Best recording of Beethoven piano sonatas?

Jul 3, 2012

Which pianist, in your opinion, recorded the best Beethoven piano sonata cycle?
I enjoy Wilhelm Kempff's playing, and from what I've heard of Ashenasky's recordings, he comes a close second.


I definitely like Wilhelm Kempff's recordings. I have his performances of the late sonatas. They're magnificent. I also enjoy Alfred Brendel's performances - he's done more than one recording of several of them.


I'd only learned of Michelangeli in the last few months, and this is the first I've heard he has a set - his version is suprisingly good
I don't like Gould's Beethoven apart from this and the Pathetique - his Bach, on the other hand, ruined all other pianist's Bach for me...
Kempff still wins in my opinion on the basis of his Arietta in this Sonata

I love Schnabel and Kempff. Those would probably be the top 2 complete recordings I've heard. Also, Ashkenazy's set is worth a listen. His interpretations aren't always my favorite, but he does show a great ability to interpret each aspect of the piece (which Schnabel and Kempff also do, but to a greater degree IMO). Brendel is solid but a little dull. Just thought I'd mention it.

I recall that Malcolm Binns recorded the whole sonatas on the fortepiano some thirty years ago. I don't know if it is the best, but it's really interesting.