This is a fun piece for me. As an amature pianist this is a piece that I have recently tried to conquer. With a piece like this, you don't learn it, you try to conquer it! It takes some real skill to play and it is one of those pieces that when it is played right I sigh and say, "perfection."
I don't plan on normally putting two versions of the same piece on the same post everytime but I think this really emphasizes how the same piece can be interpretted so differently.
For a long time, my favorite was the one from Gilels.
It is slower than many of the others and he is a touch heavy footed on the sustain pedal but he maintains a real musicality that I can really hear. I appreciate the secondary melodies in the middle section. Listen for it, you'll think there is another hand on the keyboard.
Personally, I prefer it a little slower so I don't miss all everything that is going on.
Gilels' playing in such a Soviet style, the Russian is just oozing out of him! It's fantastic. Very serious and passionate.
But then... I found this recording of Jozef Hofmann. Please fight through this recording and listen to it. It's from 1923, but if you can fight through the noise you will be rewarded by a true master. It is playful and fast and I can't get enough of it. He uses A LOT less pedal which helps the notes to have some space, but you don't miss the legato. It's big when it needs to be big, but it has a subtle side which is genious.
The end of the piece is very quiet but Hofmann sets it up beautifully by not being so serious in the begining. When Gilels plays the last few measures I feel a little bit like it was just an add-on to finish the piece. When Hofmann plays it I actually feel like it came from an earlier section. Much more cohesive.
I hope you enjoy both of the pieces.