Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4/20 Beethoven's Piano Partners (Fortepiano Survey)

Beethoven went through alot of pianos in his life (though only 3 that we know for sure). Here's an idea of his collection:

The organ Beethoven used to play in Bonn as a youngster.
"Schanz" piano from 1790.  This actually isn't one of B.'s pianos but it's likely he played
on one like this in his 20s. (from Paul Badura-Skoda's collection)
"Erard" Piano.  This was a gift from Prince Lichnowsky in 1803.  B. found it a bit limiting...
Drawing of B.'s "Thomas Broadwood" piano, given to him in 1818. 
Eventually bought by Franz Liszt (the piano, not the drawing).
"Conrad Graf" piano received as a gift in 1825.  Probably the last piano B. really used, since the
Broadwood was starting to fall apart from all those hammerblows....
Colored version of Hoechle drawing of B.'s last apartment.
B. actually had the Broadwood and the Graf end-to-end
but this only shows the Broadwood.
A discussion of Beethoven's pianos would take many pages - so I recommend getting "The Beethoven Companion" edited by Denis Arnold and Nigel Fortune which has a pretty big chapter on B.s pianos and how they affected his compositional evolution.

While you're waiting for that to arrive here's Jorge Demus (I think) playing one of my favorites: Beethoven's Bagatelle in B Minor op, 126 No. 4.

Below is a playlist collecting a couple hours worth of Beethoven on fortepianos...the first 6 are on 4 different fortepianos played by Hiroaki Ooi:
1 - Piano Sonata Op. 49-2 No. 20 II Tempo di Menuetto (1796)
(replica after A.Stein ca. 1790, 5-octave)

2 - Piano Sonata Op. 57 No. 23 "Appassionata" I Allegro assai (1805)
(Jones-Round 1805, 5 1/2-octave)

3,4 - Große Fuge (Winkler Arr.) Op. 133 (1826)
(J. Broadwood 1816, 6-octave)

5,6 - Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" Op. 55 (Liszt Arr. 1865?)) I Allegro con brio
(J. Streicher 1846, 7-octave)

7, 8 - Piano Sonata #14 In C#m, Op.27/2, "Moonlight"
9-12 - Piano Sonata #31 In Ab, Op.110 (Nasseri)
13 - Variations in F, Op.34 (Ochoa)
14, 15 - Piano Sonata #26 In Eb, Op.81A, "Les Adieux" (Tan)
16-18 - Piano Sonata #21 In C, Op.53, "Waldstein"
19 - Piano Sonata #26 In Eb, Op.81A, "Les Adieux" (Demus)
20 - Piano Sonata #32, Op.111 - Maestoso (Demus)
21 - Piano Sonata #11 In Bb, Op.22, M1

Playlist: Beethoven Fortepianos

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