BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 and 3 – Michael Korstick, piano – Oehms Classics

by | Jun 13, 2007 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 and 3 – Michael Korstick, piano – Oehms Classics Multichannel Hybrid SACD – OC 615 [Distr. by Forte Distribution], 75 mins. *****:

Pianist Michael Korstick apparently has been around for quite some time, and is relatively well known and respected in Germany and the rest of Europe – he’s just not a household name here in the U.S. That should change if this disc gets the kind of exposure it deserves. Mr. Korstick possesses an impressive knowledge of music and range of composers, and he commands an equally impressive technical facility on the piano.

This disc of Beethoven’s first three piano sonatas struck me as an odd program choice; most artists generally tend to gravitate towards the mid-period to late-period sonatas, and I personally rarely listen to any of the early sonatas. That’s not to say that the early sonatas are inferior in any way, it’s just that the mid-to-late period sonatas have just always struck me as coming from a more mature period for Beethoven. This disc has shattered that impulse for me, and after listening to it repeatedly over the last few days, I now find these early sonatas indispensable listening! Whether it’s Michael Korstick’s superb playing or just the excellent recording from Oehms Classics, this disc is simply irresistible.

The music was recorded over a period of two days in the Beethoven Hall of Hannover’s Congress Centrum; a Steinway D concert grand was employed for the recordings, and the disc’s multichannel layer truly captures a remarkable sense of ambience from the recording venue. This disc is truly one of the most well-recorded SACDs of piano music I’ve yet to hear, and represents an auspicious introduction to Oehms Classics for me. My interest is definitely piqued – I’d love to hear more from their catalog of hi-res recordings. Very highly recommended!

– Tom Gibbs

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