Saturday, December 31, 2011
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 31 - Claudio Arrau
I have a strong affinity for Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110. This is his penultimate (second-to-last) sonata. Claudio Arrau captures the spirit of the opening passage beautifully in this 1991 release. I got this CD from the local library a few years ago; unfortunately I only recorded this one sonata from it. This is, you guessed it, out of circulation, but if you go to Amazon and type in Arrau and Beethoven as search terms, you will find plenty more, including several versions of this sonata that he has recorded over the years.
This particular version on the whole is slower and softer around the edges than some others, but it works well for this reflective and at times cerebral music. I'll leave it again to Wikipedia to explain the technical details - see here. I recommend reading the article even if you don't know a great deal about music, since it explains the structure of the movements really well. I really enjoy the fugal passages in the third movement. In many recordings, the third movement is divided into two tracks. Here it is one, with the slow introduction leading into the rest. Other than that, I'll leave you to discover the music on your own.
Download here (no password):
Here's wishing you good things for the new year!