Evgeni Koroliov

Beethoven: Sonatas Op. 109, 110 & 111

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Evgeni Koroliov has been recording the late piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven for Tacet since 2012, and this CD of the Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, the Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110, and the Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 has been issued as Volume 16 in the label's ongoing Koroliov Series. These interpretations are fluid and somewhat elastic, with a fair amount of rubato and variable dynamics that lend the performances a subjective feeling, though Koroliov is careful enough to avoid exaggeration. The performances are transparent in texture and subtly nuanced in mood, so the ebb and flow of the tempo can be overlooked. Furthermore, because Koroliov demonstrates great control of the phrasing and the pacing of the movements, particularly of the difficult variations of Op. 111, his playing is compelling for much more than the affect or affectation of a moment. The sound of the recording is quite clear, though the piano seems a bit recessed in the church acoustics, undercutting the music's intimacy.

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