Beethoven, manuscript of the Arietta, Op. 111

Beethoven – Piano Sonata 32 in c, Op. 111 (1822)

Beethoven never repeats himself, insists András Schiff. And adds that this sonata is “one of the wonders of mankind.” It moves, and moves one, in a kind of exaltation, to borrow the word from Anton Kuerti. American musicologist Richard Taruskin, in his massive but marvellous Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (2010), gives an extensive…

Beethoven for a Later Age

The string quartet, with its four individual participants, represents one of the most demanding configurations of human cooperation needed to achieve a result that cannot be achieved by one individual alone. The object of the string quartet is, of course, to re-create, perform, and communicate music in the service of art in the service of…

Glenn Gould: Beethoven Sonatas Opp. 109, 110, 111 (Courtesy: www.myplaydirect.com)

Beethoven – Piano Sonata 30 in E, Op. 109 (1820)

This sonata has travelled with me since January of 1966, when I purchased, in Ottawa, Glenn Gould’s Columbia LP of Opp. 109, 110, and 111. His interpretations of all three remain, to me, essentially unmatched, but it was Op. 109 that made the immediate and lasting impression upon me, and I have revisited it annually around…

Beethoven, Op. 110 autograph, 3rd movement, conclusion of the second iteration of the Klagender Gesang (Courtesy: www.omnifacsimiles.com)

Beethoven – Piano Sonata 31 in A♭, Op. 110 (1821)

The second of the the last three piano sonatas, with, according to András Schiff and other pianists, references in the final movement, and also to be found in Op. 109, to Es ist vollbracht from Bach’s Johannes-Passion.  There is exceptional, reflective beauty in the opening cantabile movement. This beauty is mirrored in the final movement’s juxtaposition of sadness in the 12/16 Klagender Gesang (arioso…