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Acknowledgement by the New York-based 'United Jewish Appeal'
(founded in 1939), in profound gratitude for the outstanding support
and contribution of Claudio Arrau in solidarity with the Jewish people.
Issued in 1972/73.
[Image by courtesy of the Claudio Arrau Museum, Chillán, Chile]
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Some pages from Claudio Arrau's Chilean diplomatic pasport issued in 1964.
[Images by courtesy of sponsor Prof. Martin Berz]
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Certificate of birth registration of Claudio Arrau León
with the Civil Registratry of Chillán, Chile. 
Born at 12 midnight on 7th February 1903.  Folio 129, entry No.254.
[Images by courtesy of Museo Claudio Arrau, Chillán, Chile]
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Claudio Arrau: American Express credit card 1966-1972.
[Images by courtesy of sponsor Prof. Martin Berz]
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—  Writings  —

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On Beethoven's Sonatas

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Notes by Claudio Arrau.
A companion to the complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle recorded by Arrau for Philips in the 1960s.

xxxThe creative life span of any creative giant is usually divided into three parts - early, middle and late (following the major cycles of life). Although this sometimes can be an arbitrary division in art, it is almost nowhere so manifest as in the life and work of Beethoven.

xxxOne of the great culture heroes of Western Civilization, Beethoven exemplifies in his creative output all of the spiritual and psychic battles of the mythic hero who is given superhuman tasks to overcome and who, after untold struggles, emerges the victor and, in the case of the highest spirits - Shakespeare, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Goethe - wins through to the greatest states of realization and illumination.  This is especially true of Beethoven who struggled creatively on a more titanic scale than even Michelangelo (in the sense that he wrought his works into shape with an inexhaustible inner sense and vision of perfection and completion) and in the end reached a mystical union with his own godhead and on a higher plane of victorious transcendence than almost anyone else in the history of art.

xxxNowhere throughout his work is his struggle and transcendence seen more clearly than in his 32 Piano Sonatas.

