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Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonatas - Volume 5

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven
Title: Piano Sonatas - Volume 5
Released: 1997
Label: Hungaroton Classics
Time: 60:56
Appears with:
Category: Classic
Rating: *********** (10/10)
Media type: CD
Purchase date:  2001.01.19
Price in €: 12,50
Web address: www.hungaroton.hu

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

Sonata in E minor Op. 90 - 12:12
[1] I. Con vivacita e sempre con sentimento ed espressione - 5:09
[2] II. Non troppo vivace e cantabile assai - 7:03

Sonata in E major Op. 14 No. 1 - 12:54
[3] I. Allegro - 5:54
[4] II. Allegretto - 3:45
[5] III. Rondo. Allegro commodo - 3:09

Sonata in C-sharp minor Op. 27 No. 2 "Mondschein" - 15:59
[6] I. Adagio sostenuto - 6:38
[7] II. Alegretto - 2:07
[8] III. Presto agitato - 7:12

Sonata in A major Op. 101 - 19:28
[9] I. Allegretto ma non troppo con intimissimo sentimento - 4:01
[10] II. Vivace alla Marcia - 5:28
[11] III. Adagio ma non troppo, con affetto - 2:41
[12] IV. Allegro ma non troppo, e con fermezza - 7:14

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l


JÁNOS MÁTYÁS - Engineer, Recording Producer
DÓRA ANTAL - Engineer, Recording Producer
ENDRE RADÁNYI - Balance Engineer
JUDIT LUKÁCS - Balance Engineer
JÁNOS MÁCSAI - Liner Notes

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

Hungaroton 31626-34 9 CDs

Recording Location/Date: Hungaroton Studios, Budapest, Hungary, 1977-78

Ezt az Fischer Annie felvételt, író barátomnál, Ballai Laszló otthonában hallottam elöször. A Holdfény szonátát tette be a CD lejátszóba - elöször Daniel Barenboim elöadásában - majd kontrasztként, Fischer Annie-ében. Barenbiom az egyik, ha nem a legjobb Beethoven zongaramüvek elöadjójaként van nyilvántartva, de különbség ég és föld volt. Barenbiom zseniális elöadása száraznak, mechanikusnak tünt Fischer asszonyéhez képest! Ennyire melodikus, gyönyörüen hullámzó, gyengéden eröteljes elöadást még életemben nem hallottam és valószinleg még nagyon sokáig nem is fogok hallani.

Valószínüleg midkét elöadó látta már a Vierwaldstättersee-ben a telihold tükörképét, de ezt a vizuális élményt Fischer Annie messze jobban és erösebben tudta számomra zeneileg mejeleníteni. Lucernben a Schwezerhof-Quai sétányában az éjjeli holdfényel szemben, egy padon ülve - Fischer asszony Beethovenjét hallgatva egy discman-röl - olyan zenei, kulturális és eszmei élvezetben volt részem, amely egyértelmüen emeli ezt az albumot az eddig általam hallott legjobb 10 közé.

Barenboim (és a többiek, Wilhelm Kempff, Emil Gilels stb.) védelmében ell kell hogy mondjam, Fischer Annie nem egy koncertfelvételt vett fel az albumra, aminek a koncertterem adott pillanatának zenei dinamizmusa esett áldozatul, hanem darabonként, több mint egy éven át füzte össze a szonátát, a Qualiton hangmérnökeinek idegein játszva. Ezzel azonban nem a mü sterilitását érte el, hanem fordítva, minden darab zeneileg és emocionálisan a legjobb helyre került. Èrdekes modon amikor szeretett feleségem számára feltettem két elöadót (Gilels-t és Fischer-t), az ö számára Fischer Annie interpretációja tünt sterilnek és száraznak. Lehet ez a fogékonyság a nemektöl is függ, nem tudom.

Minden esetre ezt az albumot minden zongorarajongónak melegen ajánlom, söt kötelezönek tartom ennek megvételét. Egy nagy csodával ajándékozza meg önmagát az aki nem hagyja ki!

© audio music dot com

My enthusiasm for the Beethoven piano-sonata cycle, recorded by the late Annie Fischer in the 1970s and only now being released by Hungaroton, continues unabated. The combination of those special qualities of musical integrity, restrained but warm expressiveness, and vigorous energy inform her readings of Beethoven in a unique way...the artistic worth of these performances, like Schnabel's, far outweighs the less-than-perfect sound.

Kagan, Fanfare

The current issue of Opus lists 20 complete sets of the Beethoven sonatas, and none of them is entirely satisfactory. This is not surprising; these 32 extraordinary compositions range from strict classicism through passionate romanticism to the most austere expressions of the composer’s thought, from quite simple pieces to those demanding the utmost virtuosity, and nobody can be equally effective in all of them. But some come closer than others, and Annie Fischer comes closest of all.

