Beethoven and the Sonata Idea: Part 2

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler. Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler. (Wikipedia Commons/Wikipedia Commons)

Tune in Thursday at 8 pm or Sunday at 10pm to hear Reflections from the Keyboard's host David Dubal continue his exploration of the musical and emotional landscape of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. We hear both the originality of each sonata, as well as the originality of each pianist’s interpretation. In an act of comparative listening, we hear two renditions of the first movement of Sonata No. 30, first by Claudio Arrau and then by Rudolf Serkin. Though both performances span the same length of time, they each reflect the artists’ individual connection to the music, as well as the breadth of creative possibilities that exist in each movement of the 32 piano sonatas.

The early 19th century brought fervent activity in culture and the arts, including the development of the sonata form in instrumental music. This form came to dominate the ideas and compositions of many of the greatest classical composers, including Haydn, Mozart, and Schumann. It was in Beethoven’s masterful hands, however, that the sonata idea was executed on a scale never before attempted, and his innovations brought deep and enduring changes to music.

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight” – III. Presto agitato
--Radu Lupu, piano

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109 – Vivace, ma non troppo
--Claudio Arrau, piano

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109 – Vivace, ma non troppo
--Rudolf Serkin, piano   

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1 – I. Allegro
--Isabel Margalit, piano

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in D, Op. 10, No. 3 – II. Largo e mesto
--Vladimir Horowitz, piano

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1 – III. Prestissimo
--David Allen Wehr, piano

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in E-flat, Op. 31, No. 3 “Hunt” – I. Allegro
--Stephen Kovacevich, piano

Comments [1]

Meredith from NYC

Mr. Dubal
I really welcome you’re playing various mvmts of Beethoven sonatas, in any order. Your historical commentary is so interesting.
It’s been several years since the station played 32 sonatas in 32 days, when I got to appreciate more this awesome achievement, hearing them in a series.

Don't know why, but seems no other great composer before or after, even Mozart, composed such a great amount of what are really dramas for solo piano that encompass everything.

Please continue the series, either every week or on a regular basis to cover most or all of them. Doesn’t matter if you don’t play the complete piece. The wide range of these movements is amazing. The last quote by Aaron Copland was a great sum up---how B expanded musical psychology, drama, and form.

For my part, I felt Serkin had more impact than Arrau with sonata 30.

Your Reflections is a unique program and one of the main reasons to listen to WQXR. It’s great that it’s repeated on Sunday.
Thanks a million, Mr. Dubal.

Dec. 18 2016 11:22 PM

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