Sonata No.1 in F minor Op.2 No.1 (1795).
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xxxThe three Sonatas Op.2, composed in 1795 and published in 1776, stand at the threshold of the great arch which encompasses the mighty 32 Beethoven wrote for his own instrument - the pianoforte.  There are actually 38 sonatas for the piano, but the 32 bearing opus numbers constitute the Bible of the keyboard.
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The F minor Sonata and the other two of Op.2 are dedicated to Beethoven's short-time Vienna teacher, Haydn, and possibly because of this and because they are among Beethoven's earliest works (the Trios, Op.1, preceded them), they are thought to hark back to Mozart and his older contemporary. Nothing could be less true.  They are all Beethoven to the core. All three are fully developed symphonic works in four movements each, and all have such a richness of architectural design and musical boldness as to point to no one else but Beethoven.  Like Hercules, and the true culture hero he was, he could do marvels from the cradle.
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The opening Allegro in F minor begins with a jaunty eight-bar theme that seems to generate itself right through to the coda which leads to the enchanting Adagio in F major.  This opens with a lovely eight-bar melody and grows to a full-grown sonata movement.   The wonderful transition to D minor helps give it its special character of detached gravity, like a gentle prophecy of all the anguish to come in the later slow movements.
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The charming Minuetto goes back to F minor, opening with a rather plaintive and reflective theme, worked out to run into the Trio in the tonic major, and then back to the Minuet da capo.  The concluding Prestissimo, also in F minor, is an energetic sonata form development with a long episode in A-flat, rich in harmonic power and invention, and a quick recapitulation and close.
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Sonata No.2 in A major Op.2 No.2 (1795).
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xxxThe first movement opens with a forthright, very Beethoven, eight-bar downward moving theme in A major, quickly giving way to two other themes, all with scales ascending and descending, and setting, as a sort of prologue, for the brand new theme in E minor which leads to the anguish of the dramatic and gripping development and final recapitulation.  This makes for such a tightly knit movement that it is almost over before completely understood.
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The slow movement is remarkable for the depth of expression and the subtleties of nuance, of thoughts evident and implied, especially for so early a work.  The movement ends with a lovely and reflective coda, which allows the enchanting opening theme of the Scherzo to enter like a bit of elfin grace touched by some long forgotten melancholy.   After a trio in A minor the usual da capo brings the Scherzo to a close.
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The concluding Rondo, marked Grazioso, is truly that, with an even more felicitous opening theme than the Scherzo.   It is a fully developed rondo with the graceful theme returning three times before the closing coda.  The sense of form is so sure, so noble, and content and craft so allied, as to leave little doubt that here, at 25, a full-blown genius is at work.
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Sonata No.3 in C major Op.2 No.3 (1795).
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xxxThis is the grandest of the first three piano Sonatas Op.2, which Beethoven composed at the age of 25. It is his first fully virtuosic sonata and he revels in it, especially at the beginning of the development and at the end of the first movement.
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The opening Allegro is at once dramatic and assertive – the vital Beethoven side is already in evidence.  The whole marvelous, symphonically developed movement, from the first theme to the great coda, bears testimony, even at this early date, to the bigness of mind at work as well as to the grand scope of design.
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The beautiful Adagio in E major, after a heavenly other-world opening, moves to a dark episode in the tonic minor and continues to develop in an unusual rondo form to the concluding coda.   The turbulent outbursts of sforzandos are markers pointing to the Beethovenian struggles to come.
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The dashing Scherzo next springs in as a vigorous contrast.  It develops confidently through a trio in A minor, a conventional da capo and finishing coda.  The concluding Allegro is an example of the rare happy Beethoven – a gay rondo, with themes, transitions, episodes, returns, recapitulation, and fully grown coda with only a touch of minor in the end for flavour – bringing off a true grand sonata in every way, early or late.
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Sonata No.4 in E-flat Op.7 (1796-97).
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xxxThe opening of this extraordinary early Sonata commences with the hurried figure of the exposition material and rushes on to its development as if a lesson in sonata form were being expounded.  The musical material is matter indeed - until we come to the development section in C minor.   Here, through a course in related minor keys, we are introduced to an atmosphere of mystery which is sure to unlock the doors of creation, but not yet.  The recapitulation brings us back to the daylight and clarity of the opening statement - but now transformed with a new note of anger in the fortissimos and concluding coda.
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Creation in all its mystery is felt at once in the other-world opening of the Largo. It introduces us into the essential Beethoven - the hero of the tragic encounter.  Only a year after his first three piano sonatas Op.2 dedicated to Haydn, he is already, at twenty-six, operating in a different realm - his own true realm.  In this introspective, utterly lonely slow movement, we hear, as if from afar, the beginnings of the slow movement of Op.106.  Here is mirrored the Beethoven to come and all the lonely, terrifying slow movements to be torn out of his soul.  The Beethoven who, crying out in anguish, begins his long descent into the abyss in order to emerge reborn and victorious.
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The Allegro begins with a mood more like a continuation of the Largo than the scherzo it is meant to be, as if too spent from what came before to be truly light in character.  The dark, dramatic middle theme in F minor is a tragic outburst.  A codetta leads to the Trio in minor tonic with its feverish arpeggios, and a new codetta leads back da capo to the opening material.
