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Discussion: Mozart: Piano Sonatas - Brendel

Posts: 14
Page: 1 2 next

Post by brenda December 5, 2006 (1 of 14)
Just my own 2 pennies worth after Beagle's recent review, which is that this disc sounds so-so in stereo only but in multi-channel, like the Pollini polonaises, it really comes into its own. The sound is ideal, IMHO, - warm and spacious, with none of the over-reverberance MWagner finds. The disc was recorded in m/c by a terrific engineer and it has to be heard in m/c to reveal its glories. The great sound also serves to aid Brendel's performance, adding a sense of outreach and warmth that can sometimes feel lacking in the playing itself. Brenda

Post by Peter December 5, 2006 (2 of 14)
brenda said:

Just my own 2 pennies worth after Beagle's recent review, which is that this disc sounds so-so in stereo only but in multi-channel, like the Pollini polonaises, it really comes into its own......

Brenda, you beat me to it. I agree with you 100%. In fact, I took this disc with me when I went to audition MC as it was the only MC piano recording I had at the time. Whereas I felt the sound to have a rather artificial reverb in stereo, the difference in MC was astonishing, and the disc as a whole was more satisfying when the sound and the playing came into focus. As you say, the stereo mix doesn't tell the whole story as far as Brendel's playing is concerned. I do find this extraordinary; it's like two different performances.

(The systems I auditioned included mine with extra speakers.)

Post by Beagle December 6, 2006 (3 of 14)
brenda said:
... it really comes into its own.

Brendel's long-term relationship with Martha de Francisco, his recording engineer, is almost legendary --, so I expected more sound from this sacd than I heard. I can understand that MC could be different, viz. very good. Enjoy-enjoy, and never mind us luddite 2-channelers.

But do I hear a hint of disappointment in Brendel's playing here? "The great sound also serves to aid Brendel's performance". He does sound more involved in other discs (rbcd) which I have. Perhaps I am too unkind to his straight-forward playing, but I do get a hell of a lot more enjoyment from Uchida. Do you have her discs?

Post by terence December 6, 2006 (4 of 14)
a problem i have with brendel is the noises he often makes when playing.

are there many of these audible in the MC mix?

Post by Peter December 6, 2006 (5 of 14)
Brendel plays a bit too seriously; I've heard some of Uchida's sonata recordings and I think she brings out the humour and more light and shade. Still, I've found this Brendel disc has grown on me over the past year or so. I only heard the first sonata in MC so can't comment on noises.

Post by Beagle December 6, 2006 (6 of 14)
terence said:
a problem i have with brendel is the noises he often makes when playing.
are there many of these audible in the MC mix?

He's a singer in the Glenn Gould tradition. It's definitely in the stereo version, maybe it's warmer and richer in surround, dunno.

Post by brenda December 7, 2006 (7 of 14)
Beagle said: I do get a hell of a lot more enjoyment from Uchida. Do you have her discs?
I do have a few, but less than I used to as I started to find her playing very mannered. A fine pianist but not, IMHO, a great one, or one for all seasons. B

Post by Windsurfer December 7, 2006 (8 of 14)
brenda said:

A fine pianist but not, IMHO, a great one, or one for all seasons. B

As a huge admirer of Uchida, this view is interesting to say the least. I and some close friends find her very compelling. We have been privileged to hear her twice at Union College over in Schenectady NY. I can't really remember the first time, but she did an all Mozart recital last spring which was utterly compelling. My friend Bill Hemmings said: "Musically speaking, she can take me anywhere she wants to go. I never before have had such an absorbing musical experience."

While I was not quite that enthusiastic, I was certainly very enthusiastic. On evidence of that evening of Mozart, I must say she is IMO, a very fine pianist indeed. I would perhaps even say a great one.

But if we all held the same opinions, it would be a less interesting world.

Post by Peter December 7, 2006 (9 of 14)
I've had another listen to Brendel's recording. A lot of it is wonderful, some a trifle po-faced, some a bit laboured, and I did hear a quiet grunt or two.

The stereo mix is disappointing, bathed in what seems to me like artificial acoustic, deserving no more than three stars. I note from the booklet that the recording engineer is given credit for the MC mix. I didn't really enjoy listening today but will keep this one for when I eventually metamorphose into MC.

Post by ramesh December 7, 2006 (10 of 14)
Windsurfer said:

As a huge admirer of Uchida, this view is interesting to say the least. I and some close friends find her very compelling. We have been privileged to hear her twice at Union College over in Schenectady NY. I can't really remember the first time, but she did an all Mozart recital last spring which was utterly compelling. My friend Bill Hemmings said: "Musically speaking, she can take me anywhere she wants to go. I never before have had such an absorbing musical experience."

While I was not quite that enthusiastic, I was certainly very enthusiastic. On evidence of that evening of Mozart, I must say she is IMO, a very fine pianist indeed. I would perhaps even say a great one.

But if we all held the same opinions, it would be a less interesting world.

Haven't heard many of her Mozart sonatas. But her A minor rondo, k 511, is the best I've ever heard. It's on the Philips Great pianists set, and I think it's sourced from a concert, rather than being a studio recording.

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