"Although most of Neefe’s fame as a composer came from writing popular Singspiele, he also published 12 keyboard sonatas, which are the main items on this premiere recording featuring pianist—and distinguished Fanfare alumna—Susan Kagan ... this is fine music ... I found that the closer attention I paid to Neefe’s music, the more I enjoyed it, and, in fact, there are some gems here, such as the Sonata in G Major ... both sonatas in C Major ... the Sonata in B?, the second sonata in C Minor, and the Sonata in A Major ... Kagan succeeds admirably at bringing this music to life, and if there is any moment on this recording where her pianism is less than sparkling, stylish, and engaging, I must have missed it. Kagan’s way with the Beethoven variations is equally persuasive. The quality of the recorded sound is very fine."
Radu A Lelutiu - Fanfare - September 2012
"Compositions for keyboard from both [Christian Gottlob Neefe] and [Ludwig van Beethoven] are the subject of this new CD, which features performances courtesy of pianist Susan Kagan and her sublime right and left. The first collection of pieces presented here—Neefe’s Twelve Sonatas... This recording also features young Beethoven’s first published composition, The Dressler Variations. Just listen closely, and you can hear the sound of history being made."
Chris Morgan - Scene Magazine - July 2012
"...Overall, the works are pleasant, well-crafted... [Kagain] particularly shines in slow movements: notice, for example, how she colourfully differentiates detached and sustained articulation in No 1’s Poco adagio and No 7’s Arioso. Kagan’s warm sonority receives beautiful reproduction in one of the best-engineered piano releases I’ve heard originating from Joseph Patrych’s Sound Studio..."
Jed Distler - Gramophone magazine - September 2012
"The 12 sonatas on these two discs, which are distributed by Naxos, are crisp and bright. Susan Kagan’s clear technique plays up the music’s competency, its gentle rising and falling. The music is worlds away not only from Beethoven but from Mozart too. The lines are simple. The Andante of the Sonata in G, for instance, would make a good theme for a historical romance movie—better than the New-Agey stuff filmmakers often use. The set ends with Beethoven’s first published composition: a set of variations on a mournful march by another contemporary composer, Christoph Dressler. Not earth-shaking, but not bad for a boy of 11. And fascinating to listen to, because sometimes you can sense how he was thinking." ***
Mary Kunz Goldman - The Buffalo News - April 2012
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