Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32 Alexandre Tharaud

Cover Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32

Album info



Label: Warner Classics

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Instrumental

Artist: Alexandre Tharaud

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827): Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109:
  • 1I. Vivace ma non troppo - Adagio espressivo03:17
  • 2II. Prestissimo02:18
  • 3III. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo12:50
  • Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat Major, Op. 110:
  • 4I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo06:30
  • 5II. Allegro molto02:19
  • 6III. Adagio, ma non troppo - Fuga; Allegro, ma non troppo10:15
  • Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111:
  • 7I. Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato08:42
  • 8II. Arietta - Adagio molto semplice e cantabile15:43
  • Total Runtime01:01:54

Info for Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32

Alexandre Tharaud records Beethoven for the first time! Beethoven’s last three sonatas, Nos. 30, 31, 32, composed 1820-22 and are considered some of the most difficult works in the repertoire. The NY Times said “[Alexandre Tharaud] imbued the opening of Beethoven’s Sonata No.31 (Op. 110) with a poetic introspection...”

"Alexandre Tharaud is a musician of wide interests, as compelling in the Baroque as he is delightful in a favourite disc of mine, ‘Le boeuf sur le toit’ (12/12). Now he has gone mainstream, with Beethoven’s last three sonatas.

He brings to Op 109’s opening movement a suitable effortlessness, contrasting a billowing airiness with a steelier approach to the recitative-like writing. One of Tharaud’s stylistic traits is clarity of fingerwork and that is certainly much in evidence in the brief Prestissimo Scherzo, but I found the accentuation somewhat underwhelming, which lessened the sense of contrast that musicians such as Kovacevich and Annie Fischer find. On the other hand, Tharaud brings to the theme on which the finale variations are based a solemnity without sounding portentous, the following variations by turn poised (No 1) and energetic (No 3), with the fugal writing of No 5 clearly etched. But the closing moments of the sonata don’t reach the transcendental state of, say, Uchida.

The same traits come through in the remaining two sonatas. To generalise, Tharaud is most convincing in the more moderately tempered music: he imbues the first movement of Op 110 with a refreshing airiness but the second (Allegro molto) is slightly careful-sounding, the rough edges sanded smooth. How much more drive Uchida finds here without ever resorting to ugliness. Whereas she has you hanging on her every note, Tharaud sounds as if he’s still feeling his way in this repertoire. The following Adagio is beautifully shaded, and when the fugue enters he gives it a Bachian feel, molto legato, pacing the build-up to the climax well. But as the emotional temperature hots up, Tharaud can’t find the necessary edge of desperation.

That is true of the first movement of Op 111 too, whose opening misses the vital tension that makes Bavouzet’s version stand out, with his grandeur of vision in the Maestoso and a mightiness of intent in the following Allegro. Tharaud’s Arietta theme is, on the other hand, tenderly given, and I liked his sense of growth as the variations develop. I was, however, slightly surprised he didn’t make more of the anarchically jazzy third one, though the high-lying writing in the fourth is given an iridescent glow. And yet, as the trilling travels ever higher up the keyboard, it’s not as ethereal in effect as the finest, Uchida and Levit both extraordinarily intense by comparison. While Tharaud’s quiet coda is suitably valedictory, it doesn’t feel as if he has travelled as far as some in this work." (Harriet Smith, Gramophone)

Alexandre Tharaud, piano

Alexandre Tharaud
For Harmonia Mundi, Alexandre made a series of successful and award winning recordings which included discs of Rameau, Ravel (complete piano works), Bach (Italian Concerti), Couperin, Satie. He has recorded a series of Chopin discs; the complete waltzes and twenty four preludes as well as a personal selection, Journal Intime, which marked his first release with EMI Classics. Subsequent, award winning releases include JS Bach’s keyboard concertos and a selection of Scarlatti’s sonatas.

In recent seasons, Alexandre has appeared at the Köln Philharmonie, Bern Casino, Essen Philharmonie, South Bank piano series, Rudolfinum in Prague, Krakow Philharmonic, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Cité de la Musique, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, John F Kennedy Centre and Hoam Art Hall in Seoul. His festival credits include ‘Piano aux Jacobins', La Roque d'Anthéron, BBC PROMS, Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, Sacrum-Profanum in Krakow, Schleswig-Holstein and the Rimini festival.

Alexandre is a Resident Artist at the MC2 in Grenoble, and was the Artistic Director of the Amadeus festival in Switzerland in 2011.

As a soloist, Alexandre has performed with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, Umea Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken,

Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Taïwan National Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and the Bolchoi Theatre Orchestra. Next season will see him perform Poulenc’s concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

His close collaboration with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras has led to invitations to perform at the most prestigious halls around the world and recordings of three successful CDs (Hungarian cello music, Arpeggione, Debussy/Poulenc).

Alexandre's adventurous approach to programming has resulted in a number of commissions and premières; he has toured extensively in Europe with his ‘Hommages à Rameau' and ‘Hommage à Couperin' programmes which feature works by the old masters interwoven with tributes by contemporary composers. May saw the premiere of Pianosong; a selection of contemporary works composed after popular songs from the 1960s-80s. He has also just premiered French composer Gérard Pesson’s new piano concerto, together with the Tonhalle.

Booklet for Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32

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