Home  |  Hi-Fi Audio Reviews  Audiophile Shows Partner Mags  News       

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Ludwig van Beethoven
The 32 Piano Sonatas
Paul Lewis, Piano
Review By Wayne Donnelly

Click here to e-mail reviewer

 

  Between 2005 and 2007 Paul Lewis played all of the Beethoven sonatas in recital, and this beautifully packaged 10-CD set represents his thoughts on this monument of the piano literature at the midpoint of his career. Lewis is still young enough to perhaps offer another cycle 15 or 20 years down the road, and I hope I'm around to hear it if he does. But fear not — this present release offers much food for thought, and is a worthy competitor in the Beethoven cycle sweepstakes.

Lewis is a technically most accomplished pianist, well up to the challenges Beethoven throws in his path. But I would not consider these performances especially virtuosic in approach. He tends to take structure as his primary goal, typically creating a well organized, organically progressing rendition of each sonata. As a result, some of the most famous of these works — e.g. the "Apassionata" or the "Hammerklavie" — receive somewhat sober interpretations that lack the visceral impact produced by other great pianists. But Lewis frequently illuminates some of the less celebrated pieces with truly original and sometimes startlingly original insights. In that respect this cycle reminds me of two others in my collection: the nonpariel Schnabel mono set and the similarly self-effacing cycle by Richard Goode, another pianist more interested in structure than virtuosity. It is not that Lewis actually sounds like those artists; his sonority is darker than either of them. The similarity is more in the approach, which values the lesser known works as fully as the more celebrated ones.

Harmonia Mundi, as expected, provides the usual well-designed package, and the piano sound is generally excellent, never less than very good. Ultimately, these sonatas defy the notion of a single definitive cycle, as suggested by the 12+ inches of shelf space, LP and CD, which interpretations of these works occupy in my collection. But the "clmpleat” Beethoven collector will find enough new pleasures in this set to add it to whatever previous versions are already owned. After a few months of living with this collection, this writer is not even beginning to tire of Lewis's vision for these masterpieces.

 

 

Performance:

Enjoyment:

Sound Quality:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Premium Audio Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Superior Audio Gear Reviews

 

Videos
Our Featured Videos

 


Show Reports
Montreal Audiofest 2024 Report

Southwest Audio Fest 2024
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2024
Capital Audiofest 2023 Report
Toronto Audiofest 2023 Report
UK Audio Show 2023 Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Report
T.H.E. Show 2023 Report
HIGH END Munich 2023
Australian Hi-Fi Show 2023 Report
AXPONA 2023 Show Report
...More Show Reports

 

Other
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

 


Industry & Music News

High-End Premium Audio & Music News

 

Partner Print Magazines
audioXpress
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

 

 

     

Home   |   Hi-Fi Audio Reviews   |   News   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright©  1995 - 2024  Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.