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German pianist Karsten Scholz began his Beethoven journey from the top of Everest in 2008, releasing the last sonatas. Scholz has been influenced by the clarity of Rudolf Buchbinder, who of course has recorded the complete sonatas multiple times; the intellectual grasp of the scores points in the direction of both that pianist and Alfred Brendel.

The Op 26 begins with a finely sculpted set of variations; the ‘Marcia funèbre’ is well judged. Gestures make their point without being over-emphasised. Of the seven sonatas here, the Moonlight and the Tempest are the strongest – the former tender, its finale marked by clarity, the latter with superb piano recitatives. The weakest, though, is the Pastoral, its no-nonsense approach reminiscent of Ashkenazy’s account for Decca. A mixed set.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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