Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 23, 31, and 32 – Claudio Arrau
The career of the celebrated Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau (1903 – 1991) spanned the evolution of recorded sound; he made his first acoustic recording in 1921 and continued into the digital era of the 1980s. He made studio recordings of selected sonatas by Beethoven for EMI in the 1950s and of the complete sonatas for Philips between 1962 and 1966. These three sonatas, recorded live in Stockholm in 1960, were set down at the peak of Arrau’s career; the recording has been extremely rarely heard and has never been issued commercially before. In comparing the live recordings of Arrau to his studio recordings, Joseph Horowitz said: ‘I do not find his (studio recorded) cycle conveys Arrau’s full stature as a Beethoven player.’ In the later sonatas, Arrau himself alluded to the fact that an improvisatory way was required, which was difficult to achieve with the constraints of a recording studio.
"... a release that enhances if not necessarilyadds to Arrau’s extensive legacy."
Jed Distler - Gramophone magazine - July 2014