\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good (Read 1476 times)

Offline henrikbe

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 2
Hi,

in bar 36 of the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, there is a change of rhythm, from 16th to 16th triplets. When I play this, I think the change is rather abrupt, and this annoys me, since I think it doesn't fit so well with the tranquility and tenderness of the piece as a whole. Not that I have any issue with the triplets per se, I think the part from bar 36 to the end is beautiful, it's the transition that bothers me.

How do you play this transition? I've tried to slow down a little in bar 36, and it helps a bit, but it still doesn't flow as seamlessly as I would like it to do.

Offline dogperson

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1049
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 11:36:44 AM »
I donít see this as a place to slow down, but to play it quieter  (as indicated in the score) and with a sense of quiet urgency. I see the bass triplets in this section to be a foreshadowing of the bass triplets in the recap,   Iím not sure from your post if you consider, or not, this entire section to be problematic.  If you do, donít forget that the LH in bar 38 is marked staccato

I would recommend that you listen to as many professional recordings of this section as you can find

Offline visitor

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4882
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #2 on: August 23, 2018, 11:53:14 AM »
I donít see this as a place to slow down, but to play it quieter  (as indicated in the score) and with a sense of quiet urgency. I see the bass triplets in this section to be a foreshadowing of the bass triplets in the recap,   Iím not sure from your post if you consider, or not, this entire section to be problematic.  If you do, donít forget that the LH in bar 38 is marked staccato

I would recommend that you listen to as many professional recordings of this section as you can find
spot on
WWAD = what would Arrau Do....start there
also to consider
in cases of of these usually seek out also
Schnabel, Brendel, if available Emanuel Axe,  for a modern take if shes recorded it , Tiffany Poon studied w Axe at Juliard....
good alternate again if available - Andre Watts

Offline themeandvariation

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 680
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #3 on: August 23, 2018, 03:15:32 PM »
"in bar 36 of the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, there is a change of rhythm, from 16th to 16th triplets. When I play this, I think the change is rather abrupt,.."
This idea first makes its appearance in bar 8..  (Here, Beethoven very subtly -for a few beats-introduces the rhythm that will become the rhythmical basis for a large part of the piece..

Of course, in the section that you mention, Beethoven has also changed the mood(!) by going into the minor.  This section is not so 'tranquil' - compositionally. In fact it leads to a big climax.  Of course you could play it 'tranquil', if you are insistent about not changing the mood.
4'33"

Offline dw4rn

  • PS Gold Member
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 19
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #4 on: August 24, 2018, 08:18:25 AM »

When I play this, I think the change is rather abrupt, and this annoys me, since I think it doesn't fit so well with the tranquility and tenderness of the piece as a whole. Not that I have any issue with the triplets per se, I think the part from bar 36 to the end is beautiful, it's the transition that bothers me.


Hi, just a couple of thoughts:

You write, 'When I play this...' Could it be that you are just slightly uncertain about your own playing here, and that the problem doesn't lie in the music? Do you feel the same when listening to the piece or reading the score?

I find it interesting that the triplets continue for the rest of the piece, which consists of 73 bars. In  other words, the change takes place at the exact midpoint, and we're not really talking about just a new section, but half the piece. If you experience the piece as a whole as tranquil and tender, and the part from bar 36 to the end as beautiful, I find it hard to understand why find this bar so different. I my view, certainly it's an important turning point, but still quite undramatic, quite like the start of the first episode in bar 17.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5442
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 11:23:09 AM »
The triplets in the Rh need to be played very lightly, this especially demands that your thumb is very supple, you can play them with a very light and controlled staccato action while playing the top voice with more finger legato and using those held fingers as a support for the staccato action. The added challenge of the melody in the top voice makes the RH of a challenge in this section.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline dogperson

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1049
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #6 on: August 24, 2018, 01:02:22 PM »
Henrikbe
Your thoughts?  Was any of this helpful?

Offline pencilart3

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2082
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #7 on: August 25, 2018, 02:51:06 AM »
Beethoven wrote many pathetic sonatas. Which one are you referring to?
youtube.com/noahjohnsonpiano

Offline henrikbe

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 2
Re: Pathetique 2nd movement - how to make the transition sound good
«Reply #8 on: August 28, 2018, 09:24:35 AM »
Thanks for all your replies! I started playing it a bit quieter now, which seems to help. But I also realized I had misread the score: The upbeat (if this is the correct english term) Eb is supposed to be an 8th, but for some reason I've always played it as a 16th (of course not by shortening the bar, but by replacing the 8th with a 16th pause and a 16th Eb). This makes the transition more abrupt than intended. Playing the correct rythm turned out to help a lot!