96Hz/24-bit, FLAC/ALAC; Hyperion CDA68199 (supplied by www.hyperion-records.co.uk)

Angela Hewitt once told me how delighted she was to play on Wilhelm Kempff’s old Steinway in Munich – although for this varied programme she’s chosen a Fazioli grand, recording in the Berlin Jesus-Christus-Kirche and providing a detailed booklet history and analysis, noting performance difficulties. It’s Vol 7 in her sonata cycle: works dating from 1801-20, starting with ‘The Tempest’, where Beethoven introduces recitatives, and ending in the E major, when his late works for pianoforte embraced variation form. Hewitt reminds me here of the old Gieseking recording in its clarity and calm as (iii) develops. She is at her very best in the finale of Op.27, and perhaps least effective in that of Op.79. There’s a certain plainness to her Beethoven there, especially if you know the classic Backhaus Decca LP. But overall a fairly rewarding set. CB

Sound Quality: 80%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

This is a very clean recording issued by Hyperion with system (not tape) noise 100dB below the peaks of piano [see Graph]. This is a 96kHz rendering but the 48kHz bandwidth on offer is barely tickled by the piano’s ~15kHz range. PM