I have been playing the piano for a while now, I'm going to ask a question which bugs me.
When Beethoven composed his piano sonatas, did he imagine that they would sound like they do now in recent recordings? The pianofortes in his day were not as technologically advanced as the pianos in our time.
So, the question is... should his ( or rather, any composer of the classical - early romantic period ) pedal markings in his/their scores be followed to the letter, or should one exercise some discretion?
I personally use a little discretion, especially when playing the slow tempo part of the pieces. As most pianists know, the resonance of early day pianofortes is nothing compared to the resonance modern pianos are able to produce.