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…

Centreville Delaware

Newark, Delaware – Rescued by Hafiz and Beethoven

Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 9:29 am, Newark, DE Travelled along the backroads of Virginia and Maryland as much as possible; there is a considerable amount of isolated beauty. Stopped at a Subway in Centreville for lunch. Continued to Wilmington, and there gave it up for the day. The traffic is incessant. We ordered in steak…

Arturo Toscanini (Courtesy: fineartsamerica.com)

Beethoven – Symphony 7 in A, Op. 92 (1812)

The November, 1951, Carnegie Hall recording by Arturo Toscanini: Still unparalleled in bringing out the power, violence, the remarkable modulations through semitonal shifts of single notes, and vehemence of the rhythms. Basil Lam, in his 1966 essay on the Beethoven symphonies, edited by Robert Simpson, writes, “With this composition Beethoven lifted to the limits of human capacity…

Guillaume Tardif introducing the concert, Edmonton City Hall, 8 March 2015 (Photo: Hendrik Slegtenhorst)

Edmonton’s Enterprise Quartet – Une sensibilité sûre et sérieuse

Edmonton’s Enterprise Quartet, in another exceptional concert, last Sunday afternoon, at City Hall, to a full house, played quartets by Cherubini and Beethoven. The Enterprise Quartet is comprised of Guillaume Tardif, first violin; Yue Deng, second violin; Leanne Maitland, viola; and, Colin Ryan, violoncello. The Beethoven Op. 95 in f minor from 1811 has long been…

Anton Diabelli (Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org)

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 – Beethoven (1819-23)

Having last year again studied, with the remarkable insight available from András Schiff, all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, I have now made my way, after several attempts the last months, with interruptions due to computer collapse and interpersonal commitments, through Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Add to this a general loss of direction as one attempts to…