Beethoven Piano Sonatas

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In honor of Beethoven's birthday this week, we're pitting five of Beethoven's piano sonatas against one another. You told us which sonata you wanted to hear today at noon.

See how your fellow listeners voted.


Comments [33]


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Dec. 15 2010 01:53 PM
Michael Meltzer

Narrowing down the broad spectrum of Beethoven's mastery (or any composer's) to one "most popular" is not a refinement of the programming function, it is an abdication of the programming function.

Dec. 15 2010 12:18 PM

Would it be asking too much to play all of the sonatas over the next month; or would that take away the time to play another Enigma Variations or Marche Slav!!!!!

Dec. 15 2010 12:02 PM
Yvonne from Warren

I totally agree with Michael Meltzer.

Dec. 15 2010 12:01 PM
lynn silberman

a vote for the waldstein here!
one of his most moving, for me. i must stop whatever and just breathe it in.

Dec. 15 2010 11:55 AM
Rita Folenta

Is there anything more beautiful? I think not.

Dec. 15 2010 11:53 AM
Anne Sherwood from Sarasota FL

As a transplanted New Yorker, I really love listening to your station. As for the Appasionata Sonata, it really epitimizes Beethoven's feelings.

Dec. 15 2010 11:53 AM
L.Lubin from Ft. Lee, NJ

I voted for the Appassionata but I'd have been happier if one of the late sonatas was included...or all of them. I'd like to hear the Waldstein with the Andante favori in its original place, too.

Dec. 15 2010 11:51 AM
Claire from NJ

I chose the "Appassionata" sonata because of the beauty of its first hauntingly melodious notes and the overall passion and frenzy of the piece, per se. Very characteristic of the composer himself.

Dec. 15 2010 11:49 AM
Bob Huber

It's cold on Staten Island. It's always cold on Staten Island, so any appassionate is appreciated.

Dec. 15 2010 11:35 AM
Jim Kennedy from Kenilworth,N.J.

as the name implies PASSIONATE.

Dec. 15 2010 11:33 AM
Dunnia Margarita from Tenafly, NJ

They are all magnificent but it will be nice to enjoy the Waldstein Sonata, seldom heard.

Dec. 15 2010 11:28 AM
Earl Birkicht from St. Louis

Absolutely right - choosing would be easier if the performer were the choice. A good reading is preferable to a simple display of virtuosity. And Beethoven? Any and all, any time.

Dec. 15 2010 11:28 AM

Whatever Richter plays gets my vote -- but his Appassionata is right up there with his Brahms second piano concerto.

Dec. 15 2010 11:20 AM
Al Gromulat from Englewood, NJ

I'd choose the Tempest - it's not heard enough. And that sublime, turbulent 3rd movement with its storm-ending trickle-down.

Dec. 15 2010 11:16 AM
Norman from Rockville Centre

The "Waldstein" with its beautiful tapping first movement and the short sublime adagio leading into the exultant rondo.

Dec. 15 2010 11:00 AM
Elaine Hallett from Manhattan

Can I remind you that today is also the birthday of the Russian pianist Valery Kuleshov (who now lives in Edmond, Oklahoma). Could you play something by him today (perhaps the Bach/Busoni on the recording of his Carnegie Hall debut).

I have extra copies of Valery's newly issued CD, on which he plays Rachmaninov's Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos and Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella Suite as transcribed for two pianos by Mikhail Pletnev. Valery's daughter Tatiana Kuleshov plays the second piano. Can you tell me how to send a copy of this CD to WQXR?

Dec. 15 2010 10:58 AM
Dr. George Bournoutian, NJ from NJ

Appassionata (Lang Lang latest recording or Richter). Op. 110- or 111. Try to find Pollini, Richter, Gilels recordings. Schnabel, Kempf, Brendel OK.

Dec. 15 2010 10:50 AM
George Bournoutian

Any sonata except the moonlight. Op. 110 or 111 would be great. Try to find Richter, Gilels, Michelangeli, Pollini, Kempf recordings. Avoid any mediocre American pianists.

Dec. 15 2010 10:45 AM
Ted Tours

I voted for The Waldstein because it's sublime (as most of LvB's piano sonata are) but the pulsating first movement propels the whole piece. Love it!

Dec. 15 2010 10:37 AM
Victoria from CT

Happy Birthday Maestro!

Thank you for all the gifts you left us.

Dec. 15 2010 10:35 AM
Charlie Paquin from Quebec City, Canada

No 4 in E-flat major, definitely.

Dec. 15 2010 10:33 AM
Marie-Thérèse Laguerre

The Pathétique has always been my favorite Piano Sonata.

Dec. 15 2010 10:31 AM
Charle E from Whitestone

Forget about Beethoven (not really possible) for a minute. This is really a way of calculating the number of listeners.

Dec. 15 2010 10:28 AM
Julie from Brooklyn

I love the late sonatas. Play them so people can get more familiar with them!

Dec. 15 2010 10:28 AM
Jim McGuire

Ever since I heard the Vanilla Fudge use to Moonlight Sonata as part of a song, I've loved it.

Dec. 15 2010 10:22 AM
marianne from hudson heights

The Waldstein got my vote. I only hope you play the Alfred Brendel interpretation.

I wish you played Beethoven (complete pieces, not fragments) as often as you play Bernstein, Bizet, & Ravel. Actually, I wish you played him more than any of the above.

Can we hope to hear his great Triple Concerto soon?

Dec. 15 2010 10:19 AM
Nancy Wight from New York

I like all of the above, but the "Moonlight" is probably my favorite. I tend to think the Russians play Beethoven particularly well. I've heard Konstantin Lifschitz perform just two Beethoven sonatas live--none of the above--and wish he would record all of them.

Dec. 15 2010 09:52 AM
Susan Raymond from Montauk

My favorite is the opus 111. I love "Les Adieux" as well and am very happy to listen to all of them. Given the choices, I choose the Appassionata.

Dec. 15 2010 09:49 AM
John O'Brien

While I agree with the comments made by the other posters, the Pathetique rises above the others in its sheer brilliance and range of emotion...

Dec. 15 2010 09:40 AM
c coan

i agree with Michael Meltzer

Dec. 15 2010 09:33 AM
CL Culwell

I prefer the Opus 110 and Opus 111, but all the sonatas of LV are amazing, especially the Appassionata.

Dec. 15 2010 09:16 AM
Michael Meltzer

As legendary pianist Claude Frank said on St. Paul Sunday a couple of weeks ago, each Beethoven piano sonata is unique, there is no one Beethoven sonata that is like any other Beethoven sonata.
WQXR's problem should be how to distribute all 32 over a reasonable time period, not "which one to play at 12 Noon."
And, if a choice must be made, if you cited which pianist you have in mind for each selection, that makes a choice infinitely easier.

Dec. 15 2010 01:09 AM

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