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Topic: Beethoven op. 110  (Read 2854 times)

Offline pianoville

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Beethoven op. 110
on: January 24, 2017, 04:06:14 PM
So for the last week I have been listening alot to Beethoven sonatas and got very hooked up on the 31st sonata, op. 110. I have only played 3 Beethoven sonatas so far, op. 26, op. 27 no 2 (of course) and op. 28. I am wondering how long out of my reach is this sonata and how many Beethoven sonatas would I need to do before tackling this masterpiece?
"Perfection itself is imperfection." - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline milchhpiano

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Re: Beethoven op. 110
Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 05:23:43 PM
Op. 110 was the most recent Beethoven sonata I've studied, and is actually the last solo repertoire piece I've studied (I have recently got more into collaborating, playing for opera rehearsals and musical directing). The other Beethoven sonatas I played were all from that middle-period like you have done.

I actually had started on Op. 110 about 5 or 6 years ago, and I gave up after a couple of months because the musical material is very different from what you come across in those middle-period works. The music isn't as visceral (at least not until the last two pages, especially if you follow Brendel's remarks on it), and is pretty mature. Now, I'm not saying that me learning it at age 23 as opposed to 17/18 was such a huge difference, but a lot happened in my musical education between then (virtually my entire undergrad).

I would say go for it! If you're hooked on a piece of music, you should absolutely try it out. Technically, you should be able to handle it in terms of difficulty in Beethoven sonatas. The fugues can be a little tricky however, especially the first one (get ready to redistribute and get creative with fingerings... it's a combination of awkward Bach fingerings as well as realizing that it's still in Beethoven's world). Also, prepare yourself for several lessons and different viewpoints on how to play the introduction. In general, every pianist out there holds this sonata very close to their heart so you're going to get several subjective viewpoints on this sonata as a whole.

Basically my advice is to make sure you're up for the task of doing some research on playing Beethoven. Personally, this was the sonata that solidified my love (and struggle) of Beethoven and opened me up to the idea that there are several dozens, if not hundreds, of dynamic shadings. It's all about touch and phrasing in this music.

Let me know if you have any questions!
Recital/MM Audition Program
Bach Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue
Beethoven Op. 111
Liszt Dante
Rachmaninoff Op. 39/6
Kapustin Variations Op. 41
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