András Schiff cycles through Beethoven | Bleader

András Schiff cycles through Beethoven

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As much as I enjoy classical music I've never felt knowledgeable enough to write about it seriously, and nothing has changed on that front. But I can't help but share my excitement about pianist András Schiff and his recital this Sunday at Symphony Center. Three years ago he began recording Beethoven's piano sonatas in chronological order for ECM Records, and with the recently released eighth volume he's completed the entire cycle of 32. Schiff has performed that cycle top to bottom 20 times in his career.

There's no shortage of critical praise out there for Schiff's mastery, both in print and online, and I'm not about to make an ass of myself trying to add to it. But I will say that work-related listening takes up so much of my time that I'm very careful about how I spend those rare hours when I can listen to something strictly for pleasure--and all eight Schiff CDs of the Beethoven sonatas have spent plenty of time in that rotation. For Sunday's performance the pianist will play the sonatas featured on volume six (sonatas opp. 54, 57 "Appassionata," 78 "à Thérèse," 79, and 81a "Les Adieux").

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