I happen to prefer the 7th piano sonata to the 11th, as music; but in this case there is enough "performance bleed through" to +/- homoginize these two not-entirely-dissimilar sonatas on this record, Angel 35653. One might get the best of this disk by just listening to one or the other at a sitting.
Here, Gieseking plays an incredible old clunker of some sort, and he can still get tone out of it. And "dynamics" in G's case does not mean just loud (which he can certainly do), but rather he has an amazing "range" of dynamics; he seems always to be able to find "differences", no matter how narrow the range in terms of rote SPL. Although I cannot hear "pedals", it must be that G uses them freely and easily, as a regular part of his play; something's got to explain his total control over the range and sound of the piano.
Anyway, G really takes off out of the gate here, like Gould/Bach or something, and still the music, both the melodies/harmonies and the interwoven themes, are completely intelligible. He has an easy mastery that makes me "comfortable" as a listener and that allows me (or does not prevent me) from forgetting about the rote aspects of play to enter into the piece as musical communion.
No, this is probably not Gieseking's "best"; but when you're talking about this kind of ability, it's all "educational', at the very least.
My grandfather had Gieseking's Beethoven PS 7 on 78s. Is it just nostalgia that I remember it sounding at least as good then as it does now on my $$$$ "modern" hi-fi, off a +/- "modern" LP?
I will keep an eye peeled for the Ravel and Debussey.