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Solid, intelligent Beethoven here: a Steinway Artist, Brawn brings a terrific technique to these well-worn sonatas.

The sprightly, energetic first movement of Op 10/1 (all sonatas have the exposition repeat) sets the tone; the daringly slow Adagio molto holds depth but lacks some fantasy; the finale offers a perfect fusion of drama and play. Op 10/2 is light and capricious. For Op 10/3, Brawn registrally extends certain phrases when his piano allows it (though Beethoven’s didn’t). Textures are clear, everything is intelligent; just a touch more spirit would have sealed the deal, while the Adagio e mesto again fails to satisfy. The slight Op 14/2 is a serene jewel of a performance.

Brief but insightful notes from Brawn and a fine recording reflect the care taken.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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