You are here

Chopin: Complete Piano Sonatas (Joseph Moog)

Cd/Dvd Reviews - Instrumental


Piano Sonatas
Joseph Moog
Onyx Onyx4152

by Steve Moffatt on May 19, 2017 (May 19, 2017) filed under Instrumental | Comment Now
★★★★☆ There's nothing synthetic about this Moog's approach to Chopin.

There’s plenty to like about young German pianist Joseph Moog’s approach to Chopin’s three sonatas. The works span 27 years – almost the length of Chopin’s career. The seldom-recorded No 1 sees the teenage student experimenting with form and time signatures (witness the unusual 5/4 for the Allegretto) and is a rarity. Moog makes an eloquent case for having it heard more often, especially in the superbly restless finale.

Just about every pianist worth their salt has recorded the other two works. The B Minor Second was famously described by Schumann as four of Chopin’s “maddest children harnessed together” to form a sonata. Moog takes the famous funeral march extremely slowly – it clocks in at over 10’ (compare Martha Argerich’s 8’34’’ or Ivo Pogorelich’s brisk 6’34’’) – but while other approaches are more weighty the beautiful nocturne-like middle section is played with affecting simplicity. The famous brief flurry of triplet quavers that follows, the “wind blowing over my grave” as the 19th-century virtuoso Tausig described it, is dispatched with breathtaking panache.

Moog is equally astute in the Third Sonata, which many consider contains some of the finest Romantic music written for the instrument. Still only 30, he is being flagged as one of the best interpreters of his generation. There is also is a bit of the Stephen Hough about his recitals as he includes forgotten gems from the “golden age” as well as his own compositions.