David Rubinstein

Beethoven: Pastoral & Tempest Sonatas; Bagatelle in C

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Beethoven: Pastoral & Tempest Sonatas; Bagatelle in C Review

by James Leonard

Featuring a 1981 recital by pianist David Rubinstein of two sonatas by Beethoven, this 2007 Musicus disc will likely prove enjoyable to listeners who take pleasure in smartly polished piano playing. Born in New York and a longtime Los Angeles resident, Rubinstein has a well-tempered technique, a well-modulated tone, and a superb feeling for form and tempo. In the "Pastoral" Sonata in D major, Rubinstein adeptly controls the course of the opening Allegro so the shifts from exposition to development and from development to recapitulation are both surprising and inevitable. In the "Tempest" Sonata in D minor, he smoothly molds the dynamic ebb and flow of the closing Allegretto so each return of the main theme is inevitable and surprising. And in the final work on the disc, the infrequently programmed Bagatelle in C major, WoO 56, Rubinstein makes the unfamiliar work seem fresh and new yet comfortable and charming. Though the stereo sound here is a bit distant with rather limited dynamic and frequency ranges, it is still clean enough to give an accurate representation of the pianist in action.

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