Hammerklavier in Müpa (Budapest)
Actualizado: 16 oct
As some of you might know, I love to introduce the program which I am going to play in concerts. On previous Wednesday, 26th March 2022, I performed Hammerklavier and other movements from Beethoven sonatas in the Glass Hall, in Müpa (Budapest).
I took few notes and gathered some ideas to speak during the concert.
🍀 Here they are, for anyone who might be interested: 🍀
"What I will play for you today is a big mistery. A mistery that I still didn't resolve, and that I want you to experiment. This mistery starts with a person: Beethoven, an intense and emotional human being."
"He was, as you already might know, an extraordinary musician. He was a wonderful pianist and improviser, although we know him as a composer. In any case, he was a human, and a human who little by little became deaf."
"This detail is very important. Because the music he composed for many years was first of all created and imagined in his mind. It was imaginary music, imaginary sounds; and later, material sound as we perceive it. He composed and imagined music with his unique inner ear. That is why by the end of his life his music sounds so special. I want to bring a short example from his sonata op.109 (1820), almost a fantasy:"
🎵 [I play op.109, I]
"Tender, beauty, extreme contrasts,... It is supossed to be a sonata form: first theme, second theme, development,... But does it sound as a sonata form?"
"As I said, this mistery relaids in Beethoven. A human who became deaf. Deafness leaded to isolation. And isolation leaded to unpoliteness. Politeness is what makes us live in society. When you are a child you learn to not to scream, to eat properly in the table, not to bother people around,... But what happens when you lose that contact with society? When you cannot comunicate properly? When you are isolated? When you are deaf?"
"The sonata I am going to perform was composed in 1816 and never perfomed during Beethoven's lifetime. Hammerklavier is an unpolite sonata. It doesn't care about if you think it is too extreme, too uncoherent, too unclear, too mad,... And the mistery starts there."
"I will introduce each of the movements before playing them."
"The first movement is basically joyful and full of energy. There are many musical ideas, all of them full of optimism. But it shows from time to time sinister comments or black humour gestures that might be suspicious... Is Beethoven hiding something? Let's listen to it!"
🎵 [I play Hammerklavier - op.106, I]
"The second movement is short as a tale. We could imagine it tells the story of a secondary character: introduction, epic, drama, and finally, resolution."
🎵 [I play Hammerklavier - op.106, II]
"After this movement, we arrive to the heart of the sonata, its core. In this movement we can see the passionate human being we all know going beyond his limits in a merciless way. This music comes from isolation. What do we do when we are alone? When there is no one to judge our actions or our thoughts? How far do we dare to go?"
🎵 [I play Hammerklavier - op.106, III - Introduction from the IV]
"What I just played now is already the beginning of the fourth and last movement.
I hope the third movement broke already all your expectatives. But even if you don't believe, you are about to listen something even more extreme and shoking.
Now comes a fugue, a free fugue. We shouldn't think about an scholastic or academical fugue, but a poliphonic monster. The maddest thing ever composed by Beethoven for piano."
🎵 [I play Hammerklavier - op.106, IV]
"This is the very end of the sonata. As I said in the beginning, a big mistery. Probably, most of you might be thinking now, "why?" Why? Why did he do this?"
"I still don't know, and I feel I am still far to reach the answer. Anyway, this sonata fascinates me. And for now, what I can say is that I think this sonata was composed not to be played. Is like a book, written for not to be read. A personal experiment, out of society expectations. From humanity till our wildest nature. And therefore, one of the most intimated pieces of Beethoven."
"I want to finish the concert with a charming tender movement, which, fourtunately, was composed to be listened and enjoyed."
🎵 [I play op.13, II]
"I hope you liked the concert. Thanks for listening. Now, I am open to a discussion, to your questions, to your thoughts, if you want to share them."