Power, Passion and Ecstasy, Beethoven Piano Sonatas: The Tempest, Pathetique and Opus 100
What an impossible task- to select for this recording just three out of Beethoven's extraordinary body of piano sonatas! I've settled on three from different periods of his life, both to demonstrate the striking originality of his output and to illustrate how the challenges of his difficult life and health are reflected in his music. These sonatas express so excitingly the elemental power of Beethoven's music and its impact on the human psyche.
The three Sonatas are perfect examples of how Beethoven broke the rules of composition that preceded him, establishing his own trademark style. Loud, soft; fast, slow; dramatic key changes; silences ... harmonically daring, provocative, surprising.
The uncompromising emotion and energy in Beethoven's music, combined with his propensity to break the compositional 'rules' of the day, is what leads to the visceral thrill these sonatas provide. No wonder the Pathetique reportedly had ladies swooning in the aisles at early performances by Beethoven himself!
It's illuminating to listen to Beethoven's works with an awareness of his personality and mental state at the time of composition, and in the notes that follow, John Suchet sets the scene for us. I'm indebted to John for so vividly setting the piano sonatas in the context of Beethoven's life and times.
PASSION is the word most associated with Beethoven and, ultimately, the only thing that really mattered to him was his music. For that reason, perhaps, the best way to listen to these sonatas is to allow yourself to be drawn into the music, and to be swept along by the emotion, to share in Beethoven's passion, and to be consumed by it!