Five of the best Beethoven sonata cycles

We name some of the finest examples of Beethoven’s piano sonatas on disc

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Five of the best Beethoven sonata cycles
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Artur Schnabel

Warner Classics 9029597507

Recorded between 1932 and 1938, this first-ever recording of the complete sonatas has remained a classic account.

 

 

Wilhelm Kempff

DG 477 7958

The German pianist recorded the cycle several times; DG’s remastered stereo version was released in 2008. 

 

 

Friedrich Gulda

Orfeo C808109L

The Austrian pianist made three recordings of beethoven’s sonatas. This is the first, recorded for Austrian radio.

 

 

Ronald Brautigam

BIS BIS2000

Swedish keyboardist Ronald Brautigam’s fortepiano recordings of the Beethoven sonatas for BIS made between 2004 and 2010 are now gathered together in one box. Brautigam plays on Paul McNulty’s replicas of original instruments dating from 1788 to 1819.

 

 

Stephen Kovacevich

Warner 9029586922

Kovacevich gets to the heart of Beethoven’s sonatas with playing that teeters on the edge of sanity, roars with ferocious power and frequently moves the listener to tears. The finest to date.

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