammerklavier…The first movement’s Allegro whizzes by in less than 9 minutes that at first seems like a “bat out of hell” approach. That Korstick is able to pull it off without technical mishaps is testament to his extraordinary digital abilities. With all of the vigor and speed, he does manage to show some restraint in passages that beg for greater lyricism. It is definitely a performance of great dynamism, and one thrilling to hear. While the composer himself supplied metronome markings, most believe the ones in the faster movements to be unplayable. Apparently Korstick is out to prove them wrong.

The Adagio sostenuto…markedly slow by contrast—perhaps the slowest on record, though it never seems to drag. While Beethoven never asked for it to be this slow, it flows readily and is very well sustained. It is also notably strong on beauty, rich with emotion, and deeply tragic.

The final movement is in keeping with most other performances…If we started out like the proverbial “bat out of hell”, that same bat returns at the end to take your breadth away—all of this with limited pedal and amazing clarity of texture. It is an amazing feat, and one that puts this great Hammerklavier among the top rungs of interpretations.

Needless to say, Korstick contrasts greatly between these pieces. The faster pieces are brusque indeed, while the lyrical ones are as lovely as one can imagine. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

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