Day 243: Piano Sonatas Op. 57 “Appassionata” Op. 54, Op. 81A “Les Adieux” & Op. 31 No. 1

BeethovenCD48Just when I think it’s not possible for Beethoven’s piano sonatas to get any more majestic, compelling, or mind blowing, along comes today’s CD, and another stunning set of performances by Alfred Brendel.

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor Op. 57 “Appassionata”

From its entry on Wikipedia:

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (colloquially known as the Appassionata, meaning “passionate” in Italian) is among the three famous piano sonatas of his middle period (the others being the Waldstein, Op. 53 and Les Adieux, Op. 81a); it was composed during 1804 and 1805, and perhaps 1806, and was dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick. The first edition was published in February 1807 in Vienna.

Unlike the early Sonata No. 8, Pathétique, the Appassionata was not named during the composer’s lifetime, but was so labeled in 1838 by the publisher of a four-hand arrangement of the work.

One of his greatest and most technically challenging piano sonatas, the Appassionata was considered by Beethoven to be his most tempestuous piano sonata until the twenty-ninth piano sonata (known as the Hammerklavier), being described as a “brilliantly executed display of emotion and music”.[citation needed] 1803 was the year Beethoven came to grips with the irreversibility of his progressively deteriorating hearing.

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Day 228: Violin Sonatas III

BeethovenCD33I love watching the sun come up.

Here I sit at Panera Bread. It’s about quarter past six in the morning. The sun is painting the skies. But it’s another cloudy day. So the beautiful colors will fade to gray soon.

But it’s sunny somewhere, even if we can’t see it from where we sit. So how can we be sad?

Plus, is it really possible to feel out of sorts or depressed when there’s Beethoven’s violin’s sonatas for the listening?

And not just any violin sonatas. These are expertly performed by two of the world’s finest musicians:

Kristof Barati violin
Klara Wurtz piano

These two gifted musicians perform three compositions on this CD:

Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Op. 30 No. 1 (composed 1801-1802; Beethoven was 31-32)

Violin Sonata No. 7 in C Minor Op. 30 No. 2 (composed 1801-1802; Beethoven was 31-32)

Movement II (“Adagio cantabile”) features one of my favorite sounds: pizzicato. It’s near the end of the movement. As soon as I heard it, I smiled. For some reason, I love pizzicato in a piece of music. It’s such a fun sound.

Violin Sonata No. 8 in G Op. 30 No. 3 (composed 1801-1802; Beethoven was 31-32)

According to its entry on Wikipedia,

This sonata is characteristic of early/middle Beethoven in its solid sonata structure, just beginning to get adventurous in syncopation, with some extraordinary off beat sforzandi.