Barenboim Sonatas - Part I
Saturdays in July
Argentinian-born pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim is one of the most acclaimed musicians of our time. In 1983, he interpreted the full cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas at the Austrian Schloss Hetzenford in Vienna. In honor of Beethoven Year 2020 as well as Barenboim's artistry, Stingray Classica airs the first eight sonatas of this highly esteemed concert cycle throughout July. Every Saturday night, marvel at the artistic virtuosity of the Grammy-winning musician in two subsequent premieres of Beethoven’s majestic piano sonatas!
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 2, No. 1
Saturday, 4 July | 21:00
Beethoven's first set of three piano sonatas was dedicated to his former mentor Joseph Haydn. The first of this set, the Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2 No. 1, is a true testament to this dedication, with an ascending principal theme, to which a subsidiary motive provides the necessary contrast of contour and key, truly in the spirit of Beethoven's teacher. The following Adagio movement calls for the singing style of performance for which Beethoven was well known, as the principal theme is elaborated and embellished. The Minuet, with its contrasting F major Trio, presages later Scherzo movements, while the final Prestissimo brings a touch of Promethean fire.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 2, No. 2
Saturday, 4 July | 21:20
The second in Beethoven's first group of three piano sonatas, in A major, makes greater demands on both performer and listener in comparison with the first. This is particularly evident through its use of counterpoint, which contemporary critics were to dismiss as too “learned.” After a surprising first movement, and a stately D major second movement, there follows a Scherzo of deceptive simplicity and a final Rondo that reserves its virtuosity for its central chromatic section.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 2, No. 3
Saturday, 11 July | 21:00
Beethoven's third piano sonata opens with a characteristic figure, echoed in the bass, leading to a second subject in G minor. The recapitulation surprises in appearing to begin in D major, until it corrects its course. The slow movement, in the distant key of E major, leads to a C major Scherzo. The sonata ends with a showcase of the virtuosic technique.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 7
Saturday, 11 July | 21:30
Beethoven's Sonata No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7 was referred to by the composer himself as the “Grande” – indeed, it is the largest sonata before the “Hammerklavier.” It was published in 1797 and dedicated to his student, the Countess Babette von Keglewics, later the Princess Odescalchi.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 10, No. 1
Saturday, 18 July | 21:00
Beethoven began his second set of three sonatas, Op. 10 (No. 5-7), in 1796, and they were published by Joseph Eder two years later. The first sonata is in three movements, the C minor outer movements flanking an expressive Adagio molto in A flat major.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 6, Op. 10, No. 2
Saturday, 18 July | 21:20
The second of Beethoven's Op. 10 sonatas begins with a buoyant melodic figure which lends itself to the exploration of the full range of the keyboard. The F minor Scherzo, with a touch of D flat in the trio, recalls the idiom of Haydn. The final movement begins like a fugue but continues instead as a heavily contrapuntal sonata-form work.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 10, No. 3
Saturday, 25 July | 21:00
Beethoven's Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3 is on a grander scale than the previous two. The introduction of the first movement's second theme is delayed by means of a fragment in the relative minor. The D minor slow movement is especially expressive, building dramatic tension only relieved by the succeeding Minuet. The final Rondo begins hesitantly before finding solid ground.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 13
Saturday, 25 July | 21:25
Though the title Pathétique was conferred on the Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 by his publisher, Beethoven consented to its use. It refers to the soulful Adagio cantabile middle movement, perhaps the most familiar ever written for the piano – a near-continuous stream of melody set to a light accompaniment.