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The main theme of the Rondo is a true gracioso of the purest lyric melody. But soon, in a wonderfully turbulent minor second episode, the battling Beethoven is revealed, right in the midst of the lyricism as it were, or as in life, in the storm after the calm.   There was never a greater master of the psychological stroke in music, and here Beethoven shows his mastery right from the start.  After a second return of the main theme, there is a recapitulation, a final return of the main theme and a coda beginning pianissimo and finishing on a beautiful and calm transformation of the second episode.
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Sonata No.5 in C minor Op.10 No.1 (1796-98).
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xxxIn the three Sonatas op.10, Beethoven returns again to the formal mood of his first three sonatas Op.2, instead of following in the direction indicated by the bold work of Op.7.  Written between 1796 and 1798 and printed in the latter year, they may have been meant for gifted young performers.  But surely Beethoven, a virtuoso himself, must have been the gifted performer most in mind.
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All three works, composed as if in full view of an admiring salon, flow naturally like brooks of sheer improvisational wonder, now glorying in exuberant melodic brilliance and rhythmic verve, now meditating softly and lovingly.  The glow of young life and hope sheds a bright light – but not for long.  The slow movement of Op.10 No.3, like the slow movement of Op.2 No.2, already points starkly to the “Hammerklavier” slow movement to come – twenty years later.
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The first movement of Op.10 No.1 opens with an impetuous eight-bar theme that forms the core of the long exposition of the sonata form, leading through the development, recapitulation, transition and new recapitulation of the second theme material, now in the minor and ending without coda in rapid fortissimo.
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The slow movement in A-flat major is in sonata form without a development.  The opening melody is like a dirge, now sad, now consolatory, and flows from this material to the final coda in one long breath of beauty – part heavenly and soaring, partly resigned.
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The diabolic Prestissimo, back in C minor, is in full but telescoped sonata form, brusquely breaking the meditation of the preceding Adagio.  But before the stage is quite set for gaiety, it is all over, and the minor key is brought back in a startlingly beautiful cadence before the close.
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Sonata No.6 in F major Op.10 No.2 (1796-98).
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xxxThe opening Allegro starts out at a moderate pace, broad and spacious in feeling. But soon a host of ideas comes crowding in to build a movement of such richness, especially in the wonderful recapitulation, as to have made this Sonata a longtime favorite of Beethoven himself.
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The Allegretto in F minor consists of a Minuet and Trio and a varied da capo. It breathes an air of sadness and longing veiled in an atmosphere of hushed mystery.
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The Presto, back in F major, is a short virtuoso exposition of the sonata form (though without second theme) in rousing fugato style: brilliant, compact, and utterly and wonderfully effective.
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Sonata No.7 in D major Op.10 No.3 (1796-98).
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xxxThe Presto is one of the most brilliant opening movements in all of the Sonatas.  It carries a defiant proclamation of confidence and élan.  The pulse of life is running joyously. But – how Beethoven can catch at the throat with a sudden twist of the minor key, as he does in both the development and recapitulation, as well as in the broad coda!
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The Largo, in D minor, by contrast, plunges to the opposite end of tragic despair.  The slow movement of the “Hammerklavier”, Op.106 – the sublimity no less than the gravity – is foretold here.
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The Minuet, back in D major, brings a consolatory mood with a lovely sixteen-bar melody which builds simply to the Trio in G major leading back, da capo, to the Minuet.
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The Rondo, though a genuine rondo in form, with the three returns of the main theme in good order, is not a rondo in the accepted sense.  Even the gentle, tentative opening of the theme poses a different idea. It is not assertive, it seems to be asking a question.   The coda bringing the work to a close tapers off, there seems to be no answer.  This is Beethoven’s first truly tragic Sonata – not, as is customarily supposed, the “Pathétique”.
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Sonata No.8 in C minor Op.13 (Pathétique, 1798-99).
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xxxThis Sonata, following in the heels of Op.10 No.3, is Beethoven's first actual tragic sonata (although tragic elements abound from the very first sonatas on).  Thus the publisher's title of "Sonata Pathétique" had full justification.  It opens forthwith with an introduction of such powerful and tragic passion as had not been encountered in the literature of the pianoforte up to then.  Any publisher failing to take advantage of the opportunity thus presented would have been blind indeed, not to say deaf.
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xxxFollowing the ten bars of the foreboding introduction, the Allegro opens with an eight-bar tragic, or rather pathetic, theme which soon leads to the second theme in E-flat minor, allegro molto e con brio, which forms the main body of the movement.  The introduction theme returns again to usher in the development and after the grand recapitulation.  We hear it for the third time as the opening of the coda which brings the movement to a close, with the main theme, allegro molto e con brio, leading to the staccato final chords.
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xxxThe Adagio cantabile in A-flat major is a short rondo, and contrary to what might be expected in such a sonata, it is not one of Beethoven's tragic slow movements, but one more with the character of a consoling lullaby in the opening melody.   The second theme in F minor only emphasizes this mood. But the dialogue theme between treble and bass which follows does have a tragic air.   The third return to the opening theme follows, and then the closing coda which is truly "pathétique".

