The 32: part 10

No 22 in F major op 54

Eric: big in Japan

Some pianists acquire fame easily, and often for reasons that frankly are hard to fathom. A florid homage  by Bryce Morrison in Gramophone goes a long way, and  average performers like Richard Goode and Paul Lewis become feted way beyond their actual achievements.

Conversely, some notable musicians seem permanently in the next tier down, despite great gifts. One such is Eric Heidsieck, still performing at the age of 74, and the virtuoso behind an excellent set of the Beethoven sonatas, currently available in an EMI 50 CD box.

The Knife actually has some of this on LP, as a second hand bargain. released by the World Record Club. I think that they are the same performances as on the CD set.

No matter, Heidsieck is a terrific pianist. He plays very crisply and has his own mind about tempi and rubato, a sort of Pogorelich-lite.

The op 54 is a concise gem, which Andras Schiff in one of several brilliant lectures goes through far better than I can. It is another of Beethoven’s two movement sonatas, where he crams in all sorts of ideas and themes within an ostensibly pretty basic framework. In a few minutes he demonstrates the difference between pleasing but limited piano music (Mozart) and ineffable genius.


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