SCHUMANN Fantasy Op 17 BEETHOVEN Piano Sonatas Nos 10 & 30
Like its predecessors, the sixth release in Andreas Haefliger’s ‘Perspectives’ series of mixed recitals includes Beethoven sonatas, leading one to suspect a hidden agenda in the form of an eventual cycle encompassing all 32. The pianist emphasises the lyrical qualities of the opening movement of Op 14 No 2, in contrast to Pollini’s recent quicker, more angular interpretation. The Andante is terse and lean, with hair-trigger dynamic contrasts, which ought to have characterised the rather sedate finale.
Haefliger’s intense and concentrated readings of Berio’s Erdenklavier and Wasserklavier assiduously lead into the eloquently spun first movement of Beethoven’s Op 109 Sonata. The second movement may be a tad slower than Beethoven’s Prestissimo marking implies, yet Haefliger is one of the few pianists not to obscure inner lines in crescendos. A cogent feeling for long lines and strong inner rhythm distinguishes the third movement: listen to the often rushed Var 3’s wonderful melodic shaping and its effortless transition into Var 4.
Variation 6’s chains of trills foreshadow the soft rapid figurations in following selection, Berio’s Luftklavier, while Feuerklavier’s relentless, Scriabin-like trills lead naturally into the rumbling left hand that introduces the final work, Schumann’s C major Fantasie. This is an ardent, animated and intelligently detailed performance, full of textual diversity that never spills over into contrivance or eccentricity. These qualities especially tell in the central march, where the arpeggiated chords are voiced with purpose and direction, and the obsessive dotted-rhythm polyphony is similarly contoured. Like Kissin, Haefliger not only nails the coda’s notorious skips but also brings out the bass-lines. A uncluttered, beautifully wrought finale concludes one of Haefliger’s most satisfying releases.