David Allen Wehr

Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2

(CD - Connoisseur Society #4262)

Review by

Pianist David Allen Wehr offers listeners a notable new contribution to the vast selection of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. In this second volume of his collection, the opuses featured range from the extremely popular Op. 13 "Pathetique" and Op. 27, No. 2 "Moonlight" sonatas to the less-often-heard "student works" of Op. 14 and Op. 22. Wehr's performance is quite convincing and he renders the less-popular sonatas equally as engaging and moving as their more widely favored companions. His technique and approach to the instrument seem especially well suited to these early sonatas. Wehr's sound is extremely translucent and pristine, and his control of voicing is appealing. The third movement of Op. 13 is impossibly fast but always completely under control; each note sparkles. From a technical and interpretive standpoint, this recording is absolutely worthwhile. Where Wehr seems to run into trouble, however, is the actual sound engineering. There's a noticeable and unattractive discrepancy between the first and second discs in the volume. The first disc has a very clear, realistic sound that at once captures the attention of the listener and draws him/her into Wehr's scintillating sound. Disc 2, however, has a completely different sound with much more reverb and a sense of distance from the instrument. Sadly, this takes away some of the glimmer from Wehr's otherwise wonderful performances.

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