This week’s visitor submit is by pianist and captain of The Piano Boat, Masayuki Tayama with whom we’re delighted to have embarked upon a mission creating detailed walk-throughs of all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. The primary set of movies options Beethoven’s first piano sonata, Op. 2 No. 1, which Masa introduces and shares some ideas on on this submit.
A lot has been written in regards to the life and works of Ludwig van Beethoven, a person who had a defining affect on the route of music in and past the Classical interval in addition to the event of the piano itself. Most well-known for his symphonies, concertos and piano sonatas, it’s a delight, and on the similar time a fearsome endeavor to embark on exploring his Sonata Cycle. Every of those 32 (or these days, 35) monumental works introduces one thing new. Nonetheless, it’s straightforward to overlook that on the level of writing his very first catalogued sonata, Op.2 No.1, Beethoven wouldn’t have identified that he would go on to write down one other thirty one, spanning all the way in which to Op. 111.
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor
This work bears a very easy dedication to his then-teacher, Joseph Haydn, from whom Beethoven claimed to have learnt nothing. There might be a component of fact on this provided that Haydn was in all probability too busy along with his personal compositions to dedicate a lot time to his scholar. Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a doubt Beethoven would have been drastically influenced by Haydn’s works themselves, together with their Sturm und Drang components.
Beethoven’s alternative of key for this work, F minor, is uncommon as most keyboard compositions on the time had been aimed on the eager, privileged novice pianists and extra accessible keys had been most popular. Moreover, as modern keyboard devices weren’t tuned to the ‘well-tempered’ requirements of at present, the important thing of F minor could properly have sounded barely weird.
It’s folly to consider that he would have chosen this key simply to be completely different for the sake of it. The truth is this key, already utilized by Beethoven in considered one of his three early sonatas which demonstrates his dramatic traits, ultimately results in the good Appassionata Sonata. The temperament and immensely dramatic opening of No.1 does certainly, for the proper causes, stamp his mark on the earth of nice composers.
While adhering to the extra conventional ‘sonata kind’ from the Classical interval, he does add an additional motion throughout the set of Op.2. This may usually have been reserved for bigger scale works reminiscent of symphonies or chamber music and is due to this fact distinctive in itself.
1st Mvt – Allegro
Beethoven didn’t hesitate to borrow materials beforehand explored and at this stage, affect from the Classical interval is seen all through. Nonetheless, the way in which he turned the ‘Mannheim Rocket’ theme in Mozart’s G minor symphony into one thing much more dramatic on a single instrument is uncanny. There are various of his personal temperamental traits already displayed in each nook of the music.
2nd Mvt – Adagio
Right here, we discover Beethoven adhering extra to the Mozartian method to writing a gradual motion. I began taking part in the piano at a younger age, drawn to Mozart’s music, and treasured a yellow-labelled – so it should have been Deutsch Gramophone – cassette tape of Mozart’s final piano concerto No.27. I might try and play by ear among the themes, following which I used to be then despatched to piano classes. My emotions about Mozart’s music are aptly put within the quote from the movie Amadeus, the place Salieri describes Mozart’s music as ‘stuffed with unfulfillable longing’. This actually does really feel most acceptable in articulating the serene but virtually painful second motion.
3rd Mvt – Menuetto & Trio
While the opposite Scherzo third actions within the set of Op. 2 are extra light-hearted and jovial, Beethoven provides an enigmatic, virtually haunting opening to this temporary motion with a extra peaceable, contrasting Trio part. There may be a lot to discover on this further motion with a way of innovation prevailing.
4th Mvt – Prestissimo
It’s intriguing to think about what the viewers on the time felt when first listening to this extremely dramatic motion. A foresight of his later work, the third motion of Moonlight Sonata, this motion stands by itself deserves, serving as a precursor of what was to come back. While Haydn specifically wrote massively contrasting piano sonatas, none examine to the depth and relentless and temperamental pursuit of drama of this motion which builds to a fiery conclusion.
Having studied lots of the 32 sonatas with among the world’s best pedagogues and carried out them extensively, together with Beethoven’s concertos, and subsequently works by Schubert, Brahms and Rachmaninov, revisiting this F minor sonata introduced a contemporary perspective to my view of the pure genius of Beethoven.
His early works are usually relegated to ‘examine items’ at conservatoires, and never typically included in live performance programmes. They pose distinctive technical difficulties, some virtually unimaginable to execute as written and performers are far more uncovered as a result of comparatively easy harmonic progressions and melodic writing. This may increasingly contribute to the reluctance of pianists to carry out them on stage.
It was fascinating to have a look at apply methods with information and expertise I didn’t possess as a scholar, to beat a few of these challenges, and discover the musical element and depth with which these works may be carried out. The 32 sonatas span Beethoven’s lifetime, exhibiting the bridge between the elegant, type gallante of the Classical interval and the extra direct, private and emotional output of the Romantic interval. They can’t be explored sufficient and I’m thrilled to be embarking on this journey!
The complete set of eighteen movies during which Masa explores background, type, interpretation, technical challenges and apply strategies for every of the 4 actions of this work is now accessible on the On-line Academy. Click on right here to view or click on right here to seek out out extra in regards to the On-line Academy.
Beethoven on Board
Our Beethoven on Board sequence will finally function all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and is being filmed on board The Piano Boat. The Piano Boat is a brand new approach of bringing classical music to audiences in and round London, surrounded by the intrigue and great thing about the canals.
The boat, Rachmaninov, is designed for and devoted to musical occasions, carrying a ravishing Steinway Mannequin A grand piano within the live performance saloon. Seating 12 in an unique, intimate setting, it affords an expertise the place spectacular music is on the forefront of your expertise on the canals. Click on right here to seek out out extra.