Piano Forum



The World of Piano Competitions - issue 2 2021
As a collaborating partner Piano Street is proud to present the sixth issue of The World of Piano Competitions, a magazine initiated by PIANIST Magazine (Netherlands and Germany) and its Editor-in-Chief Eric Schoones. Here we get a rich insight into the world of international piano competitions through the eyes of its producers and participants. Read more >>

Topic: Beethoven's op. 111  (Read 2953 times)

Offline liszmaninopin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1101
Beethoven's op. 111
on: May 16, 2004, 05:23:47 PM
For those of you who have been to many higher-level competitions, or watched conservatory auditions, etc.; would you consider this piece overplayed?

Thanks in advance.

Offline Alp635

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 29
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #1 on: May 16, 2004, 08:08:40 PM
Hey,

I had the same question about the late beethoven sonatas.

In the competitions that I have competed in or watched, 111 is generally not played so often.  110, 109, 101 are more often played...but 111 is a great piece and a powerful competition work.  

Offline shatteringpulse

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 49
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #2 on: May 16, 2004, 09:23:02 PM
By its very nature, it is impossible to overplay Opus 111, as is the case with much of late Beethoven, but especially the final piano sonata. Each artist brings their own thoughts, feelings, life experience, and interpretation to the late Beethoven sonatas, when they are ready, as artists to tackle them. I am not suggesting that one must play through the previous 27 to be capable of playing the late sonatas, or having played through any at all, but one must certainly be ready as an artists for the special problems thrown at the pianists by the most enigmatic Beethoven has to offer.

Opus 111 could very well be the ultimate competiton warhorse when in the hands of a supremely gifted artist. It is the summation of all of Beethoven's sonatas, and throws a lot at the pianist in terms of just techinical requirements. At the same time, it's an entirely unique work--and the last movement, I've heard played between 15 minutes and 25 minutes--a 10 minute range! It really allows the performer to be seen bare, as well as Beethoven, becauses interpretation is up for grabs at all junctures in its passages. The first movement shows the pianist con fuoco and in the midst of life's struggle, while the second shows the pianist literally crossing over into a consummately sublime realm. Sublime in the midst of music that at some point, sounds a little bit too jazzy for comfort! All the details are really left to the performer. It's certainly this that make the variations of the second movement so interesting. But this sonata can easily become an absolute disaster, especially at a competition. Appassionata and Waldstein are certainly must easier to throw off convincingly than Opus 111. But if you do nail it, you'll sentence the players of the other two against which you compete into their coffins. It's a sonata to encounter wtih some trepidation and reverence. The trills, endless trills, at the last moments of the sonata are terrifying! The terror is compounded at a competition.

I'd suggest playing Opus 111 only if you are playing something before it on a program, not just independently, and do consider meticulously what you are playing before 111.

Good luck! :)
--Shattering Pulse

Offline Antnee

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 535
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #3 on: May 16, 2004, 10:03:47 PM
I agree with shatteringpulse, that it is one of the best beethoven sonatas. If you think you can pull it off then by all means go for it. Odds are you will be the favorite with that one.

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline kate

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #4 on: May 17, 2004, 10:05:06 PM
Do you think the op. 111 should not be played by younger pianists? It is a peice I would really love to play but have found it is generally 'not accepted' for people of my age (15) to tackle such peices. It certainly is intellectually challenging, but technically is perfectly playable. Alot of young pianists don't really think independently about interpretation, or try to fully understand a peice; in my experience alot of so called musicality is simply the careful following of instruction that a teacher has given, so why is the line drawn here? It seems to be more due to fashion of the time rather than anything else. Any thoughts?...

JK

  • Guest
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #5 on: May 17, 2004, 10:34:39 PM
To Kate

I'm a similar age to you and have had similar reactions when I told my teacher that I would like to learn this piece. Ofcourse there is more to this piece than simply playing the notes, but this shouldn't discourage you. As you quite rightly say, tehnically it is perfectly playable and any difficulties can be overcome with practice. As far as the musical side goes my view is there is no substitute for simply playing what Beethoven tells you, and as you learn this piece you are bound to develop some interllectual understanding of it. Therefore my advice to you is this; Go for it and enjoy learning what is possibly Beethovens' greatest sonata! :) (it's certainly my favoirite!) ;)

Good luck, James. :)

Offline liszmaninopin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1101
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #6 on: May 17, 2004, 11:55:46 PM
It's an interesting coincidence that I'm also 15.  I plan on starting work on the piece sometime in the not too distant future.  JK has some good points-one will develop understanding and intelligence upon tackling the work-at least that is my experience with other pieces.  I don't believe it's true that young people can't bring intelligence to music, but I do believe that if they let enthusiasm get a hold of them, they can turn what is intelligent, profound music into a technical showcase and nothing more.  There's nothing wrong with technique, of course, but with a sonata this deep there's more there that must be remembered and brought out.

Offline faulty_damper

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3929
Re: Beethoven's op. 111
Reply #7 on: May 18, 2004, 02:00:52 AM
About interpretations, I find that many students do not think about it at all.  They tend to follow what their teacher says and play it that way.  Perhaps this is how their teacher learned how to play?  What usually comes out of their playing is what I would call "lifeless" or "unexpressive".  Yes, they hit all the right notes but so what?!  

Particularly Beethoven's sonatas, they are usually difficult to interpret.  Sometimes, certain sonatas are played too "romantically" when the piece does not call for it.  Or sometimes, the sonata is incoherent between movements.  One of the most incoherent sonatas ever to be played has to be his Pathetic sonata (Op. 13).  The "Hunt" sonata is also something that should have the character of a hunt, though it's not usually played that way.  But his latter sonatas should have a bit of romantic character.  It seems to need that in order for the sonatas to exploit our emotions.

I've gone against my teacher's instruction on the particular piece I'm trying to 'perfect' right now.  I'm convinced that my playing is the 'correct' interpretation of Debussy's Prelude (General Lavine -eccentric) though she disagrees.  She disagreed with my Bach, too (which I never finished, the Fugue in D-; not from his WTC).   ??? :-/  Interpretation is something that experienced players do, right?  Not students... :-X
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert