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Beethoven Sonatas - A Survey of Complete Cycles
Part 10, 2017 (ff)

Incl: L.Williams • ...

Complete Beethoven Sonata Survey on ionarts

Llŷr Williams
2014 - 2017 - Signum

Recorded live between 2014 and 2017 as part of a nine-recital Beethoven cycle at the Wigmore Hall. The cycle (apparently or roughly?) keeps the order of the sonatas in the recitals, spans 12 discs and includes several solo piano pieces beyond the 32 sonatas.


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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. Finally 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, that will also not be included. 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.

Part 1: 1935 - 1966
Part 2: 1967 - 1975
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
Part 4: 1990 - 1996
Part 5: 1996 - 1999
Part 6: 2000 - 2005
Part 7: 2006 - 2009
Ronald Brautigam Special
Part 8: 2010 - 2013
Part 9: 2014 - 2016

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. If you are looking for recent releases, like the Ponelle-filmed cycle of Barenboim's Beethoven Sonatas, or his "Beethoven for All" set, they are included with the sets of which they are actually re-releases.

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