xxxThe concluding Rondo movement in C minor is in grand rondo form and a worthy end partner of the opening movement.  It develops from the lovely opening theme through two dramatic episodes and recapitulation.  Each time, before the return of the theme, there are mad down-rushes of two and a half octaves, and again at the end of the closing coda.
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Sonata No.9 in E major Op.14 No.1 (1798-99).
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xxxThe two sonatas Op.14, which follow the great "Pathétique" Op.13, are as removed from the passionate outbursts of the latter work as possibly could be imagined.  All composed in the same period (1798-99) and all published in 1799, one might in fact get the impression that, having completed Op.13, Beethoven was out to write two more sonatas as quickly as possible in order to have a round number of three for publication.  But the thorough workmanship and the sketches in the notebooks show us that Beethoven worked on these two sonatas as seriously as on all his other works. But there have to be lows between the peaks - inevitably.
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The Allegro is a light, uneventful sonata form movement.   The A minor melody in the development almost contradicts the conventional mood. But then a forte scale passage returns us, by way of the recapitulation, to the placidity of the beginning and on to the closing coda.
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The Allegretto, in tonic minor, is a short movement opening with a charming, wistful melody, leading through a codetta to the Trio in C major, then back da capo to the beginning.  The very conventional Rondo concludes the work.
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Sonata No.10 in G major Op.14 No.2 (1798-99).
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xxxThe Allegro, as if to make up for the first movement of Op.14 No.1, opens with one of those God-given melodies with which the Beethoven literature for the pianoforte abounds.  It is a self-germinating theme in the finest sense - where the first note or figure seemingly makes the rest inevitable.   It is recalled in a most beautiful way in the concluding coda.
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The slow movement is a theme with three variations in C major - more impressive on paper - i.e. to the eye than to the ear.  The Scherzo completes the work in rondo form.
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Sonata No.11 in B-flat major Op.22 (1799-1800).
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xxxAfter the valleys of the Sonatas Op.14, Beethoven came up with the medium peak of Op.22 in 1799-1800, of which he wrote: “Diese Sonata hat sich gewaschen”.  He meant “This sonata takes the cake”, or “That’s the way to do it”.   It is as if before being able to move on to the freer forms of Op.26 and the two of Op.27, he had to show himself that he could do one more sonata in the traditional mold, and he does it to his own complete satisfaction.
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The Allegro opens the work in great brio form and leads from opening theme through a grand development and recapitulation to the end in one long, seemingly unbroken strand.
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The very long and beautiful slow movement in 9/8 time is a complete sonata form.  It is not one of Beethoven’s anguished adagios, but one of uncommon tranquility – for him.  But then, what of the rising minor melody in the development? Lofty, meditative Beethoven.
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The Minuetto in B-flat, of a simple feminine grace, has a strong trio in G minor coloured by surging, running scales, and ends with the conventional da capo.  The concluding Rondo, back in B-flat, is a fully worked out rondo movement with a closing coda.  It has both the charm of its endearing material and the weight of its organisational power.  It brings Beethoven’s first style in the piano sonatas to a confident end.
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Sonata No.12 in A-flat major Op.26 (1800-01).
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After the “tradition test” to which Beethoven put himself in Op.22, thus providing a finishing point to a concluded phase of his work, he was able to move on to Op.26, the first of his free-form sonatas, a freedom which finally was able to take him clear out of this world in Op.109 and 111, some twenty years later.
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The work opens with no ordinary sonata-form movement, but with an Andante theme with five variations.  The gracious opening theme, in three strains, the third a repeat of the first, is worked out in a wonderfully tight-knit skein of invention that defies analysis, not that the craftsmanship is not as clear as day.  Suffice that the five variations and the concluding coda are one indivisible feat of creation.
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The demonic Scherzo in A-flat, with Trio between the da capo return of the theme (and typically Beethoven sforzando effects to garnish the whole) is a perfect foil for the Funeral March in Ab minor which follows. Why a funeral march for a slow third movement?  And why for the death of a hero?  Was the hero Beethoven himself?  Had a phase of him died to make possible the birth of another? In any case, here it stands – truly a monument to itself and the future: the Funeral March of Symphony No.3 that was to come forth only four years later.  So,
the shadow falls long before the event.
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The concluding Allegro in 2/4 is to me like the sap of life starting to flow again, which explains my rather slower tempo.   It is the only way to give this short rondo-form movement any meaning after the Marcia funebre.

