Saturday, December 11, 2010

12/11 Brendel's Hammerklavier (Beethoven Sonata Op.106)

(Infused with the energy of the Hammer-Piano!)
Beethoven's greatest piano work is "arguably" Opus 106, the "Hammerklavier" Sonata.  Literally, Hammer-Piano.  Of course that's not what is really means, it's just Beethoven's attempt to use German words in musical terms, as opposed to the traditional Italian terminology.  Nonetheless, I find it pretty "hammering".  Since this is a weekend post (i.e.- concert/documentary post), I'm not going to drone on about how brilliant and epic this work is, except to say that the 4th movement contains a "grande fugue" which many consider to be one of, if not the, most complex of Beethoven's piano works. It also rocks the house.

There are 4 movements:
1. Allegro ("virtually impossible")
2. Scherzo: Assai vivace ("a dark interlude")
3. Adagio sostenuto ("the apotheosis of pain")
4. Introduzione: Largo - Fuga: Allegro risoluto
         ("dramatic fury and dissonance...terrifying... strangely unstable")
(quotes from the purely-objective folks at Wikipedia)

Anyways, now I'm getting an itch to analyze this behemoth but I'm supposed to take it easy today!
Piano Sonata #29 In Bb, Op.106, "Hammerklavier" (1818)
Performed by Alfred Brendel and recorded in 1970.

I believe I posted this before but it seems appropriate to repost the 1st part of this Barenboim-Bax Hammerklavier Masterclass.  It's mostly about the fugue movement.  The rest can be found on Youtube...7 parts altogether.

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