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Murray Perahia triumphs in this recording of 'Beethoven Sonatas'

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The illustrious pianist Murray Perahia, long regarded for his peerless interpretations of music by the classic Viennese composers, turns his attention to four Beethoven sonatas in his latest release from Sony Classical. With four-star reviews from The London Times and The Guardian,* Perahia triumphs in this recording through an elegant, engaging sense of Beethoven's musical forms.

Perahia's new recording features Piano Sonata No. 12 in A-flat major (Op. 26); two earlier sonatas, No. 9 in E major (Op. 14, No. 1) and No. 10 in G major (Op. 14, No. 2); and Sonata No. 15 in D major (Op. 28, "Pastorale").

Following hot on the heels of last year's critical and commercial success, Bach Partitas No. 2,3, & 4, pianist Murray Perahia returns with another album of superb, inspired playing, Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Opp. 26, 14 & 28. By means of his artistic imagination and technical prowess, he has turned what seems on paper to be a modest program of "minor" sonatas into a major artistic event. With his honeyed tone and clarity of touch, Perahia gives new life to these tiny gems in the formidable sonata repertory.

This is only Perahia's third full-length recording of Beethoven sonatas in thirty years, and his command of the music comes from an understanding of Bach's influence upon the later composer. As he told The Daily Telegraph in March 2008, "Composers took Bach as their bedrock, whether it be Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, or Chopin." Where other pianists emphasize the nascent, tumultuous Romanticism in Beethoven's music, Perahia plays the sonatas with a poise and elegance reminiscent of Bach's keyboard works. Perahia's observation that Beethoven's sonatas are about "emotions and intellect working together" reflects a balance of ideals that is perfectly captured in this recording.

*Andrew Clements for The Guardian: "It's typical of Perahia's discriminating, selfless approach to music-making that he should be able to assemble a sequence of four of the lesser-known early sonatas and make it so enthralling....The two sonatas of Op. 14 in E and G are full of wonderfully deft articulation and perfectly scaled expressiveness - not a note seems out of place."

*Hugh Canning for The London Times: "[These sonatas] are often dismissed as lightweight and uncharacteristic, but Perahia begs to differ. The range of tone he brings to all of this music has an almost orchestral weight and transparency...Perahia's singing tone and shapely phrasing are a joy - even works recorded as frequently as these sound new-minted in his hands."