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Sonata No.13 - Sonata quasi una Fantasia in E-flat major Op.27 No.1
(1800-01).

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The two Sonatas Op.27 which came immediately after the free flowing form of Op.26, also in 1800-01, are in the same new “second period” Beethoven style.  He is very clearly charting new land and he makes no bones about calling his work by another name.  It is now “Sonata quasi una Fantasia” – Sonata almost a Fantasia, and that is what they are, with No.1 even more so than the more popular “Moonlight”. Beethoven begins to break the mold here, but convention is strong, the ground uncertain, and he is pulled back.  It will be many years more before he will be ready to step out into the unknown altogether.
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The Sonata begins ruminatingly with a sweet innocent melody, as if the composer’s hand was wandering over the keys and his mind far away.  It goes through a first alternative twist, a da capo repeat and suddenly we are in a lively allegro second alternative of the melody, now in C major. A second da capo return of the theme, a short coda ending in long silences, and a pause brings us into the Allegro molto movement in C minor, made up of a gloomy scherzo and a gay trio in a lively persistent rhythm which soon leads into the Adagio con espressione in A-flat. It is a simple lyric melody in three strains with a typical Beethoven broadness of utterance.   The Allegro vivace is a rondo with a brilliant development section which shows Beethoven at his most inventive bent, harmonically and polyphonically. A coda suddenly returns us after a pause to the Adagio theme. What a masterly unconventional touch!  A short presto buttons up the whole work in a quick close.
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Sonata No.14 - Sonata quasi una fantasia in C-sharp minor Op.27 No.2
(Moonlight, 1801)
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xxxThe Adagio sostenuto of this work is justly famous and beloved. It is human enough to bear the title “Moonlight” or any other word by which man expresses his longing and aloneness.  The continuous, flowing melody seems endless. With its elements of development and recapitulation, it makes up the whole nocturne-like movement in true fantasia style.
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The Allegretto reminds us of the opening movement of Op.27 No.1 – simple, unaffected, and with an air of detachment.   A little trio brings back the opening of the movement da capo, and then we are in the demonic fiery style of the blazing closing Presto. Beethoven here returns us to the good and tried old sonata form in which to let go – when something marked Presto agitato becomes a very cry of the heart and a desperate longing of the soul.
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Sonata No.15 in D major Op.28 (Pastorale, 1801).
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xxxIn this work Beethoven harks back to the good and tried sonata form mold.  After the two experiments of Op.27, he seems content to try his hand again at another old-fashioned sonata. His Hamburg publisher printed it with the subtitle “Pastorale” and the uneventful, peaceful opening Allegro indeed gives the feeling of something pastoral, without any storms.
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The beautiful Andante in D minor, with its development of three strains of the melody in da capo form, is Beethoven at his most touching best.  How right the Hamburg publisher was!
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The Scherzo in D major continues the pastorale feeling even through the Trio in B minor at the end, before the return da capo.  Even the concluding Rondo fails to pick up any brio character.  A Piu allegro at the end quickly closes this very peaceful work, and presages, as almost always in Beethoven, a new peak to come after a temporary lull.
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Sonata No.16 in G major Op.31 No.1 (1801-02).
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xxxWith the three Sonatas Op.31, Beethoven achieves a new peak of creativity.  He is now, with both feet, in the very center of his middle, or second, style, and strangely enough, we arrive at the half-way mark of the 32 chronologically as well.  After a period of experimentation (Op.27 Nos. 1 and 2, and Op.26) and a respite (Op.28), Beethoven returns in these works with renewed energy and power to give us three master sonatas (especially No.2), which are destined to lead directly to the Everest peaks of the “Waldstein” and the “Appassionata”.
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Were we even without our present-day knowledge of the period of these works – 1801-02 – the period of his confrontation with his deafness and the penning of the Heiligenstadt Testament (that amazing document of symbolic death and resurrection), we would know from the internal evidence of these works that some terrible struggle had taken place and Beethoven had come out the victor, as he did so fantastically and courageously in all his struggles throughout his life.
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The Allegro vivace, in sonata form, is gay and rather offhand, in fact even humorous.  In contrast to this sure-footed and compact movement, we have the discursive ornateness of the Adagio grazioso in C major.  Built on an ABA form with coda, it boasts more trill passages than almost any other movement of Beethoven’s sonatas.  It is a serious slow movement and is particularly moving in the beautiful expansion of musical material and hushed mood of the cantabile closing coda (like the sudden opening up of a wide horizon).
