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Beethoven Sonatas

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NEWS
October 26, 1988 | By Charles McCurdy, Special to the Inquirer
Violinist Young Uck Kim and pianist Peter Serkin have arrived at that point in their careers at which they're ready to challenge the complete works of a single composer, presenting sweeping vistas rather than the keyhole glimpses provided by individual works. At the McCarter Theater Monday night, the pair set three Beethoven violin sonatas before a rapt audience. (They are to perform the entire 10-sonata cycle in New York next year.) They are old hands at such programming: Serkin has recorded all the Mozart piano concertos; Kim has done the same with the Mozart violin concertos, and they collaborated on the Mozart sonatas for piano and violin in 1985.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 29, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
In Philadelphia, it is rare to hear a sonata program at the Academy of Music, and even rarer to hear performers command a large audience so completely as did violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist Lambert Orkis. Their recital Monday, a benefit for Temple University's College of Music, offered Beethoven Sonatas for an audience held in coughless admiration by the force of their presence and playing. The two are playing only Beethoven this season, giving the full set of 10 Sonatas in some cities, surveys in other.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 1987 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The perception is that Ireland produces singers, rather than instrumentalists. Pianist John O'Conor stands as a notable exception. After winning significant competitions in Europe and working with a variety of orchestras there, the Dublin native has built his career steadily. He made his New York debut in 1983. O'Conor studied in Vienna and, judging from his recording of three Beethoven sonatas, he absorbed some of the good traditions of Viennese playing (Telarc 80118). His playing includes a rugged sense of sound, bold rhythmic manner and unflagging energy.
NEWS
September 27, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Seymour Lipkin, who will play all of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas later this season in New York, is summarizing his ideas on the music in two recitals at Curtis Institute of Music. He played four works in his opening concert last night, and will close his series Oct. 5. With room in two recitals for only about a quarter of the 32 Sonatas, the interest lies not only in performance but in the choices, the juxtapositions - and the omissions. For the opening, he chose early works, pieces written for instruments not yet approaching the sound and strength of today's instrument and music which is rooted deeply in the formality of the end of the 18th century.
NEWS
November 23, 1987 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Richard Goode's Beethoven recital yesterday was a distillation of the pianist's year of Beethoven recitals that included series, offering the complete catalogue, in New York and Kansas City, Mo. He played in the Distinguished Artists series at the University Museum, offering five sonatas chosen for complex reasons. They included works Beethoven called "simple" - Op. 79 - and works at the opposite end of the scale of difficulty - Op. 109 - and early, middle and late pieces.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The 32 Beethoven piano sonatas - often called the New Testament of keyboard music - track the epic journey from brash youth to Olympian serenity of one of Western Civilization's towering personalities. However tantalizing, the idea of hearing them all on a single day seems impossible. Surely, one wouldn't have expected such an endeavor from Stewart Goodyear, 35, the Curtis Institute graduate best known for Gershwin. Nonetheless, he'll perform all 32 sonatas Saturday in three chronological installments - 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 8 p.m. - at Princeton's McCarter Theatre Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 4, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Beethoven's cello sonatas are not often done as a complete, chronological cycle: They run too long for a single concert, but not long enough to fill two concerts without adding some of the composer's non-sonata cello works, diluting the sense of progression in his musical thought. When performed in close to optimum, single-concert circumstances by cellist Efe Baltacigil and pianist Benjamin Hochman on Thursday at the American Philosophical Society, the sonatas came off as a motley collection - verbose in the early works, oblique in the later ones, and with a clear-cut masterpiece in the middle, the Cello Sonata No. 3 (Op. 69 )
ENTERTAINMENT
February 5, 1993 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
No question but that Riccardo Muti's belated appearance this weekend tops my musical recommendations. The maestro's bout with influenza meant missing last week's scheduled subscription concerts, including Bernard Rands' Songs of the Eclipse, a world premiere. But tonight and Saturday, Muti will offer an all-French program with the Philadelphia Orchestra that he had actually scheduled for last season but postponed because of a similar illness. Mezzo-soprano Waltrud Meier will join the music director laureate in the concert, which includes Faure's Suite from Pelleas et Melisande, the Chausson Poeme de l'amour et de la mer and Ravel's Une barque sur l'ocean.
NEWS
April 25, 1992 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Debussy gets short shrift in many piano recitals, so it was good to see three of his suites on Ivan Moravec's Thursday night concert at the Port of History Museum. The descriptive charms of Children's Corner - in which the composer conjures a piano lesson as well as Jimbo, a circus elephant - made a particularly friendly opening to the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society event. In the Suite Bergamasque and Suite pour le piano, however, Moravec seemed somewhat in a hurry, both in matters of tempo and temperament.
NEWS
January 20, 2004 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Craig Sheppard is the most perplexing of pianists. He is nervous and inconsistent, he struggles with Beethoven's difficult music as an unattainable Olympian peak, and somehow his process yields some fascinating - not to mention lovely - results. Nerves may have had something to do with it, since his homecoming Sunday afternoon on the Curtis Institute of Music's Alumni Recital Series drew some of his former teachers, including the estimable pedagogue Eleanor Sokoloff. Sheppard, who graduated from Curtis in 1968, chose nothing less than five Beethoven sonatas for his return to Curtis (now Field Concert)
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NEWS
March 8, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
For all of its reputed fabulousness, the Philadelphia Orchestra is also known for its winter contingency concerts. Most famously, Wolfgang Sawallisch once played Wagner on piano while weather-delayed orchestra musicians trickled in. On Thursday, music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin could not muster enough musicians for Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 4 , so he substituted Ravel's Mother Goose Suite on four-hand piano with himself and none...
