Beethoven Piano Recital
Rudolf Buchbinder, piano
The “Appassionata”, “Pathétique” and “Moonlight” sonatas: These highpoints in Beethoven’s oeuvre for piano here stand alongside the more rarely played Piano Sonata op. 14/2 in G major. At the piano: the Beethoven specialist and piano legend Rudolf Buchbinder.—
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827):
Piano Sonata op. 13 in c minor, “Pathétique”
Piano Sonata op. 27/2 in c-sharp minor, “Moonlight”
Piano Sonata op. 14/2 in G major
Piano Sonata op. 57 in f minor, “Appassionata”
If you ask Google how long it would take to master Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” with its dreamily beautiful opening movement and its virtuosic, mighty “Presto agitato” third and final movement, the search engine answers: “It should only be played after four to five years of piano lessons, because then you can already play the whole sonata!” It doesn’t take too much imagination to picture Rudolf Buchbinder before you, shaking his head in disbelief at Google’s highly daring prognosis – after all, this exceptional pianist has dedicated his creative life to Beethoven’s music above all else. Buchbinder’s interpretations of his works are considered the benchmark today (see his biography).
Beethoven composed the “Pathétique”, “Moonlight” and “Appassionata” sonatas and the Sonata in G major op. 14/2 all between the ages of 28 and 35, thus between 1798 and 1805. These popular sonatas are well-known for their technical complexity, innovative style, expressive power, daring harmonies and melodic invention. Beethoven repeatedly broke through Classical conventions in his works. This was also true of the “Moonlight Sonata”, which he actually called “Sonata quasi una Fantasia”, and which accordingly has a free, fantasy-like structure. This sonata is famous for its flowing melodies and for its dramatic contrasts between quiet passages and passionate outbursts. Its melancholy mood also makes it a precursor of musical Romanticism. Unlike the “Pathétique”, the “Moonlight Sonata” was not given its name by Beethoven himself, but by the poet and music critic Ludwig Rellstab: “I wouldn’t be worth a diminished fifth if I were to forget the Adagio from the Fantasy in c-sharp minor. The lake lies calmly in the dim glow of the moon, the muffled waves wash against the dark banks, gloomy forest-covered mountains rise up to cordon off the sacred grounds from the rest of the world, swans glide like ghosts through the waters with a whispering murmur, and an aeolian harp mysteriously sings yearning laments of lonely love from the ruins. – Be still, good night!” We can look forward to the musical images that Buchbinder will be conjuring up in Andermatt – and who knows, perhaps we will even hear the lowing of a distant cow in the moonlight …
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