This Accent disc of Beethoven's three sets of Bagatelles plus several other short piano works performed and produced by Linda Nicholson is quite nice. One of the nicest things about it is the fortepiano Nicholson plays. Built by Johann Fritz in Beethoven's Vienna circa 1815 and restored by Christopher Clarke, it is a clean, bright instrument with a clear, ringing tone and plenty of depth -- in other words, an instrument ideally suited to Beethoven's contemporary piano music. Nicholson plays to the instrument's character, turning in light, dancing performances showcasing its tone and temper. Nicholson's tempos are generally on the fast side, but her agile phrasing, attractive ornamentation, and supple tempo rubato are still very expressive. Some listeners may find her Andante favori lacking sentiment, but few will be immune to the charms of her sinuous Für Elise. Others may wish her late Bagatelles were more eccentric, but the abrupt tempo transitions in Op. 126/2 are accomplished with the requisite dexterity and wit. Recorded in warm, close sound, this disc will appeal to Beethoven enthusiasts interested in hearing new recordings of his familiar piano music on the fortepiano.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Bagatelles (7) for piano, Op. 33|
|Bagatelles (11) for piano, Op. 119|
|Bagatelles (6) for piano, Op. 126|