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Joseph Wölfl: Piano Sonatas

piano Jon Nakamatsu Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.42 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. I. Introduzione: Adagio
2. II. Fuga: (Allegro)
3. III. Sonata: Allegro Molto
4. IV. Adagio
5. V. Allegretto
6. I. Allegro Con Spirito
7. II. Andante Con Spirito
8. III. Rondo: Allegro Molto
9. I. Allegro
10. II. Andante
11. III. Alla Polacca
12. I. Allegro
13. II. Andante Cantabile
14. III. Rondo Allegretto

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Né à Salzbourg en 1773, Wölfl étudia auprès de Léopold Mozart et Michael Haydn. Sa rencontre avec Mozart en 1790 à Vienne fut déterminante pour la suite de sa carrière. Il se lia d’amitié avec son confrère, puis, après la mort celui-ci, devint compositeur en résidence du conte Oginsky, à Varsovie. De retour à Vienne, il fut considéré comme un virtuose exceptionnel, se livrant notamment à des joutes pianistiques contre Beethoven. Wölfl mourut à Londres en 1812. Sa musique est particulièrement expressive et inventive sur le plan harmonique. On la redécouvre aujourd’hui, romantisante déjà sous les doigts de Jon Nakamatsu. Si vous connaissez les précurseurs de Chopin dont John Field, n’hésitez pas à goûter ces Sonates d’une superbe élégance. --Étienne Bertoli

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The gold standard for Woelfl May 15 2004
Format:Audio CD
Enjoyed the rare opportunity to listen to Jon Nakamatsu playing Woelfl at the San Francisco Symphony Hall tonight - a true revelation! Woelfl, Beethoven's unappreciated contemporary was brought to life in the most brilliant manner by this highly talented young pianist. Nakamatsu's interpretation of Woelfl's sonata in E major is uncompromising. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent playing Jan. 13 2004
Format:Audio CD
I'd never heard of Wolfl. Interesting music, well played.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Woelfl July 10 2007
By Dexter Tay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It seems futile to mention Woelfl's music without some reference to the over-arching influence of Beethoven, but this compilation suggests that Woelfl, removed from any contextual reference to his slightly older contemporary, was a talented and unique composer in his own right, if not of titanic proportions.

Woelfl is one of the few 'colleagues' that was held in some esteem by Beethoven, and fared comparatively well in his opinion in contrast with composers like Steibelt, whom Beethoven openly mocked (or 'spoofed', so to speak) in a public contest.

Many contemporary accounts claimed that Beethoven 'trounced' Woelfl in a private contest held on a fateful day in 1798; a time when both composers have already earned considerable fame in the city of Vienna. Accounts were by no means consistent - ranging from a near total 'defeat' of Woelfl to more favourable accounts on his side, praising his bravura playing above that of Beethoven's while the latter was said to have excelled over his colleague in terms of improvisation. This account by a certain aristocrat smacked curiously of a certain hypocrisy reminsicent of the Clementi-Mozart contest more than a decade earlier - the truth of which remains a myth.

That both were the most formidable pianists in Vienna in 1798 (inclusive of J. N. Hummel) was however of little doubt. The vast majority of Woelfl's works had probably 'rightfully' been consigned to oblivion, but Nakamatsu had made a very strong case for Woelfl, that he was probably a very competent composer at his best - and this is testified by the Sonata in C minor Op. 25; a work of enormous proportion for its day - writ large in five movements (or parts).

The Allegro Molto and Allegretto both showcase the legendary virtuosity of Woelfl held in such towering esteem in his day, even by Beethoven; rapid running arpeggios in both hands that convey the highest drama and urgency and practically all the stock-and-trade of classical Viennese pianism is laid bare in this work. The slow movement shows that Woelfl is capable of profundity as well as bravura.

Probably little of Woelfl's extensive oeuvre measures up to this work (having heard some of the Op. 28 sonatas). The closest to rubbing the genius of this work comes from the Op. 33 set, which contains the D minor sonata, a work very reminiscent of Beethoven's earlier style, though very much more modest in its scope and demands than the Op. 25 in C minor.

Nakamatsu's first-rate playing surely places these sonatas by Woelfl among the ranks of Beethoven's better and more powerful works, in terms of their craftmanship and their surprising adaptability to the sonorities of the modern concert grand. Most of all it offers the best insight to the reason why Woelfl was probably the most esteemed pianist in Vienna held in such regard by Beethoven and beyond that, offers the listener a chance to appreciate the merits of Woelfl on his own.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gold standard for Woelfl May 15 2004
By Dirk Lammerts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Enjoyed the rare opportunity to listen to Jon Nakamatsu playing Woelfl at the San Francisco Symphony Hall tonight - a true revelation! Woelfl, Beethoven's unappreciated contemporary was brought to life in the most brilliant manner by this highly talented young pianist. Nakamatsu's interpretation of Woelfl's sonata in E major is uncompromising. Highly recommended!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for the Great Composer Wolfl Oct. 16 2004
By J M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
These compositions are delightful. If you enjoy the classical style make room for this CD along with your recordings of Mozart and Clementi.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding performance of truly beautiful Sonatas Feb. 2 2014
By AlanL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Wölfl is unjustly neglected today. Nakamatsu makes this abundantly clear in a recording of great subtlety and feeling, not to mention technical excellence. Track 8 is entirely arresting; it is an album to be heard over and over again, and enjoy discovering new nuances that may have escaped hearing the first time. Kudos to Mr. Nakamatsu-- he has joined the ranks of my 6 favorite pianists.
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Sold on It May 3 2013
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Joseph Wolfl stood over six feet tall and had an enormous finger span, and after listening to these keyboard sonatas by him, this Austrian composer stands tall in my book. Inventive and engaging, in Jon Nakamatsu's hands they seem able to stand alongside some of Beethoven's work -- certainly, he seems fully the equal of the likes of, say, Clementi. If one of your personal quests is finding great music by little-known composers, give this disc a try. It may grown on you as much as it has on me.
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