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Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111 (Read 16988 times)

Offline cfgs

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Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
« on: November 24, 2009, 08:36:41 AM »
It is my favourite Sonata, which is your favourite interpretation of it?

and, which is your favourite Beethoven Sonata and favourite interpretation?

piano sheet music of Sonata 32


Offline birba

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #1 on: November 24, 2009, 08:17:14 PM »
Op. 111 , Claudio Arrau - Wilhelm Kempff

Op. 31, no. 3 - Alfred Brendel

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #2 on: November 24, 2009, 09:35:25 PM »
My heart is with Artur Schnabel's very last recording of op. 111 (which appropriately may well have been his LAST recording, indeed). It contains many mistakes, but it is hard to match the spirit, the struggle of the first movement met with the heaven storming tranquility of the variations (those 32nds barely breathed, disappearing into another realm!). There are many excellent performances bringing many different things, the mentioned Arrau, Richter (in I want to say Leipzig?), Sokolov, etc....but Schnabel in his last account seems to be echoing from the other side, and this spirit transcends any warts in his execution.
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Offline destinysora

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 07:20:32 AM »
Daniel Barenboim....... so grand.... ;D

Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 11:53:09 AM »
I just listened to the previously mentioned Schnabel version, and it is incredibly good. I also like Annie Fischer's.

My favorite sonata is probably op.109, and my favorite recordings of it are Barenboim and Gould.
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Offline communist

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #5 on: November 26, 2009, 11:56:01 AM »
op.111 - Pletnev

op.90 - Haefliger
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Offline abj

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 08:51:31 PM »
First movement? Gould. Arietta, Brendel.

I don't have a favorite Beethoven sonata. It changes, depending upon which I have heard the least in the last two months.

Offline burstroman

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #7 on: November 28, 2009, 07:35:41 PM »
Op.111 is my favorite Beethoven sonata too, and my favorite interpretation of it is by Dame Myra Hess.  My next favorite sonata is Op. 101 as interpreted by Claudio Arrau.

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #8 on: November 29, 2009, 07:16:40 AM »
Dame Myra Hess recorded op. 111? I did not know that.  :o
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Offline njalli

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #9 on: November 29, 2009, 05:55:56 PM »
Annie fischer or Claudio arrau

One of the greatest beethoven pieces ever written.

peace out :D

Offline lohshuhan

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #10 on: November 29, 2009, 08:18:17 PM »
Mitsuko Uchida  :) 

next on my list will be pletnev's Carnegie Hall live performance of op111. 

Offline birba

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #11 on: November 30, 2009, 01:38:02 PM »
Mitsuko Uchida?!?!?!? Haven't heard the recording, but can't imagine her coming anywhere near the musical and extra-musical demands of that work of art.

Offline iroveashe

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #12 on: November 30, 2009, 02:50:01 PM »
Annie fischer or Claudio arrau

One of the greatest beethoven pieces ever written.

peace out :D
Seconded. Though I haven't heard Schnabel's yet, and I'd give a leg to be able to hear Zimerman's perfomance of it, which I'm sure would blow my mind.
"By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique, but by concentrating on technique one does not arrive at precision."
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Offline njalli

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #13 on: November 30, 2009, 03:23:21 PM »
Seconded. Though I haven't heard Schnabel's yet, and I'd give a leg to be able to hear Zimerman's perfomance of it, which I'm sure would blow my mind.

I would love allso to hear him play it

Offline edwardweiss

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #14 on: November 30, 2009, 07:49:17 PM »
 Without any doubt-Egon Petri.

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #15 on: December 01, 2009, 06:10:48 AM »
Without any doubt-Egon Petri.

I love Egon Petri; he's one of my special fascinations (he reminds me a lot of, well...Furtwängler). In general I prefer the music making of Petri's age to that of now, and if we're talking about op. 106, than Petri's more in the picture.

