November 27, 2009

Beethoven in 1803 when he published the piano Sonata Number 21 in C major

I have recently been listening to Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Beethoven, besides being one of the truly great orchestral composers of western music, is also one of the great composers for the piano. Andras Schiff  has recently completed recording all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and has recorded a series of public lectures on the sonatas that is hosted by the Guardian Newspaper’s web page. The recordings are available at the following link:


Schiff, besides being a virtuoso pianist  is also a musicologist and a very engaging public speaker.  He  infuses these discussions with illustrative insights not only into the themes and construction of these pieces, but also regarding Beethoven’s life. The 32 sonatas were written over almost 35 years (the last one finished only 5 years before his death) and provide a unique look, from a musical perspective, of this true genius and his life.  One of my favorites is the Sonata 21 in C major opus 53.  The first movement,  Allegro con brio, is one of the great piano pieces of all time.


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