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30.6.09

Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 7, 2006 - 2009


Incl: R.BrautigamP.Lewis • J.Muller • I.Nakamichi • G.OhlssonG.Oppitz • K.W.Paik • A.Schiff • S.Sugitani • P.Takács • D.Varínska




Not really available at Amazon

Ikuyo Nakamichi

2003 - 2006 - BMG Japan

Ikuyo Nakamichi studied under Mitsuko Kinpara, Phyllis Rappaport (Michigan), Kazuhiko Nakajima and Prof. Klaus Schilde at the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich on a scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Cultural Affairs. In 1982 Nakamichi won first and the Masuzawa Prize at the 51st Annual Japan Music Competition.


Available in Japan and:

Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
BMG Japan

Not really


Imports


Imports

Imports


available at Amazon



Gerhard Oppitz

2004 - 2006 - Hänssler

Oppitz' Beethoven cycle flew under the radar, compared to those of Schiff and Lewis, but it is, along with those two, one of the most notable to have been produced in this decade. I've not come across anything fancy in this cycle, but some astonishingly fine playing.


Availability (previously in eight individual volumes, now also as a box):

Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Hänssler
Yes
Box


Yes
Box


Yes
Box


Yes
Box



available at ArkivMusic




Garrick Ohlsson

1992 - 2007 -
Bridge (Arabesque)


Availability (in eight individual volumes):


Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Bridge

Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes




available at ArkivMusic



Sequiera Costa

1999? - 2007? - Claudio Records


Recordings licensed from the Vienna da Motta Intl. Music Foundation which used to hold a tri-annual music competition and which was founded by Sequiera Costa in honor of one of his teachers. Available only individually - on 10 discs, even as the record company (if one can call it that) shows only eight volumes with partly different covers. Absolutely bare-bone presentation.

Availability:



Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Claudio Records

Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes



available at ArkivMusic



Peter Takács

2001 - 2007 - Cambria Records


Extraordinarily complete and lavishly presented set of 11 SACDs that includes all 38 (!) Sonatas ("Elector Sonatas" WoO 47 1-3, "Two Easy Sonatas" WoO 50 & 51, Sonata for Four Hands in D-major, op.6) and the Andante favori WoO57.

Availability:



Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Cambria Records

Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes



available at Amazon

available at Amazon




András Schiff

2004 - 2007 - ECM

Schiff used a Boesendorfer and a Steinway Grand for these recordings, taped live (except for the last three sonatas) and played in sequence. A review of volume one exists here. Charles has reviewed several other volumes as they came out.

Availability (in eight individual volumes) and as of December 2016 also in a neat boxed set:



Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
ECM
Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes

Box set


available at ArkivMusic



Paul Lewis

2004 - 2007 - Harmonia Mundi

Availability (in four volumes and complete):


Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Harmonia Mundi

Yes


Yes


Yes

Yes


available at Amazon



Kun-Woo Paik

2005 - 2007 - Decca (Korea)


Perhaps Decca sent up a test-balloon in the West when they released one volume of this cycle world wide. After that it was back to releases for the Asian (Korean?) market only.


Availability of Sonatas 16-26 (complete set only in Asia):


Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Decca

Partial


Partial


Partial


Partial



available at ArkivMusic


Shoko Sugitani

???? - 2007? - IDC Classic


Not available as far as I know. (Volume 11 found on HMV.co.jp)

Availability:




Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
IDC Classic

-


-


-


-





Daniela Varínska

???? - 2009? - Diskant


Available (9 of 11? volumes) from Slovakia or in Japan.

Availability:




Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Diskant

-


-


-


-


available at Amazon.de

available at Amazon.de



Ronald Brautigam

2003 - 2008 (& beyond) - BIS


Among the myriad of new Beethoven cycles flooding the market, this is one of the select few that are consistently exciting, fresh, and superbly played throughout. The fact that it uses original instrument helps, but it isn't the key to this cycle's qualities, nor the key to enjoying it. The instruments (delightful, marvelous Paul McNulty creations) sound so great that even the "HIP-averse" ought to sample and see if they can't be converted. Volumes 1-8 contain all the standard 32 sonatas, volume nine all the non-standard sonatas, and the following volumes all the Bagatelles, Piano Pieces, and Variations. This makes this the most complete cycle by one pianist, ahead of Peter Takács' (see above).
Update:The complete set has now been released, on SACD, as below.


Availability:


Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
BIS
(individ.)

Yes


Yes


Yes

Yes
BIS
(box)

Yes


Yes


Yes

Yes


available at Amazon.de


available at Amazon.de



Jean Muller

2007 - 2009 - Bella Musica / Membran


Live recordings from a young Luxenburgian pianist. Originally recorded for Bella Musica. Most recently re-issued on Membran. (A sketchy cheapo-label, though in this case apparently a straight-forward licensing deal.)

