Beethoven Cycle VII


  • 20 August, 19:30


LUDWIG V. BEETHOVEN • Sonata for Piano No. 30 in E, Op. 109

LUDWIG V. BEETHOVEN • Sonata for Piano No. 31 in A flat, Op. 110

LUDWIG V. BEETHOVEN • Sonata for Piano No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111


End of concert approx. 21:45. 

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Rudolf Buchbinder, Piano


Ludwig van Beethoven wrote the last piano sonata – but how could this come to pass? When the former court musician from Bonn established himself in the ‘Piano Land’ of Vienna at the end of the 18th century, he was first admired as a virtuoso and praised as a pianist for the ‘extraordinary difficulties’ which ‘he dispatches with such great ease’. Three decades, a human age later, he had become irrevocably alienated from the quotidian concert scene and social life – a legend, admired and mistrusted: ‘quite an untameable personality’, as not only Goethe noted with some irritation. However, he also acknowledged: ‘I have never seen an artist more concentrated, energetic and heartfelt.’
Beethoven’s piano sonatas traverse his entire biography, moving from one century into the next, from one epoch to another. Revolutions and wars, coronations and worship of all manners of heroes characterized this era, and artists, this artist answered with pride and obstinacy, with heroic and humoristic contrariety. His piano sonatas can be traced under the aspect of progress, of renewal, as a path towards a goal, per aspera ad astra. Or as a circle that is not completed, even if the organist Wendell Kretzschmar in Thomas Mann’s novel Doktor Faustus equates the last sonata, that in C minor Op. 111, with the end of all sonatas, a farewell ‘never to return’.
A circle that is never fully traversed either. Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas span a lifetime, and pianist Rudolf Buchbinder has spent his life exploring these inexhaustible works, the ‘New Testament’ of piano music. He performs all of them in seven concerts, from the first to the last, though wisely not in chronological order, but by juxtaposing eras, characters and temperaments.

Wolfgang Stähr


Concert 2014

by Alexander Pereira and Florian Wiegand

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