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Topic: Rubato in Beethoven pieces  (Read 1657 times)

Offline softbn

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Rubato in Beethoven pieces
on: May 29, 2022, 08:38:23 PM
Hello. Do pianists use rubato in Beethoven pieces? I’m practicing the 3rd movement of tempest and just wondering. Same with pedal I try not to use too much what about you ?
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Offline anacrusis

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Re: Rubato in Beethoven pieces
Reply #1 on: May 29, 2022, 09:22:51 PM
There are pianists who use rubato in Beethoven but it's usually very subtle and natural. Beethoven's compositions in particular gain a lot of their drive and energy from having a steady pulse.

Offline bwl_13

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Re: Rubato in Beethoven pieces
Reply #2 on: May 30, 2022, 03:03:09 AM
My approach with Beethoven rubato is in most sections keep it very steady. For slow movements "placing" certain chords and melodic highlights can be useful, but generally rests and rhythm are very important for the pacing of the music.

However, in sonata form or sonata "style" movements (some rondos etc.), slight differences in tempi for different theme groups is essential. I immediately think of dolce e molto ligato in the Waldstein. This theme suffers if played exactly at an Allegro con brio, so slightly pulling it back in the transition to this theme and then slightly pushing it forward towards the closing theme is very necessary to give the theme the beauty and expression it deserves.

The challenge comes in how noticeable the transition in tempo is. If I remember correctly, Beethoven said that somewhere his metronome marking are only good for the first few measures of a piece. However, it's also said that he always played with a very strong sense of pulse. Therefore, Beethoven likely envisioned these differences in tempi, but transitioning is the most challenging part. This seems to be the hardest part of Beethoven in general. Playing with strong pulse and expression, and then transitioning into drastically contrasting material seamlessly. Think of the romantic ideal of organic growth (the Eroica is a great study of this).

In the case of the D Minor sonata's finale, the perpetuum mobile nature of the movement implies that you've got to be very rhythmic. You might consider a slightly more pressing tempo for the second theme group, pulling it back ever so slightly for the repeat and when the main motif returns. Other than that I would be very steady. The tempo differences should really only be one or two metronome notches at most. This was one of the most challenging aspects of this movement when I prepared it for a festival.
Second Year Undergrad:
Bach BWV 914
Beethoven Op. 58
Reger Op. 24 No. 5
Rachmaninoff Op. 39 No. 3 & No. 5

Offline caters

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Re: Rubato in Beethoven pieces
Reply #3 on: June 06, 2022, 08:09:15 PM
I tend to minimize the amount of rubato when I'm playing Beethoven. If I have to slow down part of it, I slow down all of it. If there's any tempo change, it's at the end or marked. I've heard pianists play Beethoven pieces with Chopin-level rubato, where I hear significant slowing down and speeding up and that just sounds so wrong and against Beethoven's intent to me, so I err towards a more metronomic approach for Beethoven.

Online brogers70

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Re: Rubato in Beethoven pieces
Reply #4 on: June 06, 2022, 09:46:28 PM
Beethoven included this remark in the manuscript for one of his songs "100 according to Mälzel, but this can only apply to the first bars, because feeling has its own tempo; this is, however, not completely expressed in this figure (namely 100)". Still it's not clear how much he thought the tempo could vary in response to the feelings' own tempo.

Offline rmchenry

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Re: Rubato in Beethoven pieces
Reply #5 on: June 12, 2022, 01:09:25 AM
Whilst I am no great Beethoven pianist, my highest level is the Pathetique sonata.  For most of this sonata, first and third movements, the faster parts with their relentless rhythm, I play with no rubato at all,
but I have concerns with the "pathetique" chords and progressions in the first movement.
Firstly, the opening f c minor chord. I like to prolong it beyond its exact measure - would Beethoven have prolonged this chord  if his piano had the resonance of a modern piano? I don't know but prolonging this chord seems to me to fit well with the "pathetique" nature of the piece.
Likewise in the introduction before the Allegro, I feel that judicious rubato can significantly emphasise the pathetique.
Just my thoughts
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