In his recording of Beethoven Sonatas Vol. 5 Garrick Ohlsson plays the "Pathetique", "Moonlight" and "Waldstein" sonatas. These sonatas are very well known and have been recorded by numerous other artists. I have many of the recordings of these popular sonatas, and I like them all. I am sure that you are in similar shoes. I was very curious to find out what is Mr. Ohlsson going to bring to this often frequented musical pasture. Only after I have heard this CD of Ohlsson, I realized what was missing from many of the other recordings I have heard before. It was the musical gravitas that Beethoven deserves. So many other interpretations try to prettify these sonatas, by bringing out the melodies (which, indeed, all of us can hum) and a warm familiarity. Such performances, I realize now, are a musical comfort food. You will get no such comfort food from Mr. Ohlsson. He grabs you at a different level and brings you above and beyond the obvious and familiar. When mighty Ohlsson attacks fiercely the passionate parts, he will bring to your mind Beethoven himself, his genius and struggles, rather than the images of pretty dreamy young women in long laced dresses playing Beethoven delicately, which some other interpretations often do.
Congratulations to Maestro Ohlsson! I most strongly recommend this recording which will put you on a higher level of the music understanding of Beethoven.
It is prophetic that the booklet which comes with the CD has this quote from Beethoven:
"....As I am aware of what I want to do, the underlying idea never deserts me. It rises, it grows up. I hear and see the image in front of me from every angle". This is the exact image of Ohlsson's performance.