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Robert Cummings
Classical Net, May 2017

The early sonatas—#19 & 20—have an appealing freshness and youthful spirit. The Mozart-tinged First Sonata also struck me as a stronger work than I had previously thought. Wisely, Buchbinder eschews playing the repeats of the development section and reprise in the first movement of Sonata #2, though he of course plays the exposition repeat. Overall, he gives this sonata the combination of joy, humor and grandeur, all in proper measure. The Largo Appassionato may not be paced as slowly as many would like, but Buchbinder doesn’t shortchange the music’s sense of either angst or nobility.

The Third Sonata is a delight, as Buchbinder deftly captures all the humor and mischief in the first movement, the solemn but lovely lyricism and mystery in the second, the playfulness of the Scherzo and the merriment of the finale. Buchbinder plays the Sixth Sonata as well as I’ve ever heard it: for once the finale doesn’t sound rushed or brittle, but exudes cheer and elegance, even if his tempo isn’t quite presto. His Pathetique is grim and filled with tension, and he makes an excellent case for #11, whose first movement may strike many as quirky and not quite first-rate Beethoven.

Another successful performance here is Buchbinder’s Hammerklavier, which he shapes into an epic statement, while managing almost miraculously to make it sound less didactic than it usually does. The first two movements get splendid performances and, for once, the third movement at 15:01 certainly doesn’t drag… © 2017 Classical Net Read complete review



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, March 2017

What one gets from Buchbinder in place of revelation or inspirational insights into these exhaustively explored works is pianism of remarkable constancy, uniformity, and trustworthiness. It’s as if Buchbinder, who has been playing Beethoven’s sonatas his entire life, is the safe and reliable guide in whose hands we put ourselves to take us on this journey; and never once during the course of it do we have cause to feel insecure. I would have to say that for unfailing technique, evenness of tone, faithfulness to the letter and spirit of the scores, and overall reliability of execution and interpretation, you will not do better than Buchbinder’s new Beethoven sonata cycle. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review





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