Ludwig van Beethoven
No. 8, op. 17 („Pathétique“)
No. 14, op. 27/2 („Moonlight Sonata“)
No. 23, op. 57 („Appassionata“)
After his first CD featuring Beethoven’s piano sonatas No. 21 (“Waldstein”) and No. 29 (“Hammerklavier”), Sunwook Kim’s third solo CD with Accentus Music presents an impressive interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s three most well-known piano sonatas: “Pathétique” (No. 8), “Moonlight Sonata” (No. 14), and “Appassionata” (No. 23).
Sunwook Kim, who won the first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, has matured to become a subtle and accomplished Beethoven specialist – not least thanks to his partnership with the Beethoven House in Bonn, whose unique collection he regularly consults in his preparation of Beethoven’s works. Sunwook Kim stays close to the original score, yet nevertheless provides a very personal interpretation, which reveals a new and exceptional reading that stands out from the abundance of existing recordings of these three piano sonatas.
“Kim is blessed with technical command, intelligence and communicative flair in equal measure and at a very high level. The first of these is hard to miss: the treacherous outer movements of the ,Appassionata’ are crystal-clear, even under the greatest dramatic strain, and the finale of the ,Moonlight’ goes at the fullest of ,Presto agitatos’, without the slightest suspicion of gabble. Unlike many, including even some household names, his sound never grates in ,fortissimo’, and again that’s not for want of forcefulness. Nor is there any fault to be found with his cantabile and legato. These strengths are never indulged in for their own sake. Kim has an unerring sense of underlying harmonic tension and tonal design, plus the skill to apply colour and blend accordingly, which gives his playing both eloquence and architectural solidity and saves him from having to rely on gimmicky exaggeration to make his mark. [..] Recording quality is splendid, incidentally, Berlin’s Jesus-Christus-Kirche, as captured here, offering the optimum in clarity, warmth and impact.”
One of the best new classical albums – May 2017, Gramophone (click here for the full review)