Battle of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

This Sunday, WQXR's Marathon Sundays continues with Beethoven's piano sonatas, all 32 of them. But for today's Showdown, you only had to choose your favorite among three of the greats — "Pathetique," "Moonlight" and "Appassionata" — performed by three noteworthy Beethoven interpreters.

You selected Richard Goode performing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata." We played it at noon.


Comments [15]

Peter O'Malley

CHuck from Clark: you are clairvoyant!! They are playing (drumroll please) the Flower Duet!!!!

Where's some Arvo part?

Nov. 07 2012 03:49 PM
Cecilia Soto from Mexico City

My favorite and so beautifull that is the last sonata is Opus 111, played by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Listen to Beethoven. Announcing jazz in the Arietta, wonderful!

Cecilia Soto (Mexico)

Nov. 07 2012 12:08 PM
jessica from riverdale ny

WQXR classical music each and every day is what we live by and with -- especially the absolutely best voice on radio -- that's none other than you Midge. Maybe not the best phraseogolgy [forgive mis-spelling]-- a real class-act !!!

Nov. 07 2012 11:54 AM
Chuck from Clark, NJ

Peter, I agree completely. I understand their need to keep money coming in by playing the greatest hits (over and over and over again [Flower Duet, Meditation from Tais, Humming Chorus, I'm looking at you]), but they need to venture further afield (during the work day, at least). Copland lived a long time and wrote a lot of music other than the same few works that get played to death. The station wouldn't explode if Varese or Cowell were played a couple of times a week in lieu of a Vivaldi work we've heard a million times (that wasn't that good to begin with).

Nov. 07 2012 11:54 AM
Drude Roessler from Westfield, NJ

Always on in the house, always on in the car, my constant companion is WQXR!

Nov. 07 2012 11:54 AM

Please, the Appassionata;so beautiful and representative of Beethoven's sad, but fruitful life.

Nov. 07 2012 11:48 AM
Ralph Gifford from Jefferson, NJ

I love all 3 of these choices. However, one of my most favorites is the middle movement of the Pathetique so that's the one for me. My father is a highly trained classical pianist and organist and my wife and I often ask hime to play this for us when we visit him as he still plays it well even at 91.

Nov. 07 2012 11:34 AM
William Leo Coakley from Manhattan

Alfred Brendel is the greatest living performer of Beethoven (and Haydn), sad though it is that he no longer plays in public. But at least we have his recordings—and writings. At his wonderful Carnegie concerts, it was no surprise that there were many well-known pianists, teachers, and, of course, music students, not to mention a packed house of us mere music-lovers and Beethovians.

Nov. 07 2012 11:23 AM
Peter O'Malley from oakland, New Jersey

Hmmm. How many piano sonatas did Bethoven write? and weren't these 3 he same ones set up on a similar "showdown", perhaps last November?

Why not expand people's horizons, by including a choice for "anything but one of these three"?

This station is becoming very bland; hate to say it, but it's true.

Nov. 07 2012 11:13 AM
Charles Sexton from Floral Park

This is a very hard choice as all are great performances or great music. Would love to hear any one or better yet all three.



Nov. 07 2012 11:07 AM
Miles from Montclair, NJ

The aptly named "Appassionata" gets my vote, for being the most fiery and probably the most technically difficult of the three. And for the additional reason of hearing it played by Richard Goode, a fabulous pianist with a uniquely controlled and poetic style. It will be interesting to hear his take on a sonata usually performed with runaway emotion.

Nov. 07 2012 10:44 AM
Amy Berg from CT

I'd like to hear the Appassionata, only because it seems to garner less air play than the Pathetique, and especially the Moonlight. Three magnificently gorgeous works in the hands o"f brilliant artists, I'll be listening at noon regardless of the "winner. Thank you, WQXR, from a lifelong listener!

Nov. 07 2012 10:29 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

This Showdown sounds very familiar - didn't you do this same one last year during Beethoven Awareness Month?

Nov. 07 2012 10:11 AM

The reason I chose the Pathetique is because when I lived in CT the church where I played the organ burned down. The congregation met across the street at the VFW for a year and a half where there was only a piano to use. I had to "dust off" my piano works and for Easter Sunday I chose to play the Pathetique. I had practiced the piece on my Grand Piano at home. It was almost a different piece of music on the upright piano at the VFW.

Nov. 07 2012 09:18 AM
David A. Knipp from Columbia, MO

Piano Sonata #8 has been and will continue to be my favorite. In spite of its subtitle, it inspires.

Nov. 07 2012 08:19 AM

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