Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas - 1000 Years of Classical Music, Vol. 28 (CD)

ABC Classics & Jazz
Current Stock:
Gerard Willems

Even as he struggled with the onset of deafness, Beethoven took the piano sonata into new realms of expressive power and beauty.

Beethoven started writing piano sonatas as a boy of 13, and his 32 ‘adult’ sonatas span his full composing career. Five sonatas are represented on this disc: the earliest of these, the Sonata Pathétique (№8), marks a period of transition in Beethoven’s professional life, from being famous as a virtuoso pianist who also happened to write music, to being a composer first and foremost. (Pathétique here doesn’t mean ‘pathetic’; the French word refers to music which is very passionate and emotional, especially with feelings of pity, grief and sorrow.)

The ‘Moonlight’ Sonata (№14) comes from Beethoven’s early years in Vienna, a time when he was experimenting with form and looking for a wider range of expression. Instead of being in sonata form, with its emphasis on contrast and direction, its opening movement is calm and tranquil throughout. Sonata №18, ‘The Hunt’, was written a year later: its cheerful mood is astonishing, given that this was also the time when Beethoven was almost suicidal with despair at the onset of deafness.

The ‘Waldstein’ Sonata (№21) and the ‘Appassionata’ Sonata (№23) were written a few years later, in the period when Beethoven was writing his ‘Eroica’ Symphony and other ‘heaven-storming compositions’, full of striking power and energy.

This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. Click here to view other titles in this series on our website.

More information can be found at the project’s website 1000 Years of Classical Music.

- - - - -



1-3. Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 ‘Waldstein’
4. Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ‘Appassionata’: I. Allegro assai
5-7. Sonata, quasi una fantasia (Piano Sonata No. 14) in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’
8. Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 ‘The Hunt’: II. Scherzo
9–11. Sonata Pathétique (Piano Sonata No. 8) in C minor, Op. 13

Gerard Willems

- - - - -