Having been troubled again in recent years by the hand problem that originated in the 1990s when a bone abnormality on his thumb required a series of career-threatening operations, Murray Perahia has lost no time in recording whenever fit enough. He released his acclaimed album of Bach Partitas in early summer, now followed by his interpretations of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Nos 9, 10, 12 and 15, an unusual grouping that presumably represents the first instalment of his planned Urtext edition of the complete sonata series.
Opening with the "Piano Sonata No 12 in A-flat major, Opus 26", one is immediately struck by Perahia's poised, stately progress through the opening movement. The more animated second movement – unusually, a scherzo, Beethoven effectively turning the sonata form on its head – sets up the dirge-like final movement, the Funeral March For a Dead Hero. The two Opus 14 Sonatas (No 9 in E major, and No 10 in G major) are earlier, shorter, and simpler, the former boasting a particularly pleasing melodic motif and repetitive form.
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