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Turkish pianist Fazil Say has a strong following but has often not lived up to the hype. There are positives here, not least Say’s decision to eschew Beethoven’s own cadenza for his own. Say’s essay is a monolithic, Lisztian-macabre effort. But Say’s general approach is markedly interventionist, as if he does not trust Beethoven’s instincts above his own. Noseda and the Frankfurt orchestra are on great form, particularly in the slow movement, and there is clear communication between conductor and soloist. Curiously, Beethoven’s final sonata precedes the ‘Moonlight’. Say can sound clumsy when the going gets technically tough; his ‘Arietta’ is a fine one, but not a great one, with a tranquil close. The ‘Moonlight’ suits him best (possibly why it is placed last), with the fiery finale full of excitement. Yet in a crowded field, none of these performances hits anything like the top slot.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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