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The concluding Rondo in sonata form appears more on the light and seemingly conventional side, until suddenly, in the long coda, we hear the main theme again, now broken up by strange pauses and an adagio tempo. But the composer catches himself and there is a trill figure, then a presto and a quick playful close.
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Sonata No.17 in D minor Op.31 No.2 (1801-02).
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xxxBeethoven's advice to Schindler to consult Shakespeare's Tempest for the meaning of this Sonata may be taken more in connection with the play's title than with the story or philosophy of the play. For what else but a tempest is that powerful and tragic opening Largo-Allegro? What else is that first broken two-bar figure in largo tempo, a pause, and then the four-bar allegro answer in D minor, but the agitated anguish of a soul in tempest? And how it builds - how it grows. Whoever heard of anguish having such organic life in art - such palpable moments of questions and answers - and pauses -, such an edifice of suspense, imagination, and heartbreak. Where else but in Shakespeare and in Beethoven?
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The Adagio in B-flat major opens with a broken chord as in the first movement. It is in sonata form without development, and the heavenly first melody sets the mood of melancholy, aloofness. Yet, over it all, breathes the mystery of the earth and ultimate consolation.
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The concluding Allegretto in D minor, with its almost perpetual semi-quaver rhythm throughout (the Tempest element?), has the passion and the vigor of an Allegro, born out by the momentum and flow of its organized sonata form materials. Contrary to Czerny, however, the sound of galloping horses should not be taken too literally, but rather as in all art, to be translated into mood and feeling.  The movement is one of inner agitation and unease, and the galloping is not real but ghostly - like shadows advancing and receding out of the mist.
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Sonata No.18 in E-flat major Op.31 No.3 (La Chasse, 1801-02).
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xxxAfter the tragic pathos and protest of Op.31 No.2, this Sonata opens with an Olympian air of grace. Not that it is without drama even in its very first theme, but it is drama acted out on some other stage, as it were. Beethoven can observe the tragedy, the comedy, the grace, and go on to write a great movement in the best sonata form, with all the passion and vigor at his command.
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The Scherzo, also in sonata form, opens with a quick rondo-like theme, which leads into the Allegretto theme (Schnabel marks it Allegro) propelled by the staccato semi-quavers in the bass.  It builds with insistent energy, purpose and an all-pervading grace.
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The lovely Minuetto might be said to be the work's slow movement, since it is no ordinary dance tune but one of Beethoven's melodic gems.  The total effect in short is of a slow movement of uncommon beauty and grace.  The infectious bounce of the Presto, like a tarantella in rhythmic momentum, is again in sonata form. What better way to give such a glowing movement self-generating life? Beethoven ends in a blaze of affirmation and victory.
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Sonata No.19 in G minor Op.49 No.1 (1798).
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xxxThe two little Sonatas Op.49, in two movements each, belong to the years 1796-98, and it is not hard to understand why Beethoven himself failed to have them published the, but waited until his brother Kaspar sent them to a publisher in 1805, ostensibly without his consent.  At the time they were composed they were not even up to the power and imagination of the Op.2 Sonatas, not to mention the Sonatas of Op.10.
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After the great period of Op.31, it was probably unthinkable that he would send them out himself.  But good businessman that he was, he perhaps thought it a good idea to have his brother do so. Whatever the explanation, we remain the gainers.  Simple and unpretentious as they are, they are lovely little works, especially the G minor, and in the grand span of the thirty-two, they act as restful places in between the towering heights.
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The Andante opens with a beautiful swaying melody followed by a development section, recapitulation and coda.  The Rondo, not fully worked out, matches the Andante in felicity and charm.
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Sonata No.20 in G major Op.49 No.2 (1796).
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xxxThe Allegro moves its tripping way from the opening four-bar melody to a complete, if not very expansive, sonata form movement; this leads to the Menuetto, developed in rondo form on a theme afterwards used in the Menuet of the Septet Op.20 (1800).
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Sonata No.21 in C major Op.53 (Waldstein, 1803-05).