NEWS
November 21, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
In the lofty trilogy that is Beethoven's last three piano sonatas - Opus 109, 110, and 111 - each feels like a continuation of the last, into ever more uncharted musical realms. They'll never feel like home: Their strangeness is so specific to the inner world of a composer who had withdrawn into deafness and, in any case, was among history's most singular human beings. So it's understandable that at Wednesday's performance of all three sonatas in one program, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society audience was puzzling over pianist Beth Levin.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 15, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Jazz is universally accepted as the genre that liberates music from the written note. But good luck to the poor stenographer who might have tried to put to paper what pianist Christian Zacharias did with Beethoven and Schubert Wednesday night. Freedom took flight from rigor. The simple, noble melodic material in the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in A Flat Major, Opus 26 , stretched and contracted beyond the bounds of a clear time signature. A trill in the theme was so detailed and grand that it should have been assigned its own zip code.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 22, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The 32 Beethoven piano sonatas - often called the New Testament of keyboard music - track the epic journey from brash youth to Olympian serenity of one of Western Civilization's towering personalities. However tantalizing, the idea of hearing them all on a single day seems impossible. Surely, one wouldn't have expected such an endeavor from Stewart Goodyear, 35, the Curtis Institute graduate best known for Gershwin. Nonetheless, he'll perform all 32 sonatas Saturday in three chronological installments - 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 8 p.m. - at Princeton's McCarter Theatre Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 4, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Beethoven's cello sonatas are not often done as a complete, chronological cycle: They run too long for a single concert, but not long enough to fill two concerts without adding some of the composer's non-sonata cello works, diluting the sense of progression in his musical thought. When performed in close to optimum, single-concert circumstances by cellist Efe Baltacigil and pianist Benjamin Hochman on Thursday at the American Philosophical Society, the sonatas came off as a motley collection - verbose in the early works, oblique in the later ones, and with a clear-cut masterpiece in the middle, the Cello Sonata No. 3 (Op. 69 )
NEWS
February 10, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
In Chopin, it's about liberty - or at least, liberties. But Emanuel Ax isn't taking them, not many and not to any great extent, which makes him a minor radical. The pianistic tradition in this repertoire of erasing bar lines, blurring note values, and delivering the listener to time-defying spaciousness goes back a century or more. In Thursday night's Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital at the Perelman Theater, Ax neither floated nor dallied in his encore, the Nocturne No. 5 in F Sharp, Op. 15 No. 2 . You could have set your metronome to sections of Chopin's Piano Sonata in B Minor, Opus 58 . Shouldn't the sonata's last movement be terrifying, the unexpected climax of a four-movement bildungsroman?
NEWS
February 10, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Somebody needed to program the orphans in Beethoven's output, and pianist Anton Kuerti was the one to do it at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital Wednesday at the Kimmel Center. Never a glamour pianist, the 73-year-old Vienna-born, Canada-based Kuerti - his hair longer and wilder than ever - has been performing cycles of Beethoven sonatas for as far back as I can remember (40 years) and is a model of nonapologist performers. As majestic as Beethoven can be, his piano sonatas contain some of his most private music - cranky, quirky, and not always clear in what it has to say, especially pieces published not in a litter, but by themselves, without catchy subtitles or nicknames.
NEWS
October 19, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
NEW YORK - Though one of the foremost pianists of his generation, Till Fellner requires a detailed artistic introduction. Fellner, born and raised in Vienna and star student of the legendary Alfred Brendel, takes on the most substantial repertoire at the earlyish age of 38 and tends to triumph. His ECM-label recording of The Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the most highly acclaimed discs of its kind in recent years. Now, he's finishing up a three-year complete cycle of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas and recently added Philadelphia to his American tour, filling in for an indisposed Ivan Moravec in a Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert at 8 Tuesday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater.
NEWS
September 8, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
After so many centuries, Beethoven isn't always hot stuff. But on a recent Thursday here, the composer's cello sonatas packed in the customers at the Bleecker Street club Le Poisson Rouge - in conditions so steamy that pianist Simone Dinnerstein dressed as if she'd just come from playing with her son in the park and cellist Zuill Bailey shed his natty suit coat between movements. No complaints, though. They had a kind of success not possible at their usual haunts. "The closeness of the audience, the fact that people are in a much more relaxed setting . . . that's what concerts should be like," said Dinnerstein later.
NEWS
February 2, 2009 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
By the time you reach the minuet near the end of Beethoven's 33 Variations in C major on a Waltz of Anton Diabelli (Op. 120), you feel as if you've met a series of knotty, enigmatic challenges. Beethoven has morphed the theme into Bachian fugues, pressed it into a series of pearly arpeggios, elongated it into the language of the minimalists, shredded it up into slithering harmonic fragments, marched, dithered, and generally expanded your consciousness. He's also managed to convince you that music might have had no more prescient seer.
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