I have a recording of an old Petri playing op. 81a and the three last sonatas in a single concert, and it's a towering display of romantic grit (I never seem to get the salt and vinegar metaphor right, but it would fit). Any time the three last sonatas can be heard back to back is a transcendent event, and with Petri that multiplies by ten. What he does with the Arietta and variations reveals a lot that's under the surface, and taught me a lot of possibilities. (Since I mention this, I should also mention Sofronitsky for the same reasons). I guess what kept me from mentioning Petri in this thread is the misplaced accents in the first movement runs. The spirit is perfect, and it's the exact kind of attack that's needed, only placed on the wrong notes, and Beethoven is very specific in his instructions...possibly to guard against the very thing Petri does. But oh well; he's an old legend and I'd hate being without his performance.

(BTW I find it interesting, and in some ways encouraging that both Sofronitsky and Petri cheat on the last trill! And I adore both!)  ;D
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Offline edwardweiss

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #16 on: December 01, 2009, 07:21:57 PM »
 I should also have mentioned another performance which I enjoy very much given live in Vienna by the great -and somewhat now underrated and forgotten -Wilhelm Backhaus. The date was 24th. May 1964. I would much rather listen to 'warts and all' performances by hard-working pianists of the past than those of 'star-system' prize-winners who make great piano music sound just like another badly-done Midi.

Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #17 on: December 01, 2009, 08:45:35 PM »
I love Egon Petri as well, I have not heard him play Beethoven though, I will have to check it out.
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Offline lohshuhan

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #18 on: December 11, 2009, 12:13:16 AM »
Mitsuko Uchida?!?!?!? Haven't heard the recording, but can't imagine her coming anywhere near the musical and extra-musical demands of that work of art.

Yes.  Uchida.  Drop me your email by PM if you want a listen.  i'll rip it in for you.  Her recording of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata is also VERY worth listening to. 

Is the Petri recording still available in the market? 

Offline le_poete_mourant

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #19 on: December 11, 2009, 07:32:27 PM »
I don't think it's been recorded, but I heard Krystian Zimerman play Op. 111 last April live in recital and it was stunning.
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Offline iroveashe

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #20 on: January 29, 2010, 01:22:51 PM »
I don't think it's been recorded, but I heard Krystian Zimerman play Op. 111 last April live in recital and it was stunning.
I'm tremendously jealous!
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Bruno Walter

Offline john11inc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #21 on: January 30, 2010, 07:54:13 PM »
Nobody has ever played the Opp. 109/111 well.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

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Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #22 on: January 31, 2010, 11:22:49 PM »
Nobody has ever played the Opp. 109/111 well.

Please explain
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Offline john11inc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #23 on: January 31, 2010, 11:52:01 PM »
Please explain

You have to explain how they have been, first.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

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Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #24 on: February 01, 2010, 12:17:03 AM »
You have to explain how they have been, first.

Performers such as Daniel Barenboim, MIkhail Pletnev etc... give interpretations that are technically immulate, a beautiful tone throughout, maintain the architecture and artistically first-rate.

Why do you think otherwise?
"A true friend is one who likes you despite your achievements." - Arnold Bennett

Offline iroveashe

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #25 on: February 01, 2010, 12:41:36 AM »
Performers such as Daniel Barenboim, MIkhail Pletnev etc... give interpretations that are technically immulate, a beautiful tone throughout, maintain the architecture and artistically first-rate.

Why do you think otherwise?
Why would you even think he has a point beyond getting attention? His statement is ignorant from the start since there's no way anyone could know all the performances of both pieces since they were created.
"By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique, but by concentrating on technique one does not arrive at precision."
Bruno Walter

Offline weissenberg2

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #26 on: February 01, 2010, 01:09:48 AM »
Why would you even think he has a point beyond getting attention? His statement is ignorant from the start since there's no way anyone could know all the performances of both pieces since they were created.

I speculated that, but I wanted to know if he at least had a valid point.
"A true friend is one who likes you despite your achievements." - Arnold Bennett

Offline john11inc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #27 on: February 01, 2010, 01:21:40 AM »
Why would you even think he has a point beyond getting attention? His statement is ignorant from the start since there's no way anyone could know all the performances of both pieces since they were created.

