Battle of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Our Album of the Week features a new recording of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas by Rudolf Buchbinder, who will perform two of the most beloved of Beethoven sonatas — the "Appassionata" (Aug. 14) and the "Pathetique" (Aug. 15) — at his Mostly Mozart pre-concert recitals next week.

As a preview, we asked you to tell us which one of the two you’d like to hear today and we played the winner at noon.

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Comments [10]

Edward Duff

I was disappointed that Clara Schumann's work was not chosen. I remembered that I had a recording of a Piano Trio of hers. Then, I went online, and lo and behold, I found she composed many fine works. You should have given us a choice between three of her works. It is a disservice to play Brahms' and call it a "tribute" to Schumann. Would you play something from the 19th century because the composer was a descendent of Bach on Mar. 21? I don't think so. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Sep. 12 2012 12:15 PM
Richard Rosenbluth from Englewood

I. too, agree with those who bemoan the absence of late Beethoven (whether string quartets or piano sonatas) on WQXR. By the way, when did we last hear any of the complete Bach sonatas for unaccompanied violin?
All of which is why I subscribe to Siriusxm. I get historic MetOpera broadcasts and quality music on Symphony Hall.

Aug. 08 2012 11:47 AM
Juvenal from Long Island

Yes, what is it with those annoying "musical" interludes with dogs and typewriters?

As another commenter wrote--why encourage us to listen to the station we are already listening to?

Love it as I do, I sure wish WQXR would explore somewhat less-heard corners of the repertory. After decades of listening to the station, I preen myself sometimes on saying, "Wagner," or "Dvorak," or "Tchaikovsky" on turning on the station and hearing a few seconds of a piece, but of course, it's a work I've heard, heard, heard, before.

OK, let's hear "The Tempest" more often, and spare "The Moonlight."

Aug. 08 2012 11:47 AM
Raymond Banacki from Brooklyn, New York

Having just seen Jules Dassin's magnificent update of "Phaedra" with Melina Mercouri and Anthony Perkins - and even though Bach is played in the film's tragic finale - I am suddenly in the mood for the magnificence of Beethoven's famed piano sonata, the "Pathetique".

Aug. 08 2012 11:23 AM
John Blasdale from Whippany NJ

When can we expect you to present Buchbinder's interpretation of at least one of the Last Five Sonatas? They are the real test of a Beethoven interpreter. The latest sonata you have presented so far seems to be op. 79, a rather slight work.
I agree entirely with Peter O'Malley's comments, and with Tom's about the (late) String Quartets, and Rosanna's about the "Hammerklavier".

Aug. 08 2012 11:11 AM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

I agree with everyone who has pointed out (as I have in other contexts) the severe limitations of WQXR's top 40 playlist, and I join those who ask for the sonata that is played at less than saturation frequency, the "Appassionata". And, why only one movement, this morning, of the more frequently played "Moonlight"? Needed time to get in one of those annoying promo spots (like the one with the singing dogs, God helpe us, or whatever it is) telling us to listen to the station we're listening to? why are you wasting our pledge money on this stuff?

Aug. 08 2012 10:14 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

How can I possibly choose? Love them both. Can I choose a favorite child?
I do agree that there are other great sonatas that deserve to be heard more often.

Aug. 08 2012 10:10 AM
Tom from Montclair, NJ

What Andrew said! Please, please play the less often played Beethoven piano sonatas. By the way, how about some of his lesser played 16 (?) string quartets? But, today is the showdown with piano sonatas, and so I vote for the lesser played sonata: the Appassionata. It's a gorgeous piano sonata, and I love its energy, its strength.

Aug. 08 2012 09:04 AM
Rosanna from NYC

I agree that WQXR should play other Beethoven piano sonatas more often. Even the "Tempest" & "Hammerklavier" are rarely broadcast; for some reason the "Pastoral" fares a bit better.

Aug. 08 2012 05:17 AM
Andrew from Lower Merion, PA

Why is it always Appassionata, Moonlight, Pathetique and Waldstein?
Can we hear some of Beethoven's less-oft played sonatas that are every bit as beautiful? Op. 14, No. 1 (in E); op. 78 in F-sharp; op. 31, No. 3 in E-flat. Op. 109 and 110 would also do fine, but they leave you so speechless, looking over a peak of spirituality so high, that you might think there is no point in accomplishing anything else with your day.

Aug. 07 2012 10:58 PM

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