Edinburgh International Festival music review: Rudolf Buchbinder, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ken Walton.
Rudolf Buchbinder’s Beethoven piano sonata series remains something of a closed book. In this third instalment, the feeling persisted that I was listening to a Beethoven addict playing out his own fetish in his own private world.
The problem is, another near-capacity crowd wanted very much to be part of it.
The best shared moments came in the the gently capricious Op10 No2, Buchbinder imbuing its Haydnesque clarity and whimsy with a friendly, if slightly contained, spirit; and in the overtly dramatic Op90, which he played by the book, but failed to reach the absolute depths of its tonal richness.
Then, the real test: the mighty “Hammerklavier” where Beethoven takes us to the outermost reaches of his creative mind. There’s no hiding place amid its testing and volatile persona, its extrovert virtuosity, and the brilliant entanglement of notes that give the final fugue its Olympian credentials.
Buchbinder’s natural response was one of general understatement, which at moments bore intellectual honesty and virtue. But ultimately, inaccuracies aside, it failed to thrill. He has a habit of throwing away the closing bars of his performances as if to say, another job done. Which, unfortunately, kind of sums up this series so far.
Playfair Library Hall
Published in The Scotsman on 12 August 2015
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