I don't need to be familiar with any performance what-so-ever to know that no performance has been satisfactory to the work.  Therefore, your argument is presumptive, while mine is not ignorant.  Ironically, I started a thread on Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.  Perhaps, since you claim to be of such, great understanding of propositions, your incredible expertise and intellect would be useful there.  Surely you are familiar with the work; I mean, it's only the most important work on logic since Kant.  So you are definitely aware of it.

Actually, the implication of my post was regarding the musical depth in the Opp. 109/111, and how no, singular performance can possibly (literally) account for all of it.

What's the implication of your post?  The reason for posting it.  Your preferred outcome, the most likely, the most unlikely, and your most abhorred?  What is its meaning; what did the act of posting it cause you to feel, did you expect that outcome, was it the outcome you were looking for, and was it the most likely?  Why would you think they are the best/worst/most-likely, and how did thinking about that make you feel?  Are you operating purely on logic or are you being self-aware in your analysis?  If so, what are the psychological implications of those three separately and as a group?  What did you expect my response to be, what would you have liked it to be and what would you have not liked it to be?  How about Weissenberg's?  What are the philosophical and psychological meanings of your post, in regard to your id, mine, his, and that of the anonymous audience, as macro and micro?

Surely if you even briefly delve into these questions, assuming you have the faculty to do such, you'll realize you're a hypocrite :)  (Self-awareness = ego, ego/"wanting attention" --> you are a hypocrite)  What are the implications of you likely not having thought of these things and me having thought about them?  (Not in your favor in this context, I can tell you that)  Surely my responses here are on a higher, ethical ground (and vastly more intelligent) than yours; I wonder why you are suddenly hostile!  I could delve into that, but I'll let you try to.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


http://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline iroveashe

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #28 on: February 01, 2010, 02:00:25 AM »
Ironically, I started a thread on Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.  Perhaps, since you claim to be of such, great understanding of propositions, your incredible expertise and intellect would be useful there.  Surely you are familiar with the work; I mean, it's only the most important work on logic since Kant.
I never made such claim.


Actually, the implication of my post was regarding the musical depth in the Opp. 109/111, and how no, singular performance can possibly (literally) account for all of it.
That could be true, and could actually be said about a vast number of pieces, but to say one performance can't account for the whole depth of the piece is very far from the statement that no one has ever played it well.

What's the implication of your post?  The reason for posting it.  Your preferred outcome, the most likely, the most unlikely, and your most abhorred?  What is its meaning; what did the act of posting it cause you to feel, did you expect that outcome, was it the outcome you were looking for, and was it the most likely?  Why would you think they are the best/worst/most-likely, and how did thinking about that make you feel?  Are you operating purely on logic or are you being self-aware in your analysis?  If so, what are the psychological implications of those three separately and as a group?  What did you expect my response to be, what would you have liked it to be and what would you have not liked it to be?  How about Weissenberg's?  What are the philosophical and psychological meanings of your post, in regard to your id, mine, his, and that of the anonymous audience, as macro and micro?

Surely if you even briefly delve into these questions, assuming you have the faculty to do such, you'll realize you're a hypocrite :)  (Self-awareness = ego, ego/"wanting attention" --> you are a hypocrite)  What are the implications of you likely not having thought of these things and me having thought about them?  (Not in your favor in this context, I can tell you that)  Surely my responses here are on a higher, ethical ground (and vastly more intelligent) than yours; I wonder why you are suddenly hostile!  I could delve into that, but I'll let you try to.
That is out off topic and completely irrelevant, the question is not who argues the best, who's right, or even which is the deepest performance of the piece, it's simply which is your favorite interpretation of it. My post was directed at Weissenberg, not at you, and any hostility you might have percieved was only in your mind. I used the word ignorant simply to state that you ignore all of the performances on the pieces, and if there was anyone who has any deffinitive answer on whether any performer captures the whole philosophical and emotional depth of the work, or if it even matters if all of that depth is expressed, would only be Beethoven himself.
"By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique, but by concentrating on technique one does not arrive at precision."
Bruno Walter

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #29 on: February 01, 2010, 05:25:05 AM »
Nobody has ever played the Opp. 109/111 well.
This sounds almost like something out of Richter.

