In our collective idea of the piano, Beethoven?s name is associated with the monument of the thirty-two sonatas, which have often been elevated to the status of the ?New Testament? beside the ?Old Testament? of Bach?s Well-Tempered Clavier. Yet, over a period of decades, the composer of Für Elise constantly returned to the genre of the bagatelle, which he called ?trifles? but which actually meant a great deal to him. In this small form par excellence, as in the sonata, Beethoven laid the foundations for a flourishing new genre, the piano miniature. Whether they last a few minutes or a few seconds, these Bagatelles are masterpieces!
BBC Music Magazine October 2020
This disc serves to remind us how much marvellous music Beethoven wrote where there isn’t a scowl in sight…Throughout, Paul Lewis plays with the most natural, relaxed but concentrated enjoyment, instantly communicated to the happy listener. A delightful disc altogether, warmly recommended.
Gramophone Magazine September 2020
As you’d expect from such an experienced Beethoven performer as Paul Lewis, there’s a confidence in every track...What is also particularly telling is the way he creates the sense of a bigger structure over the course of an opus, even where that involves a study in contrasts....Lewis always giv[es] due consideration to Beethoven’s highly contrasting musical ingredients....All told, another hugely impressive disc from one of our greatest Beethovenians.
Presto Classical 10th July 2020
Lewis's affection and respect for these still-underappreciated little pieces is evident from the very first phrase of this lovely recital as he launches into Op. 33 with the musical equivalent of a raised eyebrow, the wry stretching of the upbeat hinting at a smörgåsbord of surprises in store...This is altogether a wonderful album, and the most eloquent of postscripts to the pianist’s towering survey of the complete piano sonatas. Katherine Cooper
The Guardian 1st August 2020
Combining expressive variety and technical ease, Lewis delights in the wit too. Even Für Elise, beaten to death by every would-be and would-not-be learner, becomes tolerable in his hands.