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Scherzo, Excepcional (Spain)

In Volume 2, containing what many consider to be Beethoven’s first truly great essays in the form … Schiff delivers in spades, turning in one of the most exhilarating performances of the F-Major Sonata I’ve ever heard. Other pianists latch on to the kinky aspects of the music, bringing out its quirky humour. But Schiff hears something else, and it’s not all that humorous. … In movement after movement, Schiff demonstrates the most probing musical intellect, bringing to the fore meanings that lurk in the shadows. … If Schiff and ECM continue on this path to the end – and I have no reason to believe they won’t, this will be one of the great Beethoven sonata sets.
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

Great Beethoven playing gives off shock waves, and the three Op 10 sonatas are rich in shock potential. … András Schiff’s new recording – part of his ongoing sonata cycle – suggests mischievous delight in their quirks and idiosyncrasies. … Schiff focuses to perfection the sudden flurries, pregnant pauses, rattled-off chords, mock formalities. He makes sure never to rush, and cues some powerful crescendos. His account of the Pathétique Sonata combines bravura with genuine gravitas.
Rob Cowan, The Independent

Schiff’s decision to record the sonatas chronologically gives his listeners the rare opportunity to hear Beethoven’s experience in musical creation as often as they feel the need. From those single sharp raps of the opening bar of the First Sonata Opus 2 No 1 both Beethoven and Schiff make us sit up and take notice. …
Instead of dissecting Schiff’s performances of eight Beethoven Sonatas composed up to 1797, I am suggesting that you buy these records, play them as a continuous 3 hour experience, and then send up thanks that you have arrived on earth in time to enjoy such luxury. I can’t wait for volume 3.
Denby Richards, Musical Opinion

Schon im Umkreis der drei Sonaten op. 2 bewies der ungarische Pianist András Schiff sein ausgeprägtes Gespür für die sprechend-singenden Passagen dieser stilistisch zurückblickenden, aber auch schon ins 19. Jahrhundert weisenden Werke. In der zweiten Folge der Konzertmitschnitte aus der Zürcher Tonhalle nimmt Schiff im Filigranen wie im Kämpferischen diesen Ansatz auf. Beherrscht in den Zeitmassen, aufmerksam bis in die letzten Winkel der Geschehnisse – so führt Schiff in den beiden ersten Sonaten aus op. 10 den Hörer in eine Welt des elastischen, des forschen Vorwärts, wobei er auch in den raschen Passagen die gesanglichen Essenzen zu betonen weiß. ... Unter diesen Umständen gelingen die beiden „großen“ Sonaten als vielschichtige Erzählungen im Spannungsfeld von gelöster Bewegtheit, von Leidenschaftlichkeit und beklemmender Düsternis.
Peter Cossé, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

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