Actually, the implication of my post was regarding the musical depth in the Opp. 109/111, and how no, singular performance can possibly (literally) account for all of it.
I agree 100%. The same holds true for Mahler (or maybe it's more visible to some in Mahler.). I have over 100 recordings of the 6th Symphony. Not one of them is good, and the best performance even in the mind cannot account for all its depth. (A better example, the 9th...the first movement is one of the greatest ever penned, and there are so many threads and layers that emphasizing one puts a shadow on others, and you need by nature to have many, many approaches to do it justice.)
Don't let anyone know where you tie your goat.

Offline john11inc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #30 on: February 01, 2010, 05:38:36 AM »
I never made such claim.

Well you certainly claimed to have a full understanding of my motives and the meaning, or lack thereof, of my post, which would require a near-mystical understanding of logic and proposition form (surely even Wittgenstein himself would find it a dubious claim to make anything more than a hypothesis), so I merely assumed, as you asserted the confirmation of this ability in so much as deferring any sense of worth or validity to the statement which you gave (we assume at least a modicum was implied, no?).


That could be true, and could actually be said about a vast number of pieces, but to say one performance can't account for the whole depth of the piece is very far from the statement that no one has ever played it well.

Just like a five year old probably would love Lang Lang, that doesn't make him good to someone else.  Different people have different standards.  I have never enjoyed a presentation of either of those works very much; they always fail on so many levels, every one that I have heard, and that is quite a number, as they are my two favorite sonatas of Beethoven.  To choose a favorite would be like choosing what breed of dog piss I would most like to drink; it's totally pointless.  Whichever is the shortest, whichever burns the best, whichever keeps the coffee rings off my table most effectively, whichever darts stick into well.  Which of those answers would you have preferred I give (and I could have, and would have if I was merely "looking for attention", as you put it) so that you could make an identical remark to?  Sorry if I err on the side of verbal efficiency instead of drama.  Surely this comes across as ironic, given the length of these posts, but I doubt you could claim all that which they say could be condensed to much less than they are and still maintain any level of accessibility.


That is out off topic and completely irrelevant, the question is not who argues the best, who's right, or even which is the deepest performance of the piece, it's simply which is your favorite interpretation of it. My post was directed at Weissenberg, not at you, and any hostility you might have percieved was only in your mind. I used the word ignorant simply to state that you ignore all of the performances on the pieces, and if there was anyone who has any deffinitive answer on whether any performer captures the whole philosophical and emotional depth of the work, or if it even matters if all of that depth is expressed, would only be Beethoven himself.

Oh, that's quaint.  Let's see, here.


This sounds almost like something out of Richter.

As little as I am a fan of his pianism, he was often quite right about his ideas on music.  Also, I was wondering if you were aware that Iroveashe is an idiot.  Surely, as I am addressing this now to you, Furtwaengler, s/he would be being illogical to find offense in it!



So.  To answer the original question.  Whichever one flushes the best when I'm done with it.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


http://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline birba

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #31 on: February 01, 2010, 06:45:53 AM »
when i read mr linch's post, i started to post a reply asking him to explain himself.  but i stopped because of an answer i received in the post on earl wild:  i don't HAVE to explain anything.  you're treading on a mine-field when you get him started.  he's delved so far from the post on beethoven, it's clear he's an amateur philosopher who is using this site to expound his profound knowledge.  Iroveashe is right.  it's only a means of getting attention.

Offline john11inc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #32 on: February 01, 2010, 07:22:39 AM »
when i read mr linch's post, i started to post a reply asking him to explain himself.  but i stopped because of an answer i received in the post on earl wild:  i don't HAVE to explain anything.  you're treading on a mine-field when you get him started.  he's delved so far from the post on beethoven, it's clear he's an amateur philosopher who is using this site to expound his profound knowledge.  Iroveashe is right.  it's only a means of getting attention.