xxxThe Waldstein Sonata, like the Eroica Symphony composed during the same period, stands at the very center of Beethoven's creative life.  In it, as in the Eroica, he marshals all his forces of strength and will, all his energies of purpose and life, all his spiritual vision of mind and soul and forges them with an anvil of red-hot heat into affirmation and rebirth.

xxxIn France this sonata is called L'Aurore - the Dawn - and it is truly like an awakening after a long dark night, a stirring of spring and finally the full burst of day and sunlight.

xxxThe Allegro con brio opens with its mysterious main theme, heard throughout this marvelously expanding sonata-form movement. From the counter-statement of the main theme in semi-quaver tremolo, the second theme, development, (dark and turbulent) recapitulation and long coda, it moves on a harmonic band of steel inexorably to the end. What a masterpiece of creation is all we can say, what a burgeoning of the wellsprings of life!

xxxOriginally the slow movement was a long rondo, later published separately as the Andante Favori. Beethoven at first clung to this music, played it in this original order for his friends, and only later came to the fulfillment of the present Introduzione, two of the profoundest pages in all of his music.

xxxThe Adagio, in F, enters like a benediction.  The lyric melody descends in semitones on an immense range of modulation.  The effect is as of a floating in space, and it floats right into the Allegretto of the Rondo, which opens with a lovely eight-bar melody pianissimo, still floating. But then, from the first episode on, with its hammering forzandos, it is forged into a rondo movement never dreamed of before or since.  After the coda there is a Prestissimo of volcanic force, leading to a beautiful cadenza - with thrills, and then prestissimo again to the end, and one finally can breathe normally again.


Sonata No.22 in F major Op.54 (1804).

xxxFollowing the mountain heights of the Waldstein and coming just before the other mountain peak of the Appassionata, the Sonata Op.54 rests in almost total shadow and indeed is likely to be heard nowadays only in a complete performance of all 32 Sonatas.   As has been shown before, Beethoven evidently needed quiet lulls (either to test his skill or just to keep his hand in practice as it were) before the gathering of his forces for another total encounter.
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xxxThe work opens with a Minuet and Trio, the first part of which is heard between two repetitions of the Minuet.  The latter develops with a progressive variation, and then the closing coda.  The Allegretto is a perpetuum mobile that runs on with development, recapitulation and coda, Piu allegro, to the end, concluding a tour de force of a two-movement sonata, an idea which was to become so transformed and transfigured in Op.90 and Op.111.


