Now many of the world’s most serious and significant pianists (Schnabel, Serkin, Brendel, Goode, etc.) have devoted a great deal of thoughtful study to the Beethoven sonatas; in general, performance of this music represents a level of erudition and deep contemplation probably unequaled by the works of any other mainstream composer. Serious pianists study every aspect of these works in minute detail; virtually everything is taken into account except those instruments which inspired Beethoven, and which he had in mind when he composed.
The recording is clean and conducive to the careful listening which Korstick consistently commands. (…) The pianist has declared his aim is to attain an "ideal", a distillation of Beethoven's piano writing. Perhaps a Platonic "essence" even. If this, rather than something personal, fluid, malleable and potentially as fallible as it is valid appeals to you, then you should investigate the cycle on Oehms. (…) For here is – if not a granite monolith – a commentary on what stone and a chisel can achieve.
Beethoven was the last great composer to write string trios, and his are the finest works of their type. Mozart hardly touched this particular combination, and Haydn wrote quite few very early works which are now completely unknown. In any case, Haydn used two violins and a cello, whereas with Beethoven the standard combination became violin, viola, and cello. These are all early works, expert examples of all that Beethoven learned from Haydn and Mozart in preparation for the writing of his first great string quartets. But far from being mere composition exercises, these are highly rewarding works on their own, and these outstanding performances make the best possible case for their claim to be ranked among Beethoven's chamber music masterpieces.
Maurizio Pollini’s Beethoven Sonatas cycle has reached completion after nearly 40 years. We celebrate this major event with a handsome 8-CD capbox that provides a fitting testimonial to a great artistic partnership between pianist and record label. The final recordings in the cycle (opp. 31 & 49) are being released simultaneously as a single CD.