Not really.

Just find it annoying when people say stupid things, as if it refutes something I've said.  If you want to argue with me, be smart or you're just not worth my time, so to speak.  That's all.  I'm not arguing with myself, am I?

Again, I'd like to note that I am not the one who called someone "ignorant"; I believe it was in response to that that I started to get... disagreeable?  How shocking, that I should become disagreeable after being called ignorant.  Who could have seen that coming?  What an unprovoked and surprising response from me!

I post big, which makes me the jerk.  Genius stuff right there.  These long explanations of why he's wrong are actually what make him right.  Even more genius. ::)

In regard to your "question" on the other thread (how insanely petty to bring that up, mind you), which was actually a command, as it was worded, why should I waste my time?  I had already answered the question once; I do not pander to the stupid and/or the autistic.  There was nothing particularly difficult about what I was saying; maybe English isn't your first language or you have Asperger's or something, but really, that's not my problem.

Do you not honestly think I would have simply answered the question if you hadn't said,

"???????????? How is that supposed to explain it?  You're going to have to do better than that."

and instead said,

"Sorry, I still don't understand.  Could you be more direct?"

I mean really, whose actions are more offensive in this case?  You, with your seeming authority and demands, or me, who is merely responding to them in kind?
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


http://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline m

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #33 on: February 01, 2010, 08:21:31 AM »
Nobody has ever played the Opp. 109/111 well.

That may (or may not) be said about ANY piece. One may have different opinion about the piece, or hear it differently, or just see there different things. I guess, that would be helpful if you could elaborate, if you wish.

IMO, there were people who played those Sonatas well, not many, though. For example, Op.109 S. Feinberg, or Op. 111 G. Sokolov. But as always, the beauty is in eyes of beholder.

Best, M

Offline iroveashe

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #34 on: February 01, 2010, 02:43:12 PM »
I agree 100%. The same holds true for Mahler (or maybe it's more visible to some in Mahler.). I have over 100 recordings of the 6th Symphony. Not one of them is good, and the best performance even in the mind cannot account for all its depth. (A better example, the 9th...the first movement is one of the greatest ever penned, and there are so many threads and layers that emphasizing one puts a shadow on others, and you need by nature to have many, many approaches to do it justice.)
Does that mean that -even if you haven't listened to them, and even if they may not have captured all of the depth in one single instance- Mahler's own performances of his 6th were not good?
"By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique, but by concentrating on technique one does not arrive at precision."
Bruno Walter

Offline iroveashe

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #35 on: February 01, 2010, 02:49:05 PM »
Alright, I'll stop assuming and making claims. What aspects of Arrau's interpretation of Op. 111 make it bad enough to be compared with dog urine?
"By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique, but by concentrating on technique one does not arrive at precision."
Bruno Walter

Offline birba

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #36 on: February 01, 2010, 03:41:04 PM »
I can't believe you're actually giving this guy credit for an intelligent post and asking for further commentary.  Who knows what binge he's going to take off for now...

Offline ahinton

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #37 on: February 01, 2010, 04:23:01 PM »
Nobody has ever played the Opp. 109/111 well.
I'm not surprised that this statement has encounraged some doubt-ridden responses, but perhaps that is because it needs a little explanation. It is obvious that (to take it literally), no such adamant judgement can be made by anyone who has not heard all performances of these works and, again obviously, no living person can possibly have done so. I suspect, however (and please correct me if I am wrong here) you are instead seeking to suggest that it is simply not possible for full justice to be done to these works by any performer (or at least not in any one given performance of either of them) alone, in which case you may well have a point (although the extent to which one might then feel led to go on to make similar claims for other repertoire may thereby be thrown open to question).

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Alistair
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Offline john11inc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #38 on: February 01, 2010, 07:43:35 PM »
Alright, I'll stop assuming and making claims. What aspects of Arrau's interpretation of Op. 111 make it bad enough to be compared with dog urine?

[Dog urine certainly doesn't have Arrau's pretensions; I wouldn't want to insult dog urine like that.]  What I'd say if I was interested in keeping the tone you apparently are.

