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Beethoven by the Numbers

Whenever you get the chance to hear the dazzlingly perfect Andras Schiff, whose delicate touch, technical wizardry and otherworldly tone is enough to give you goose bumps, take it. The Hungarian-born British pianist has, in the past, been known for his superb take on Bach, succeeding — some say surpassing — the late Glenn Gould as the reigning interpreter of the monumental Goldberg Variations. He’s also garnered awards for his interpretations of Schubert, Schumann and Bartók. In the last few years, however, Schiff has taken on the daunting challenge that only a hardy few of the keyboard world dare to attempt: the complete Beethoven piano-sonata cycle, masterworks that each have their own unique personality and reflect Beethoven’s musical, emotional and spiritual journey from youth to older age. In 2004, Schiff began his Beethoven Sonata Project, an exploration of the 32 works in chronological order. (Interesting, isn’t it, that the Goldberg Variations also number 32?) He’s repeating the cycle throughout North America in 2007-2008, and this week he performs the three Opus 1 sonatas and the Opus 7 in G major, following that next week with Nos. 5–8. Walt Disney Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Wed., Oct. 10, 8 p.m.; $35–$88. (323) 850-2000 or www.laphil.org.

—Mary Beth Crain