Grigory Sokolov: Beethoven, Brahms

June 16, 2020, 9:00 am

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In recent decades, Grigory Sokolov has elected to perform solo recitals only, eschewing concertos and probably frustrating some of his many admirers. The great Russian pianist, who rose to fame after winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1966, aged only sixteen, also restricts his activities to central Europe because he dislikes long flights and jet lag. He stayed away from recording for a quarter century before being persuaded back, though with strict conditions. All these performances were recorded live in concert. Three years after his last recording, Sokolov returns with a double album of live recordings from his triumphant European 2019-20 tour. Focusing on the early (Piano Sonata No. 3) and late Beethoven sonatas (Piano Sonatas Nos. 27 and 32) as well as Brahms’s autumnal piano pieces Opp. 118 and 119, this is a showcase of the Russian pianist’s “stunning technique” (The Telegraph).