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ALLA BREVE

March 28, 1993|TIMOTHY MANGAN

BEETHOVEN: "Hammerklavier" Sonata, Opus 106; Sonata in B-flat, Opus 22; Fantasy, Opus 77. Ursula Oppens, piano. Music & Arts CD 734. Oppens sinks her teeth into the "Hammerklavier" with impressive results. It's a fully realized performance, impetuous yet controlled, aggressive yet graceful, thinking yet characterful. Her reading of the Opus 22 Sonata disappoints: In a dry account, she seems to take its classical perfection too seriously. The seldom-heard Fantasy is an interesting if not completely satisfying artifact of Beethoven's improvisational skills, which Oppens plays solidly, but without flash.

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