Peer Gynt Opus 23 (Excerpts) Edvard Grieg
A smooth performance of four of Beethoven's piano sonatas from a safe pair of hands.
Repertoire: ‘Pathétique’ No.8 in C minor, Op.13; ‘Tempest’ No. 17 in D minor, Op.31 No.2; ‘Appassionata’ No.23 in F minor, Op.57
Artist: Ingrid Fliter
Label: EMI 094 5732
The Music: If you need to select three Beethoven sonatas out of his 32 - all of which are startling, original and elemental works - the easy way is to pick three with subtitles. The ones on this CD are works of such quality that their monikers are neither here nor there: substantial, serious masterworks that never pall despite their familiarity.
The Performance: Ingrid Fliter, playing with ever-refulgent tone, here gives us the pianistic equivalent of a careful drive. In this musical car, you feel quite safe with her guidance and the security of her approach: you will ride smoothly to your destination and she will show you most of the usual beauty spots en route. But if you’re after greater thrills on the sonatas’ highways and byways, you might be less enthused. Sometimes the wood is lost amid the trees, especially in the last movement of the ‘Tempest’ and the first of the ‘Appassionata’: perfect evenness of touch is fine, but the meaning behind the many notes ideally should feel more complex.
The Verdict: Very beautiful playing, pianistically, but needs to go further in those essential Beethovenian qualities of philosophy, personality and profundity.
Want More? Fliter’s CD of the Chopin waltzes is an absolute gem: gorgeous, tender, colourful interpretations. Highly recommended (EMI, 698 3512).