New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini singles out Beethoven's final six Bagatelles in quest for Top 10 composers' list
I'm thoroughly enjoying New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini's contributions to his quest to put together a list of Top 10 classical western composers.
He's providing video show-and-tells from his home piano. So far, besides his opening plug for J.S. Bach, there are two more entries, focusing on early-19th-century Vienna.
Check him out here, and you can dip into the 700-plus contributions and commentaries from Internet readers.
In Part 2 of his Vienna foray, Tommasini puts forward the strange beauty of Beethoven's six Op. 126 Bagatelles, which written after the composer came up with his final piano sonatas. Short, almost fragmentary, and deceptively simple, they contain Beethoven's universe of musical possibility in miniature form.
Here's a historical rogues' gallery to play all six, in order. (I'm calling it a rogues' gallery because I don't actually like any of these six interpretations. My favourite recorded interpretation is by Toronto pianist Boris Zarankin, from a CD he made in 2006. But I could't find any samples to post here.)
Sviatoslav Richter first:
Alfred Brendel playing No. 2:
Myra Hess playing No. 3 (recorded in 1957):
and Wilhelm Kempff playing No. 4:
Back to Brendel for No. 5:
Let's give Glenn Gould the last chord, in No. 6: