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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol. 4 / Timothy Ehlen, piano

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 2 no 3
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 6 in F major, Op. 10 no 2
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Currently Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Timothy Ehlen has performed extensively in the United States and Europe as a soloist and chamber player. The New York Times raved that his "playing was filled with elegant personality... recalled bygone artists like Robert Casadesus and, especially Walter Gieseking in their mastery of both 18th century and impressionist music... immaculate technique."

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Champaign, IL (03/30/2010).



Reviews

Acceptable Beethoven
This disc consists of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, No. 6 in F Major, No. 23 (“Appassionata”) in F Minor, and No. 31 in A-flat Major. All of these are extremely difficult pieces, but Sonata No. 3 certainly makes the performer jump right out of the gate. And while the second movement provides a slight (although technically no less challenging) respite, the piece as a whole does not quite sizzle in this recording. It is not played poorly, but there seems to be “something” that is missing, at least for this listener. The same is true for Mr. Ehlen’s interpretation of Sonata No. 6. Again, the piece isn’t played badly, but there seems to be a sense of precision that is subtly missing. The 3rd movement Finale is much more to taste. Sonata No. 31, which contains many emotionally driven variations in its 3rd movement, also falls a bit short for me. This piece usually captivates me, but the listener doesn’t quite feel that the performer is enmeshed in the inner workings here even though just playing the piece itself is a Herculean effort.

The Appassionata, however, is a different story. Mr. Ehlen comes to life here, playing the opening movement with the proper sense of tension and lyricism, the second movement with an appropriate sense of propriety and checked/subdued emotionalism, and the last with an unending supply of feverishly driven energy. This piece is the highlight of the recording, and the performance is much more to my liking than the other selections.

In all fairness, I am extremely picky about Beethoven’s music. Someone less fussy would likely enjoy all of the selections on this disc very much, and as background music this set of performances serves well – but if you want to be transported into Beethoven’s precise, feverishly driven noble world you might be better served elsewhere.

Submitted on 01/05/12 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 2 no 3
  • Performer: Timothy Ehlen (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1794-95.
  • Running Time: 21 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1794-1795

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 6 in F major, Op. 10 no 2
  • Performer: Timothy Ehlen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1796-1797

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
  • Performer: Timothy Ehlen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1804-1805

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
  • Performer: Timothy Ehlen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1821-1822
  • Studio/Live: Live