Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
Andor Földes
Deutsche Grammophon
Catalogue No.

A couple of years after making these Beethoven recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Andor Foldes remarked that ‘I am not a prodigy and I am not an octogenarian. I just have to be good’.  Such plain-spoken reserve might be considered characteristically Hungarian. Eloquence has already released Foldes’s long-esteemed albums of his fellow countrymen Bartók (480 7100) and Kodály (480 7099). However, he was best-known in English-speaking countries for his performances and latterly his no-nonsense teaching, of Beethoven. This 2CD release of sonatas is one of three issues of his recordings of the composer’s music for Deutsche Grammophon, made in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The special grasp Foldes had of Beethoven’s idiom was recognised early in life. At sixteen, he played the ‘Pathétique’ Sonata to Emil von Sauer whose own virtuoso days were long behind him. At length, von Sauer rose from his seat, went over to the boy and kissed him on the forehead. ‘My son,’ said von Sauer to Foldes, ‘when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, “Take good care of this kiss – it comes from Beethoven who gave it to me after hearing me play.” I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage and now I feel you deserve it.’ The ‘Pathétique’ is here, of course, enriched by a further three decades’ insight and experience; so too are several of the best-known named sonatas as well as two ‘late’ ones, Op. 101 and Op. 109.


CD 1
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 ‘Pathétique’
Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 ‘Tempest’
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 ‘Waldstein’

CD 2
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ‘Appassionata’
Piano Sonata No. 26 in E flat major, Op. 81a ‘Les adieux’
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101
Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109

Andor Foldes, piano


Recording information

Recording Producers: Hans Weber (Sonatas Op. 13, Op. 28, Op. 31 No. 2, Op. 81a, Op. 101); Hans Ritter (Sonatas Op. 53, Op. 109); Karl-Heinz Schneider (Sonata Op. 57)
Balance Engineers: Heinz Wildhagen (Sonatas Op. 13, Op. 28, Op. 53, Op. 57, Op. 81a, Op. 109); Walter-Alfred Wettler (Sonata Op. 31 No. 2); Harald Baudis (Sonata Op. 101)
Recording Location: Beethoven-Saal, Hanover, Germany, 2 & 9 November 1961 (Sonata Op. 13), 3, 4, 5, 8 & 9 November 1961 (Sonata Op. 28), 11, 13 & 14 August 1960 (Sonata Op. 31 No. 2), 7–11 July 1958 (Sonata Op. 53), 16–18 December 1958 (Sonata Op. 57), 7 & 9 November 1961 (Sonata Op. 81a); Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany, 16–17 May 1960 (Sonata Op. 101), 3–4 February 1960 (Sonata Op. 109)
Remastering Engineer: Michael Beier


‘Andor Foldes knows just what he is at… “Les Adieux” receives a wholly delightful performance… [he] exactly catches the mood… This is playing of great distinction.’ Gramophone

‘Listening to it for the first time [Op.109], I was pleased to recognise familiar virtues: clear and limpid tone, for example, crisp textures and the technical ability to get round all the awkward corners of Beethoven’s piano writing with ease and naturalness.’ Gramophone