Arrau's is one of my least favorite of the so-called "good ones", so to speak.  In the first movement he has no patience, in that he does not allow any one idea, phrase or motif to breathe in between the others.  Rush rush rush to the next idea.  There's also, and this may be due to the recording technology of the time, although I doubt it, a great lack in variety in color and dynamic.  His trills are sloppy in places, the octaves rhythmically sporadic in places.  There is ridiculous rubato in the staccato bridges.  To me his performance just means nothing; it doesn't say anything.  It's a technically qualified (usually; he does lose his place later in the movement a bit) pianist sitting at a piano and playing the notes.  That is all.  It's not exciting, nor moving, nor spiritual in any way.  It's a performance of the piece, and the last thing that piece needs is more pianists "just playing it", which is what Arrau did in my ears.  The second movement is too slow for my liking, to start, as well as suffering from the lack of color and dynamic variety.  Various dissonances come out in his voicing that don't belong, and the few that do are often ignored under his hands.  He gets hung up several times trying to force more legato into the piece than he seems technically capable of, as well, which ruins the rhythmic structure; he does so doubly by injecting rubato which obviously has no place where he puts it, making the whole thing intellectually idle and aimless.  His second movement is just so pretentious; as if it's so incredible because it's not incredible in any way.  Well, to me, that just means it's not incredible.
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #39 on: February 01, 2010, 08:25:45 PM »
[Dog urine certainly doesn't have Arrau's pretensions; I wouldn't want to insult dog urine like that.]  What I'd say if I was interested in keeping the tone you apparently are.

Arrau's is one of my least favorite of the so-called "good ones", so to speak.  In the first movement he has no patience, in that he does not allow any one idea, phrase or motif to breathe in between the others.  Rush rush rush to the next idea.  There's also, and this may be due to the recording technology of the time, although I doubt it, a great lack in variety in color and dynamic.  His trills are sloppy in places, the octaves rhythmically sporadic in places.  There is ridiculous rubato in the staccato bridges.  To me his performance just means nothing; it doesn't say anything.  It's a technically qualified (usually; he does lose his place later in the movement a bit) pianist sitting at a piano and playing the notes.  That is all.  It's not exciting, nor moving, nor spiritual in any way.  It's a performance of the piece, and the last thing that piece needs is more pianists "just playing it", which is what Arrau did in my ears.  The second movement is too slow for my liking, to start, as well as suffering from the lack of color and dynamic variety.  Various dissonances come out in his voicing that don't belong, and the few that do are often ignored under his hands.  He gets hung up several times trying to force more legato into the piece than he seems technically capable of, as well, which ruins the rhythmic structure; he does so doubly by injecting rubato which obviously has no place where he puts it, making the whole thing intellectually idle and aimless.  His second movement is just so pretentious; as if it's so incredible because it's not incredible in any way.  Well, to me, that just means it's not incredible.
OK - so whether or to what extent I might agree with you about Arrau in this work at any given time, let's have more of this, because at least your are telling us in detail about what you think about what you have listened to.

Whilst you're thinking about your next salvo here, I might add (albeit with great sadness) that I attended what I believe was the first performance that Michelangeli gave following the severe stroke that he suffered on or around his 70th birthday; it was in the far from pleasant acoustic of London's Barbican Hall and was an all Beethoven and Chopin programme which I almost wish he'd declined to give, since he was clearly not in the best condition to do it. Following Op.22, the first half ended with a performance of Op.111 that was one of the most tense, uncomfortable and mannered that I have ever heard of that work and, especially since my expectations had been so high, the disappointment that his bizarre account offered was more than enough to make one weep. The place was so chock full of pianists to the point at which I almost felt like an interloper (I saw Cherkassky, Ashkenazy and Brendel as well as a good many other well known names from the piano world there). What perhaps made the entire occasion even more sickening was that, having made an even worse impression with some Chopin playing in the second half, he ended with what started as a lacklustre and tired performance of the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise of which one felt that the best thing that could happen was for it to be over as soon as possible, only for him suddenly to rediscover (as it were) his old magic from out of nowhere as the polonaise progressed and, ultimately, we ended up in thrall to vintage ABM at his very best. Of course, it brought the house down. It brought me down, too - albeit in a rather different sense.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline jesc

