Beethoven's piano sonata number 28 in A major is arguably one
of the most influential piano sonatas of the late 19th century, the
magic of which captivated composers such as Mendelssohn,
Wagner and Schumann. The sonata displays an immense
diversity in style and demonstrates the apogee of Beethoven's
mastery of form.
Mozart's piano sonata in A minor is the first of only two Mozart
piano sonatas to have been composed in a minor key. Written
around the time of the death of Mozart's mother, it is the darkest
of his piano sonatas.
‘Miroirs’ by Maurice Ravel, premiered in 1906, displays a
significant change in Ravel's harmonic development. The piece is
dedicated to the ‘Apaches’, a group of artists who shared their
creations at regular meetings. ‘Miroirs’ reveals Ravel as an
“…there is magical playing in the Presto of the Mozart and throughout much of the Ravel. …'La vallée des cloches' ends the recital on a note of sublime beauty.”
“Go, listen, and wonder how many better pianists there are alive in this country, or anywhere”
“Throughout her live programme Imogen Cooper's poise and overall artistry make a refreshing change from a more overt, less subtle virtuosity. She captures all of Beethoven's speculative beauty at the start of his Op 101 Sonata, and if others are more fiercely energised in the second movement march, with its prophecy of Schumann's obsessive dotted rhythms, few are more stylish and refined. Again, if her view of Mozart's A minor Sonata could be thought sometimes self-consciously beautiful or manicured, there is no denying her calibre, never more so than in her urgent propulsion of the wind-swept finale. Cooper studied with Kathleen Long in London and Jacques Février in Paris, which gives her Ravel a special distinction. Less animated or razor-sharp than others in 'Alborada del gracioso', she never forces the issue, and there is never a hint of the literalism that is the bane of many French pianists. 'Noctuelles', 'Oiseaux tristes' and 'La vallée des cloches' come beguilingly alive when played with such freedom and fantasy, yet always within a scrupulously true and accurate framework. For her encore Cooper gives us Debussy's 'Les terraces des audiences', reminding you in every elusive phrase that subtlety and finesse are at the very heart of great French piano writing. The BBC's soft-grained sound is ideally attuned to this never less than beautiful recital.”
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