Availability:


Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
Bella Musica

mp3 only


Yes


Yes

Yes
Membran

Yes


Yes


Yes

Yes




available at Amazon



Irina Mejoueva

2007 - 2009 - WAKA (Japan)


A Russian pianist working out of Japan. A review by Todd can be found here.


Availability:


Country / LabelUSAUKFranceGermany
WAKA

Individ.


Individ.


Individ.


Individ.





available at Amazon



Hiroaki Ooi

2008 - 2009 - King International [Opus55]


A HIP cycle extending to the Symphonies in the Liszt transcription, performed on 9 different historical instruments: For the sonatas these instruments were used: Andreas Stein (replica), Anton Walter (replica by McNulty), Jones & Round (1805, original), Broadwood (1817, original), etc. - and for the symphonies Ooi used a Johann Baptist Streicher 1846 (original), a Pleyel (original), and an Erard 1851 (original). Recorded live during 15 concerts in Kyoto; in 2008 and 2009. A few individual releases are on-and-off available on Amazon in Japan; some are available for streaming on iTunes.
Apparently the whole set was never released, to begin with... which explains why they cannot be found anywhere. Ooi has moved on to perform - perhaps even record? - other Beethoven works (Variations, Bagatelles, and various short works), the Kurfürstensonaten on a historical clavichord, as well as piano solo versions of his 16 string quartets!


Availability:


Country / LabelUSAUKJapanGermany
King

No


No


Partial


No




This listing of all Beethoven Sonata Cycles will continue as more sets reach completion or as I find more information about sets already completed.* There are certainly plenty sets under way that should or may reach completion soon: Among them Angela Hewitt (Hyperion), Igor Tchetuev (Caro Mitis), Jonathan Biss (Onyx), Akihiro Sakiya (DPIC Entertainment), Martin Roscoe (Deux-Elles), James Brawn (MSR), Paavali Jumppanen (Ondine) [Completed & Added], Yusuke Kikuchi (Triton) [Completed & Added] et al. I will also add a selection of historically important attempted cycles that were never finished but include >20 >9 sonatas. That would add Rudolf Serkin (CBS, 10 sonatas missing), Bruce Hungerford (Vanguard / Piano Classics, also 10 sonatas missing), Emil Gilels (DG, opp.2/1, 14/1, 54, 78, 111), and Glenn Gould (CBS/Sony, opp.7, 22, 49, 53, 79, 81a, 90 missing, op.106 separate, opp.7 [partly], 49/1, 101 available on CBC recordings). There are seemingly abandoned cycles that will not be included, such as those of  Giovanni Belluci,  Bruno Leonardo Gelber,  Yoshihiro Kondo, or  Per Tengstrand. There are cycles that are unworthy of discussion or outright fraudulent, i.e. not actual piano playing and/or of excrutiating quality and/or cobbled together from other performances. Most famously Joyce Hatto, but apparently also Vladimir Morrone, Giancarlo Andretti, Alicja Kot, and Claudio Colombo.**

* If you count, as I did, Backhaus II and Arrau II as complete, despite one and two (respectively) missing sonatas. I do not count Walter Gieseking (tapes of 4, 5, 7, 20, 22 for a radio cycle are lost, a studio cycle for EMI was missing seven sonatas when he died), Wilhelm Kempff "0" (Polydor, opp.2/3, 22, 27/1, 28, 31/2, 101 missing).

** Invaluable research on this end done by Todd, resident Beethoven-Sonata expert (and addict) at the Good Music Guide Forum.


The (Great) Incomplete Cycles
Part 1: 1935 - 1969
Part 2: 1967 - 1974
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
Part 4: 1990 - 1996
Part 5: 1996 - 1999
Part 6: 2000 - 2005

Ronald Brautigam Special
Part 8: 2010 - 2013
Part 9: 2014 - 2016
Part 10: 2017 - 20__



If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.

This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.

There are still cycles that I have overlooked or which are still missing vital information. Many of them were/are only distributed on the Asian market. Any further information about these would be much appreciated. Many thanks to Richard Winton, at this point, for vital help confirming the existence of--and supplying information for--Michael Steinberg's cycle (originally on Elysium LPs).


Discographies on ionarts: Bach Organ Cycles | Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycles I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX | Beethoven Symphony Cycles Index | Beethoven String Quartet Cycles | Bruckner Symphony Cycles | Dvořák Symphony Cycles | Shostakovich Symphony Cycles | Sibelius Symphony Cycles | Mozart Keyboard Sonata Cycles



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