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #40 on: February 02, 2010, 01:25:23 AM »
Whilst you're thinking about your next salvo here, I might add (albeit with great sadness) that I attended what I believe was the first performance that Michelangeli gave following the severe stroke that he suffered on or around his 70th birthday; it was in the far from pleasant acoustic of London's Barbican Hall and was an all Beethoven and Chopin programme which I almost wish he'd declined to give, since he was clearly not in the best condition to do it. Following Op.22, the first half ended with a performance of Op.111 that was one of the most tense, uncomfortable and mannered that I have ever heard of that work and, especially since my expectations had been so high, the disappointment that his bizarre account offered was more than enough to make one weep. The place was so chock full of pianists to the point at which I almost felt like an interloper (I saw Cherkassky, Ashkenazy and Brendel as well as a good many other well known names from the piano world there). What perhaps made the entire occasion even more sickening was that, having made an even worse impression with some Chopin playing in the second half, he ended with what started as a lacklustre and tired performance of the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise of which one felt that the best thing that could happen was for it to be over as soon as possible, only for him suddenly to rediscover (as it were) his old magic from out of nowhere as the polonaise progressed and, ultimately, we ended up in thrall to vintage ABM at his very best. Of course, it brought the house down. It brought me down, too - albeit in a rather different sense.

Best,

Alistair

Thank you for this account. I appreciate, you sharing this.

Offline birba

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #41 on: February 02, 2010, 09:16:38 AM »
michelangeli represents for me the ultimate in piano technique and was my idol.  i recently saw an old black and white film of him doing the op.111 at one of the first concerts in the Brescia piano festival series.  it was one of the most disappointing events of my life.  for me, michelangeli could do no wrong.  but this was the most arid and non-felt performance i had ever heard.  why?!  it really goes to show that perfection, no matter how sublime, does not guarantee art in the full sense of the word.  OR maybe that result is the one ABM wanted.  beats me.

Offline m

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #42 on: February 02, 2010, 09:34:22 AM »
OK - so whether or to what extent I might agree with you about Arrau in this work at any given time, let's have more of this, because at least your are telling us in detail about what you think about what you have listened to.

Whilst you're thinking about your next salvo here, I might add (albeit with great sadness) that I attended what I believe was the first performance that Michelangeli gave following the severe stroke that he suffered on or around his 70th birthday; it was in the far from pleasant acoustic of London's Barbican Hall and was an all Beethoven and Chopin programme which I almost wish he'd declined to give, since he was clearly not in the best condition to do it. Following Op.22, the first half ended with a performance of Op.111 that was one of the most tense, uncomfortable and mannered that I have ever heard of that work and, especially since my expectations had been so high, the disappointment that his bizarre account offered was more than enough to make one weep. The place was so chock full of pianists to the point at which I almost felt like an interloper (I saw Cherkassky, Ashkenazy and Brendel as well as a good many other well known names from the piano world there). What perhaps made the entire occasion even more sickening was that, having made an even worse impression with some Chopin playing in the second half, he ended with what started as a lacklustre and tired performance of the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise of which one felt that the best thing that could happen was for it to be over as soon as possible, only for him suddenly to rediscover (as it were) his old magic from out of nowhere as the polonaise progressed and, ultimately, we ended up in thrall to vintage ABM at his very best. Of course, it brought the house down. It brought me down, too - albeit in a rather different sense.

Best,

Alistair

Alistair,

When you wrote "Op.22" somehow I actually connected it with Andante Spianato etc., so it was quite confusing to read into the actual Chopin piece, so it took a few moments to realize the Op.22 actually was Beethoven  :)

In any case, I have 3 live recordings of Michelangeli of Op.111 and have to admit one of them I rather like. But again, because of his general precision in both, his ideas and execution, if there are any differences, they might be rather in recording quality and techniques. Indeed, one would not find there human warmth of Schnabel, or passion of Maria Yudina, or depth of Maria Grinberg. However, somehow I feel between the lines, he played it for centuries--cold like an ice, perfection itself, nothing to add, nothing to remove... just like a matter of fact.

