First thing, he's got to stop vocalizing. Every time the music gets going, Fazil Say starts groaning, moaning, singing, or, worst of all, sniffing. That right there is enough to put his recordings out of contention. Next thing, Say has to stop jumping the downbeats, pushing the tempos, clipping the rhythms, and exaggerating the dynamics. After that, he has to switch repertoire. Sure, he can play the all notes in the Finale of the "Appassionata," the "Waldstein," or the "Tempest" at supersonic speed, but for all the actual musical content of his performance, he might as well be working an adding machine. And the slow movements? Forget it. Say can't help nudging the tempo, bending the phrases, and ultimately sentimentalizing and trivializing Beethoven's deepest emotions. Say should try Liszt or Scriabin: they'd be perfect together. But even in Liszt and Scriabin, if he's going to groan, moan, sing, and, worst of all, sniff, Say's never going to make a listenable recording. Naïve's sound is true, all too true.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Piano Sonata No. 23 "Appassionata" in F minor, Op. 57|
|Piano Sonata Grande No. 21 "The Dawn" in C major, Op. 53|