John Lill in excellent form for the second concert of his Beethoven piano sonata cycle

‘The second concert of John Lill’s Beethoven piano sonata cycle saw this national treasure back in the form that has earned him his reputation. After a slightly disappointing first outing, it was refreshing to hear such commitment throughout a concert, even in the smaller Piano Sonatas (nos. 3, 6 and 10); never did these earlier works feel lesser than their sprawling companion,Piano Sonata no. 21 in C major, ‘Waldstein’ (so-called after its dedicatee). Relishing Beethoven’s unheard-of piano textures and colours, and with deeply nuanced expression, this was a performance in which every note sounded fresh and totally original, as if we were hearing these works for the first time.’

 

Read my whole review at Bachtrack here

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The Appassionata opens John Lill’s Beethoven sonata cycle at Cadogan Hall, 7/10/13

‘The first of concert of John Lill’s Beethoven piano sonata cycle at Cadogan Hall saw a warhorse of the concert platform performing one of the great warhorses of the piano repertory. Alongside the concluding Op. 57 sonata – theAppassionata – we heard three lesser-known works, namely Op. 10 no. 3 in D, Op. 22 in B flat, and Op. 54 in F, presented in chronological order. Introducing Lill’s idiosyncratic programming, chosen, according to his prefatory note, to demonstrate in each concert something of the progression of Beethoven’s style, the earliest sonata came first and the Appassionata last, the latter paired with the practically unheard Op. 54 after the interval. Although a reasonable idea to ensure variety in each of a whopping eight concerts, such “big names last” programming often leads to a lack of focus in the earlier works on the programme, and the disparity in standard between first and second halves was rather disappointing, particularly from one who puts Beethoven first in his repertoire to such an extent as Lill.’

Read the whole review at Bachtrack here.