Audiophile Audition Review of Pianist Steven Masi

Lee Passerella   September 06, 2013

“Right from the start in the lovely “Pastoral” Sonata, it’s evident that Masi has thought a great deal about matters such as dynamics and phrasing. The shaping and shading of the first movement are carried out with great care, and the slightly slow tempi allow the listener to savor the pianist’s studious ministrations.

In the Op.13 Sonata, I especially appreciate the way Masi shapes the first movement development section, subtly recapitulating the crescendo patterns that attend the rising figure of the agitated first theme. If, again, the rondo finale is taken at a slightly broader pace than you sometimes hear, the tempo allows Masi to emphasize poignant details that suggested the title Pathétique to Beethoven’s publisher, Joseph Eder.

The most demanding sonata of all, Op. 101, probably gets the finest performance. The contrast between the sweetly inward first movement and the impulsive march of the second movement is perfectly gauged. And the last movement, which can meander in less skillful hands, has all the purposefulness that Beethoven intended for it, with its neo-Baroque structuring and polyphony, its subtle recall of themes from the earlier movements. Very effective and affecting.”