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Beethoven: 5 Cello Sonatas - Wispelwey, Lazic

Beethoven: 5 Cello Sonatas - Wispelwey, Lazic

Channel Classics  CCS SA 22605 (2 discs)

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Beethoven: Complete Sonatas & Variations

Pieter Wispelwey (cello)
Dejan Lazic (piano)


1792 is a magical date in the history of Vienna. In that year, a young and talented artist , only 22 years old, arrived from Bonn: Ludwig van Beethoven. Perhaps he will be able to fill the tremendous void left here by Mozarts death last year, some people must have thought.

But eyewitness accounts of Beethoven's first performances tell us that he received only mixed reactions from the Viennese audiences. They admired his innovative sonorities and amazing improvisations, but were more shocked than pleased by the unrestrained, even hectoring quality of his compositions. No, most of the Viennese greeted this new music with incomprehension. Too blunt, too unconventional, too wild, too assertive.

It cannot be denied that this gentleman goes his own way. But what a strange and laborious way it is. Not a trace of melody, everything sounds like a struggle. There is a constant seeking after strange modulations, unpleasant combinations, and a heaping-up of difficulties, so that one loses not only all ones patience but any possibility of enjoyment. Beethoven's dry response: They understand nothing. His time had not yet come......

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Review by Mark Novak - November 4, 2006

I had the pleasure of spending some quality listening time with this SACD last night. This is a very impressive set of performances in great sound. My highest compliments to this duo for bringing these works alive for me. They are a great partnership. I especially love the zesty fast movements which move briskly along in wonderful, cohesive playing. I've heard many other performances of these works (Ma/Ax, Perenyi/Ranki, Finkel/Han are the ones I have in addition to this one) and I think I would come back to Wispelway/Lazic more often than the others though all are good performances IMO.

Sonically, I think this now becomes one of my reference SACD's for chamber group (I listen in 2-channel). Everything is captured so beautifully with excellent instrument timbres and great dynamics. There's enough hall sound to give you the impression of a real recording venue but it does not swamp the tonality of the instruments themselves. The cello sound is deep and resonant as is the piano. It is not perfect though. I can faintly hear some breath intakes once in a while which is distracting to me since you normally don't hear such things in a live concert in the audience. Also, the cello is probably a bit prominant in the sound mix relative to the piano. These are minor quibbles for me because overall I think this is a truly great recording. Great job from all involved!

Copyright © 2006 Mark Novak and HRAudio.net

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Sonics (Stereo):

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