Pianist John O'Conor presents the fifth disc in his ongoing traversal of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas for Telarc, which received much critical acclaim for both its quality of recording and of performance. "This is piano recording at its best, and Beethoven playing of the highest caliber." —CD Review
The first movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 5, Op. 10, No. 1 in C minor, has an opening explosive statement countered by a gentler answer. The shortened development section, which does not make use of any of the main thematic material, helps to make this a very compact movement. The slow second movement employs variation technique in its restatement of the two themes. The finale is the longest movement of the three, with a full development section and a coda.
Sonata No. 6, Op. 10, No. 2 in F major is lighter in character than the C minor sonata. In the first movement, as in Op. 10, No. 1, the development section uses very little of the opening thematic material. The second movement, an Allegretto, has the character of a scherzo and trio. The finale contains two similar, energetic themes and modulates widely until the recapitulation brings back the tonic.
The last sonata of Op. 10, Sonata No. 7, No. 3 in D major, is the largest and most profound of the three. Its beginning Presto is followed by a lyrical, singing second movement in D minor. The Menuetto/Trio returns to the major key, and the sonata ends with a mischievous Allegro in rondo form.
Sonata No. 12, Op. 26 in A-flat major is a highly individual work. The opening Andante takes the form of a theme with variations. Movement two is a scherzo followed by a more subdued trio. The daring third movement, "funeral march on the death of a hero" was played by a wind band in Beethoven's own funeral procession in Vienna, twenty-six years after its composition.