Alice Sara Ott has won several piano competitions and has landed a recording contract with DG. That company has always been generous with up-and-coming pianists, and on the basis of this disc alone Ott should be one of the stayers.
Her clarity of articulation and wide dynamic range make her a standout. Ott gives a delightful performance of the C Major Sonata, Op 2 No 3. She is playful and spontaneous in the outer movements, and thoughtful in the Adagio, where she is adept at pointing the passages that hint at the Beethoven to come.
The big C Major Sonata Op 53, Waldstein, operates on a larger canvas. At first I thought she was underplaying the drama, but as the work progresses Ott’s individual approach becomes clear.
She opts to look inward; her central Adagio molto is a meditation, not the rich outpouring of song we get from Barenboim. Under Ott, the first appearance of the finale’s main theme is as delicate as Debussy’s snowflakes, while the coda dazzles without the try-hard bluster of some other pianists. Altogether it is a refreshing take on a masterpiece, stunningly brought off. She personifies grazioso in the Andante favori, and uses the fiery Rondo a capriccio to display her chiselled technique. Ott’s “rage”, like Beethoven’s, remains deftly tongue-in-cheek.