Edinburgh International Festival music review: Rudolf Buchbinder: Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Concert 4 reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Nickalls.
Pity the poor pupils to whom Beethoven dedicates his Sonata in E flat major Op 7 and D major Op 10 No.3, with the former, in particular, one of the longest in the repertoire. These are technical obstacle courses, no doubt dreamed up by the composer to sharpen technique, but there is also musicality aplenty.
However, Rudolf Buchbinder’s approach leans towards playing these sonatas as perfunctory exercises and there is little sense of an overarching journey through the movements. Furthermore, his interpretation of the largos, the sublime slow movements which form the heart of these sonatas, lacked a firm pulse with the distinctive dotted rhythms often too laboured. The music needed more space to breathe.
Beethoven wears his heart on his sleeve in Sonata in E flat Major Op 81a “Les Adieux”, detailing an emotional parting and reunion with his patron.
Buchbinder seemed unable to express the more subtle emotions; his phrasing was too brash and his touch not quite varied or delicate enough at times. While the ebullient and joyful finale had plenty of spark, this was at the expense of too many wrong notes due to an overly fast tempo which blurred the message and sentiment.
Published in The Scotsman on 14 August 2015
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