July 2011

July 2011

Friday, 8 November 2013

Waldstein (2)

Opus 53

In 1991 the young Beethoven wrote a Ballet for Count Waldstein, which he allowed the count to pass off as his own. It was only discovered in the 20th century that the young Beethoven was the author. But let us go back to the 2nd movement of the Waldstein Sonata. 

The second movement which is in Opus 53 now was not in the Sonata when it was first published. It must have been important for Beethoven to have changed it afterwards and the world should be grateful for it, because I think it is the most beautiful and bold slow movement of all his Sonatas. It is actually not a movement in contrast to the first version. It is only an introduction to the last movement.

With slow, first of all is meant slow. Really slow! There is no note too many and the shortness of it as a prelude to the final movement is the most courageous thing Beethoven has ever done. Well, apart from Hammerclavier.

Watch that Base line! Chromatically down from F to C. But of course the most important thing in the Waldstein Sonata is the Leitmotiv..

The density of the motif is enormous in the next couple of bars!

Everything that is exceedingly beautiful is also exceedingly simple. From the start in F and from there in an amazing way to the Dominant of the key of the last movement C major. Which means that the 'Schenker' meaning of the 2nd movement is soley Subdominant - Dominant. 

A Rondo! Beethoven has made up for all the rondos which weren't rondos. Beethoven wrote the mother of all rondos here in the Waldstein. 

The slow buildup stands miles above the ninth symphony, but yet only few know this theme. Even the Waldstein Sonata is always associated with the first movement. But for me the Waldstein Sonata is the last movement. It is long and Beethoven has taken all time he had to build this Rondo up towards the end. I like to increase the dynamics with every new cycle and until the last two pages I think Beethoven has reached perfection! 

And then I am with shock brought to the earth again. Because the last two pages aren't perfect at all! What on earth was Beethoven's intention with these last two pages? Had the Leitmotiv lost its spell? Or had the Sonata to be rushed to the publisher? Who perhaps only saw the last two pages and returned it? 

We will never know. Perhaps my technical abilities just couldn't cope with it?!

Listen for yourselves. 

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