Classical CD of the month

How does he do it? A Beethoven piano sonata collection that seems to set out its stall as emphatically ‘modern' and unsentimental, yet ends up deeply affecting.

Name Complete Piano Sonatas, Volume 2
Composer Lugwig van Beethoven
Artists Paul Lewis (pianoforte)
Label Harmonia Mundi

The answer, for me, lies in the fact that Paul Lewis, with consummate skill, ratchets the emotional ante across the various works gradually. Structure comes first, rather than the attention-grabbing effect of the moment, and with structure comes - what? Understanding, perhaps, or emotional penetration.

None of which is to deny Lewis's credentials as a virtuoso of the highest order. He can supply the flourishes with the best, but it is his finely judged touch that lingers in the ear.

Our critic Bryce Morrison says in his review: ‘Here is one of those rare pianists who can charge even a single note or momentary pause with drama and significance and convince you, for example, that his lyrical, often darkly introspective way with Beethoven's pulsing con brio in the Waldstein Sonata is a viable, indeed, memorable alternative to convention.'

Morrison suggests that we may be witnessing the creation of ‘the most musicianly and ultimately satisfying of all recorded Beethoven piano sonata cycles'. You wouldn't bet against it.

James Inverne is editor of Gramophone. A full review is published in the December issue

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

The original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

First COVID-19 vaccine to target Omicron variant approved for use in UK

The MHRA has approved an updated version of the Moderna vaccine that targets both...

Ballot box

Majority of GPs back taking industrial action in the coming year, poll suggests

The majority of GPs support taking industrial action in the coming 12 months to push...

RCGP sign

NHS winter plan does not provide enough support for GPs, warns RCGP

NHS England's winter plan does not include enough measures to support general practice...

NHS sign

Plans to recruit 1,000 new link workers to support GP practices this winter

NHS England has set out plans to recruit an additional 1,000 social prescribing link...

BMA House

BMA prepares to ballot junior doctors on industrial action

Junior doctors will be balloted over industrial action if the government does not...

Typing on a laptop

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following cyber attack

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following the cyber attack on a...