For those unfamiliar with Caro Mitis, it’s a fairly new Russian-based label that has focused heavily on works of relatively obscure composers. They’ve also released a number of discs of less frequently performed works by more mainstream composers, and among those works they’ve also included cycles of unusual transcriptions (such as Bach works played on the oboe). All their SACD discs I’ve heard thus far have been superb, both in performance values and quality of the recordings, and the often unusual repertory has generally made for quite interesting listening. Added to that, all of Caro Mitis’ recordings are made with equipment from Polyhymnia, Pyramix and Meitner, and with the assistance of Polyhymnia personnel, and the resulting SACDs offer breathtakingly realistic sound. This disc represents the first volume apparently in a cycle of the complete Beethoven sonatas, and was released in 2006, but has only just made its way to me. A quick check of Caro Mitis’ website showed that they’re about to release Vol. 3 in the series; as good as this disc is, it would be well worth your time to investigate the other available volumes.
The pianist, Igor Tchetuev, is new to me, but he’s apparently won quite a few competitions in Russia and abroad, and has toured extensively in Europe. His prowess at the keyboard here is little short of phenomenal; while Tchetuev’s playing is bold and fresh, he has quite a way with Beethoven that rings remarkably familiar with classic performances of these works. In fact, I’d easily have no problem – based solely on this first disc – ranking his Beethoven alongside such masterful interpreters as Arrau, Brendel or Richter. I’m thoroughly impressed, and the splendid sound from Caro Mitis is the icing on the cake – if the remainder of this series maintains these remarkably high performance and recording values, this Beethoven sonata cycle could be one for the ages. Very highly recommended!
— Tom Gibbs