Fischer (1914-95) was Hungarian, a child prodigy who quickly established an international reputation. She only played in the US for one or two seasons, so we know her work mainly from her relatively few recordings, but those who heard her in concert speak in glowing terms of the spontaneity, power, and beauty of her performances, of her passionate musicality, and of the intensity of her communication with her audiences. She depended always on the inspiration of the moment, never playing a piece the same way twice, and she disliked the emotional sterility of the recording studio. Her way of dealing with this problem was typically idiosyncratic: she recorded only in short takes, repeating them many times in a search for expressive precision (rather than technical perfection), and reluctantly allowing them to be spliced together - though you’d never know it from the seamless flow of the music on these discs.

The provenance of these recordings is unclear. They were commissioned by Hungaroton following a series of concerts in 1976/77 in which she played all the sonatas, and she continued to work on them until the end of her life. Never satisfied, she refused to allow their release, and the program booklet says that "final repairs" were made after her death. In any event, what we hear is quite remarkable - deeply felt, very personal, powerful, and passionate. There are felicities at very turn, far too many to list here. Her tempos are rather fast but never hurried, and her ability to attend to details while maintaining tension, to shape a phrase within a solid framework, and to give natural expression to the spirit of the music, are altogether exceptional.

The only other set that is comparable in musical terms is Schnabel’s, but its 1930s sound disqualifies it for most of today’s listeners. Goode is generally more ingratiating, Kempff lighter and more deft, Frank and Taub more stolid and Germanic; all of these are really very good, but none of them rises to Fischer’s level of consistent excellence. The only drawback to her set is the somewhat dry and hard-edged sound of the piano, but that’s easily overcome by the sheer beauty of her performances.

Copyright © Alexander J. Morin, 1999.

Boston Globe Online

The CD Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 5 with Annie Fischer, piano (Hungaroton HCD 31630) has reached the Richard Dyer's top 10 CD's in category 3. Piano


Boston Globe on 12/13/98

How lucky we are that Hungaroton is releasing Annie Fischer's unapproved studio recordings of the Beethoven sonatas. The great Hungarian was in her sixties when she recorded these but her touch is sure and her interpretation is confident. Fischer was eccentric in life but at the keyboard she lets the music speak for itself. Her combination of the utmost simplicity with unabashed emotion removes layers of interpretive obfuscation and brings us back to Beethoven's original conception. The recorded sound is natural and clean. The Bösendorfer has a woody, bright tone reminiscent of a pianoforte, appropriate to this memento of a great tradition.

Philip Anson - © La Scena Musicale 1997

A glorious rendition of glorious music

This recording, which includes Beethoven's hardest piano sonata, is absolutely glorious. Annie Fischer's playing is at a level of artistic and musical purity that cannot be equalled. Her rendition is about Beethoven, and not about Annie Fischer. I have heard many versions of her sonatas, and many of them have been fabulous. Of them all, however, I think that this is the one of which Beethoven would have most approved. As soon as I heard it, I rushed back to the store and bought as many of the series (there are nine CDs) as they had.

I almost did not buy this CD because its cover made it look like a recording that was done a long time ago, and I was concerned that it would sound old and tinny. I am delighted that I did not allow the cover to deter me. In fact, the recordings of the sonatas were made between the 1970s and the 1990's, and sound magnificent.

A music fan from Bala Cynwyd, PA USA, October 30, 2000

'Classic CD Awards ' top 60 CDs of 1998

The Hungarian pianist Annie Fischer was a perfectionist in the studio; she refused to pass any of her tapes of Beethoven sonatas. Hungaroton has decided, despite this, that they owe it to the musical world to publish the recordings. I have come across no pianist who seems so much in resonance with Beethoven ...

Adrian Jack

...[Annie Fischer] is an artist who communicates a strong but self-effacing identification with the composer. One is not aware of Annie Fischer, pianist playing Beethoven, but rather of Beethoven, heard through the fingers of Annie Fischer...

Fanfare (7-8/98, p.93)

Brilliant, Inspired, Pure Magic

I have been hunting for recordings of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas that express the imagery and magic of this music. Brendel is consistent, Gould is quirky, at times brilliant, Kovacevich is solid, Scnabel is a standard bearer, Goode is magnificent at times. The Annie Fischer renditions however are the closest to musical perfection that I could have ever hoped for. This CD is worth every penny for the soaring rendition of the Pathetique. If you don't feel the piano actually lifting off when this sensitive and expressive virtuoso gives her all in this colossal recording, then I don't know what would ever move you. It is humbling to realize she never consented to the release of these recordings over which she worked on for over 15 years. I am so pleased that they have been offered to the public. I immediately, after hearing this, bought the entire 9 volume series! I cannot recommend this more highly.

jamestthomas from USA, November 27, 1999

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