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384Re: [beethovensonatas] RE: New Message about Group and Amazon Reviews

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  • wkasimer
    Oct 13, 2013
      Richard writes:

      [comparison with Kempff snipped]

      > Overall, I believe that Ashkenazy demonstrates all the same qualities
      > of beauty as Kempff, but one doesn't find one's attention called to
      > them. Instead, the effect on me is energy and drama.

      While I'm not a big fan of Kempff's Beethoven either - "delicate" and "small-scale" isn't what I want in Beethoven. But I don't hear much energy or drama in Ashkenazy's version, either. It's closer to the tempo that I want to hear, but still not quite fast enough, and he does little to shape his phrases, right from the start of the first movement. I feel as though I'm listening to a very gifted Julliard graduate who doesn't have much imagination, content to make nice sounds.

      > Bill, if there are some other recordings of Op 2-1 that you find
      > superior, I'd be willing to try to listen to them and respond as well
      > as I can in comparison to the Ashkenazy recording.

      You and I have already mentioned some of them - Kovacevich (his tempo choices are often on the edge, but they work, at least for me), Gulda (the second commercial recording), Schnabel, Korstick, Goodyear, Buchbinder. They all provide a lot more in terms of drama and imagination than does Ashkenazy. While I can't put my hands on it, I think that I recall a really exceptional version by Kocsis. Even HJ Lim, while sometimes a little brutal, provides more of what I think that Beethoven asks for.

      To be honest, I suspect that neither of us will "convert" the other - we have, I think, very different ideas about how Beethoven should be played.

      > You also asked for suggestions of other Beethoven sonata performances
      > by Ashkenazy that I consider excellent. I would recommend Op 10-3,
      > 31-2 (Tempest), and 101. Those are all cases in which I find
      > Ashkenazy's recording to be the best of which I am aware.

      Thanks - I will give those a try.

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