Indeed, your passage about your experience shows (whether that concerts was the result of his general condition, or hall acoustics, or anything else) that after all he still was just a human, which I have to admit, sometimes I forget.

As for more of those kinds of anecdotes, I was at the concert of Gilels, when he was playing Beethoven Op. 53 and just could not put hands together--in those 16ths they just were going apart. It would've been histerical if it wasn't rather sad. I remember his another concert with Symphonic Etudes, when there was literally no one single page with at least a few mistakes.
 
Friend of mine witnessed Richter getting on stage, starting HammerKlavier, and then stopping right on the second page. After sitting on stage for a minute, in the dead audience silence he just stood up and left the stage. In a few minutes he came back, started over, and as she told me, that was magnificent!

Best, M


Offline ahinton

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #43 on: February 02, 2010, 09:58:11 AM »
Alistair,

When you wrote "Op.22" somehow I actually connected it with Andante Spianato etc., so it was quite confusing to read into the actual Chopin piece, so it took a few moments to realize the Op.22 actually was Beethoven  :)
Sorry for any confusion unintentionally caused!

To have a "favourite" performance of Op.111 would surely be an impossibility - or at least an improbability. I might be tempted to consider Pollini, but there are just so many...

Best,

Alistair
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Offline goldentone

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #44 on: February 04, 2010, 07:54:26 AM »
OK - so whether or to what extent I might agree with you about Arrau in this work at any given time, let's have more of this, because at least your are telling us in detail about what you think about what you have listened to.

Whilst you're thinking about your next salvo here, I might add (albeit with great sadness) that I attended what I believe was the first performance that Michelangeli gave following the severe stroke that he suffered on or around his 70th birthday; it was in the far from pleasant acoustic of London's Barbican Hall and was an all Beethoven and Chopin programme which I almost wish he'd declined to give, since he was clearly not in the best condition to do it. Following Op.22, the first half ended with a performance of Op.111 that was one of the most tense, uncomfortable and mannered that I have ever heard of that work and, especially since my expectations had been so high, the disappointment that his bizarre account offered was more than enough to make one weep. The place was so chock full of pianists to the point at which I almost felt like an interloper (I saw Cherkassky, Ashkenazy and Brendel as well as a good many other well known names from the piano world there). What perhaps made the entire occasion even more sickening was that, having made an even worse impression with some Chopin playing in the second half, he ended with what started as a lacklustre and tired performance of the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise of which one felt that the best thing that could happen was for it to be over as soon as possible, only for him suddenly to rediscover (as it were) his old magic from out of nowhere as the polonaise progressed and, ultimately, we ended up in thrall to vintage ABM at his very best. Of course, it brought the house down. It brought me down, too - albeit in a rather different sense.

Best,

Alistair

Great post, Alistair.  Thanks for sharing. :)
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Offline camstrings

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #45 on: February 04, 2010, 09:47:12 AM »
Pogorelich's early 80s recording may be worth hearing. I wore out the LP, such was its hold on my listening hours..

Offline liordavid

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #46 on: March 05, 2010, 12:40:21 AM »
Claudio arrau

Offline jcabraham

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #47 on: March 21, 2010, 11:39:32 PM »
Paul Badura-Skoda.

Favorite: Les Adieux, played by Melvyn Tan on Beethoven's Broadwood.

Offline orangesodaking

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #48 on: March 22, 2010, 12:08:59 AM »
Not wanting to promote my piano teacher or anything, but I really enjoy listening to his recording of Op. 111 the most.  :)

Offline furtwaengler

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Re: Favourite interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata 32 Op 111
«Reply #49 on: March 22, 2010, 04:35:16 AM »
Well, I'd sure love to here your teacher play it, whoever he is. :)
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