Nelson Goerner

Beethoven: Sonata No. 29 'Hammerklavier'; Bagatelles Op. 126

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Nelson Goerner is most closely associated with the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, but his recital repertoire also includes works by Ludwig van Beethoven, even though this 2015 CD from Alpha Classics is the first evidence of that fact in his discography. It's late Beethoven, too, which is usually a portent of things to come from most pianists, and the Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, "Hammerklavier" and the Bagatelles, Op. 126 make a serious statement of intent. Goerner's powerful playing in the expansive "Hammerklavier" demonstrates his focused intellect and volatile energy, while his careful control of pacing shows that its large-scale formal considerations never escape his attention. In contrast, the Bagatelles are concentrated bursts of genius that transcend their designation as trifles. Goerner plays them with a combination of gentle wit and elegant lyricism, and while they are all under five minutes in duration, they leave as strong an impression through their brevity as the "Hammerklavier" does through its massiveness. If this superb disc is an indication that recordings of other late Beethoven sonatas are planned, then Goerner's many admirers should be on the alert. Highly recommended.

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