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With this issue Paul Lewis complements his outstanding, indeed glorious cycles of the Beethoven concertos, sonatas and Diabelli Variations. No mere ‘trifles for the piano’, Beethoven’s three sets of bagatelles are alternately volatile, otherworldly, dizzying in flight or lost in thought. Lewis rises to their myriad challenges in performances of unclouded strength and integrity. Above all, you sense a labour of love and an unswerving devotion to Beethoven’s multi-faceted spirit.

In a fascinating addition, Lewis offers the three Klavierstücke with their lingering air of oddity followed by a burst of explosive whimsy, the Fantasia Op 77, all fits and starts in a reading designed to make you jump out of your skin. With playing of such authority, criticism falls silent. There may have been times when Lewis has sounded laissez-faire, but here his authority and humanity are unarguable.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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