Edinburgh International Festival music review: Rudolf Buchbinder: Beethoven 7, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Nickalls.
This was another uneven concert from Rudolf Buchbinder, continuing his Beethoven cycle. In Sonata in A major Op 2 No. 2 he took the allegro at zipper-fast speed, tossing the mellow bass notes aside on the way.
Buchbinder appears to have a problem with slow movements which, in Beethoven’s case, are enormously melodic but also heavily ornamented. This seems to throw him off the beat, destabilising the music’s inner pulse and, in this instance, causing a few fumbled notes.
The pianist seems more comfortable in the faster movements but while there is a lot of playful humour in Sonata in G major Op 31 No.1, much of this was glossed over, given the breakneck speed at which he hurtles through the music. However, the rondo’s sonorous bass octaves were nicely articulated and the teasing conclusion was suitably light and witty.
Sonata in C major Op 53 Waldstein is a groundbreaking sonata and Beethoven’s new Erard piano with its five additional top notes clearly inspired the composer to flex his compositional muscles.
Buchbinder though, largely crashes through this masterpiece, pounding the keyboard with little finesse. Only the rondo’s beautiful chromatic development section, which he played with delicacy, provided any respite.
Published in The Scotsman on 20 August 2015
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