In the Circle of Musical Variety | Beethoven's sonatas - Piano recital
- Michał Szymanowski - piano
- Gabriela Ułanowska - introduction
- L. van Beethoven - Sonata C-dur op. 2 nr 3
- L. van Beethoven - Sonata c-moll op. 111
Ludwig van Beethoven is considered to be the greatest composer of piano music of his time. Just like Mozart, he was regarded as a prominent pianist and improviser, and the style of his piano music influenced the piano compositions of the 19th century. Beethoven is the author of thirty-two piano sonatas. He also wrote dances, bagatelles, and cycles of piano variations. Relatively early on, his works began to be interpreted in extramusical terms, by combining the music with other art forms.
In the sonatas composed by the master from Bonn, we can notice the evolution in the way the piano is treated in his works. The composer began writing sonatas modelling them on the style of Haydn. The Opus 2 sonatas (also the Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2, No. 3) were dedicated to Haydn and, paying homage to the first composer of the First Viennese School, they clearly fit into the classical style. Nevertheless, we are well aware that the work of Beethoven, artificially ascribed to the Classical period in music, in reality represents Romanticism. Evidence of that is, among other pieces, the Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 27, No. 1. Its subtitle quasi una fantasia points both to formal and expressive changes. The pre-Romantic character is here subordinated to the sonata cycle which, however, goes significantly beyond Mozart’s achievements in this domain.
But the extension of the expressive possibilities of the piano was attained on a large scale also in the last five sonatas of Beethoven, written in the years 1816-22. The Sonata in C minor, Op. 111 is, like the other sonatas from that period, a “creation of the abstract brain of the deaf composer”. Beethoven wrote it in 1822. The work is extraordinary in every respect. It consists of only two monumental movements: the sonata allegro and a variation. The use of the C minor key was not accidental – for Beethoven, this key is inextricably linked to a dramatic struggle, to suffering, resignation. All those emotions return in the Sonata in C minor, especially in its first link. The tenebrous, chromatic harmony, the dotted rhythm, the torn phrases, and the dark, low register of the piano make up the beginning which prepares the entry of the distinct, typically Beethoven-esque subject. The subject changes its form, shimmering with different means of the polyphonic technique which plays the primary role in the shaping of this link. The second movement takes us to an entirely different reality. Beethoven ceases his fighting, tries to make peace with the world…
Aneta Derkowska, PhD
The event will take place as part of the Viva Beethoven! - the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth project.
There is no intermission in the concert.
The event will take place in accordance with current recommendations and guidelines.
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