What control! What finesse! What insight! Although barely remembered in the West by his death in Moscow in 1962, Samuel Feinberg was and continues to be deeply revered as a pianist in Russia. And as these undated recordings of three Beethoven sonatas attest, that reverence is not misplaced. From the mightiest fortissimo sonorities to the most lyrical cantabile melodies and from the blithest prestissimo to the most melancholy Largo con gran espressione, nothing in these performances seems left unconsidered and unexpressed. With consummate taste and an impeccable technique, Feinberg grasps both the evanescent moment and the timeless forms of Beethoven's music and without ever drawing attention to himself, articulates everything ardently, lucidly, and sublimely. His E flat major Sonata, Op. 7, is exhilarating; his B flat major Sonata, Op. 22, is exciting; and his E major Sonata, Op. 109, is exalting; but it is always the listener who is transformed -- and not by Feinberg's playing but by the music itself. To the few Western listeners who may already be familiar with Feinberg's passionate Scriabin recordings, his monumental Beethoven may prove surprising, even shocking. But the sense of inevitability that pervades these performances marks Feinberg as one the great Beethoven players. Classical Records' sound is aged, certainly, but still clean enough to let the brilliant light of Feinberg's Beethoven shine through.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major ("Grand Sonata"), Op. 7|
|Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22|
|Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109|