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Beethoven: Piano Sonata n°5 in C Minor
Wim Winters, Clavichord
Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano sonata n°5, opus 10 n°1 in C Minor, played on my Saxon Clavichord
(yes, a clavichord… you know me…)
The thumbnail’s background? Well… you’ll get some real nature evocation in the middle section! O, and don’t be afraid of some lightning at the beginning of the last movement: you’ll be safe 🙂
Love to read your thoughts on that in the comments below!
0:00 Allegro Molto e con brio
9:30 Adagio Molto
23:25 : Prestissimo
This sonata, written in 1799, is often referred to as the ‘Little Pathetique’. I always found this a rather strange nickname, since the work is in no way I believe smaller in setup nor technical easier than the other C minor sonata. Especially the middle section is a large evocation, romantic as few other pieces at that time already were in essence, of pure nature (hence the background in the middle movement here in the video : let me know what you think about that!)
With a duration of 30 minutes, as in this recording -a bit to my surprise as well I must admit-, we probably can leave the connotation ‘little’ behind us forever. And probably that’s a good thing, since Beethoven is all but the composer of the little things…
Of course, reconstruction of tempi that might have been close to the original idea is helping this new perspective as well. Not saying that I know for sure I’m right (there is no telephone connection to Beethoven, nor can we ask him by tagging his name in a Facebook post), but the notation in combination with the metronome numbers as given by Czerny and Moscheles were important here to make decisions and base the foundations of this performance on.
Because that it is: tempo IS the foundation of any performance, on what element you base that decision. And of course there are more possibilities than one. As the possibility of taking those early 19th century golden informational facts (which they are) is a one point of starting.
To me personal, the largest change of perspective was in the middle section, of which I only now start to understand a new meaning. As happened without the context of MM for example in the Mozart D Major München sonata (last movement, variations, adagio (https://youtu.be/bxzHjDHCN2c). The beginning of this adagio molto might be taken faster if you forget to look further down into the text. Some passages are hard to play much faster, but when you start from the possible affect (not effect) Beethoven might have been trying to shape here, a kind of eternal feeling of peace, evoked by nature as only those late 18th and early 19th century artist have seen it, is probably what is in the center here.
I did a livestream some months ago, discovering this ‘mood’ together with you : https://youtu.be/tHUgHBn-oBM
Anyway… so much to talk about, but let’s not ruin your impression here. Hope you like it!