Ohlsson's recording of the Beethoven sonata cycle is shaping up to be one for the ages. In a recent interview with writer/pianist Joseph Smith, Ohlsson provides an glimpse into this approach to the project:
In recording, though, I really put the screws to myself. I stretch my own limits, because I take all the experiences I've had with the individual work, with Beethoven and with performing altogether, and I try to distill them. It isn't just a matter of effort, though, but also of absolute time — a live performance takes exactly as long as the piece, whereas a recording of a single sonata might take eight hours of takes, listening, making judgments, and balancing possible choices.
and I think he gets it right with this observation:
"If a man from Mars were dropped on the earth and the only Beethoven left was the piano sonatas, he could actually form a pretty complete idea of who Beethoven was. They present a full, accurate portrait."
Read the rest of this fascinating interview here.
Currently listening to: Schubert, Impromptu D.935 - 3 in B flat