Idil Biret is a talented Turkish pianist, who has recorded the entire catalog of Beethoven Piano Sonatas on her own label. This disc contains Piano Sonatas 11, 16, and 17, three rarely heard works, and it is good to hear Biret’s interpretation. Sonata No. 11 in B-flat major, Op. 22, is certainly a virtuosic work, filled with long rhythmic passages and technical difficulties, and Biret does not falter here. She does seem to approach the work a bit more slowly and relaxed than I felt comfortable with – she doesn’t play it as though it is boring, but it does not grab the listener and make them pay attention, and this Sonata should definitely do that.
Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31, No. 1, is much more to taste, particularly the 2nd movement which is affectionately played as befits the nature of the musical material Beethoven gives us here. The 3rd movement is a more energetic piece, finishing with a rapid fire sequence of notes and a relatively quiet ending. As for Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, the more authoritarian Beethoven is certainly present here in the 1st movement (Largo – Allegro), but the smoothness/lack of tension in spots does the piece a disservice. The 3rd movement (Allegretto) is definitely better in this respect, but again Biret’s approach seems a touch too laid back and I found this to be off-putting.
The sound of the piano is warm and full, and Biret most definitely has chops. That being said, it was not clear to me that she really “felt” Beethoven’s music inside the same way I do – her interpretation didn’t captivate me and I came away wanting more of “something”. I’m not disappointed that I have this recording, but I had hoped to be a bit more satisfied than I turned out to be.
Submitted on 02/21/11 by KlingonOpera