Nelson Goerner/Beethoven: Piano Sonata No29 Hammerklavier and Bagatelles, Op. 126

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The Press notes say he’s nicknamed “the poet of the piano” and from this CD we can see why. Hammerklavier is seen as one of the greatest piano sonatas, and Beethoven himself said: “Here is a sonata that will make pianists work hard.” Written in 1818, it is said to be Beethoven’s most technically challenging piano composition, and one of the most demanding solo works for a classical pianist.

Goerner makes it sound easy. Doubtless some pianohead has written a review about the technical demands on the pianist for this piece, but Goerner is at the top of his game and if you want to listen purely for the pleasure, it’s an enjoyable CD.

Goerner has a light touch despite the often-fast tempo, and the music is varied, in turns fiery, gentle and moving. Despite the complexity, it’s got a levity about it — a detailed explanation of why this is can be found on Wikipedia.

After one of the most complex piano pieces written, the CD closes with six Beethoven bagatelles, short and light compositions (but not No.25, possibly his most famous — Für Elise).

An enjoyable CD from a masterful player.

Out on Alpha, ALPHA239.

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