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CD review: Beethoven sonatas, with polish and affection

Submitted by on Sep 24, 2011 – 9:25 pm

Ingrid Fliter, piano. Beethoven: Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (“Pathetique”); Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“Tempest”); Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”). EMI Classics.

Fliter's Beethoven album

These three favorite sonatas must be among the most-recorded of all the works in any genre in the classical canon. So what can yet another pianist have to save about music that might turn our heads from the greatest pianists of the last century? Well, the Argentinian virtuoso Ingrid Fliter has her own implicit answer for that, and it resonates everywhere in sparkling, considered performances. This is beautiful and masterly playing of the most personal kind. I found myself listening repeatedly to Fliter’s fresh takes on all three sonatas, drawn back by her confident and expressive turns of phrase and a commanding sense of both line and structure. Especially captivating are the slow movements of the “Pathetique” and the “Appassionata,” both of which Fliter spins out at tempos that are at once unconstrained and unhurried. In other words, she has taken this soulful music to her heart.  And the notoriously demanding finale of the “Appassionata” simply sails by, its great power mounting with an inexorable force matched by the pianist’s boundless technical authority. Fliter’s “Tempest,” precise and vibrant, is irresistible. – Lawrence B. Johnson

Listen to excerpts and hear Fliter talk about her Beethoven project here: