Thursday, November 08, 2012

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in E, Op. 109, and other works

"By the time one arrives at the end of the final movement of Op. 109 ... one knows the theme not merely in terms of its expressive possibilities, but as a living being, with desires and vulnerabilities which, this being Beethoven, have been not merely worked through, but wrestled to the ground. No one ever wrote more music between and behind the notes than Beethoven. ... [T]he fourth variation [is] for me the moment when this movement begins to become truly otherworldly. Until this point, each variation has been an increase in speed over the one before, and the theme, which has a solemnity to go with its beauty, gradually evolves into an almost lighthearted thing. The fourth variation not only stops this forward momentum, but it re-imagines the theme as a tapestry, woven by three voices, collectively spanning nearly the whole range of the piano. As these voices converse, creating between them a seamless, endless line, the material begins to take on both a new spaciousness and, paradoxically, an urgency; it opens up, and it cries out" (Jonathan Biss, "Beethoven's Shadow").

View catalog record here!


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