Sonata No.23 in F minor Op.57 (Appassionata, 1804-05).

xxxAfter the upsurge and the optimism of the Waldstein sonata, it is not psychologically incongruous to find Beethoven plunged into the opposite hell of despair of Op.57. The order of the Waldstein-Appassionata follows very much the order of the C major of Op.31 No.1 and the D minor of Op.31 No.2, the affirmation of life as against the tragic sense of life. Only now Beethoven is, in experience if not in years, depths ahead in suffering.  But as the Waldstein is titanic in its burgeoning force, so is the Appassionata in its tragedy.   It is tragic throughout in all its three movements, whether marked Allegro, Andante or Presto, and for once a publisher was right and found just the right title for a work: Appassionata fits exactly. It is Beethoven's Passion, just as Op.111 is a Resurrection.
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xxxThe Allegro assai in F minor sonata-form opens with a hushed four-bar theme rising to a trill, followed by a repetition.  A new rhythmic motive enters in the bass as part of the theme and will figure throughout as a sort of Fate motive.  The counter-statement follows with crashing tonic chords, leading through a dominant preparation to a new theme in E major.  A wonderful cadence with descending bass in successively lower octaves leads to the agitated development section, long, great and deeply tragic.  In the recapitulation, the counter-statement now bursts out in tonic major instead of minor: a stroke of tragic irony.   After the coda there is a one-bar Adagio, a pause and then Piu Allegro to the passionate end, slowly dying away.

xxxThe Andante is a theme with four variations in D-flat major.  It comes as a restful rocking moment between the two great corner movements. At the opening and at the end, it is tragic in its air of resignation.  A fortissimo chord leads directly to the concluding Allegro, again in F minor and sonata-form, and perhaps the most tragic of the three movements.  Although it begins with a characteristic self-propelling Beethoven theme which mounts and builds and grows, to seemingly be able to burst the very boundaries of life, its underlying tone is tragic, and remains so throughout. Even the concluding Presto, passionate and headlong, is like the wildness of tragic abandon.
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Sonata No.24 in F sharp major Op.78 (1809).
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xxxBetween the two Sonatas Op.78 and Op.79, both composed in 1809, and the preceeding piano Sonata - the Appassionata - lies a span of more than four years. Between them too lies the psychological river on which Beethoven crossed over from one life to another.  Commonly considered to be two of the composer's smaller later sonatas, they are in reality two of his greatest in content and meaning, especially Op.78 which poignantly and manifestly already carries in itself the kernel of all the later works to come. In these two works, simple and unaffected as they are, Beethoven, touchingly and unhesitantly, if slowly, enters upon the threshold of his last period.   The transcendent years of his creative life have begun.
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xxx
This is movingly made clear by the very opening of the Sonata - a poignant introduction of only four bars dying away with a pause.   There is nothing further to say - everything has been said within the span of four bars!  On this note, or rather pause, opens the beautiful Allegro in sonata-form, which develops on a plane of heavenly grace. For the first time in Beethoven, personal sorrow is truly transformed into world sorrow.  The consolation for the human condition is for all humankind.  The concluding Allegro, in sonata-form without development, is a sort of rondo neither sad nor jubilant, but brilliant and dramatic.   The real message of the work is in the first movement.
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Sonata No.25 in G major Op.79 (1809).
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xxxThis work is often referred to as a Sonatina, probably because of the technical simplicity of the second and thrid movements.  It is doubtful if it was ever so considered by Beethoven.  The opening Presto is a brilliant full-scale sonata-form movement and the word Tedesca - the Landler (the German or Austrian waltz) is completely expressive of its character.   In the String Quartet Op.131, Beethoven later turned the first figure of the movement upside down, and wrote another Tedesca on it.   The lovely Andante, in G minor, is like a dreamy barcarolle in ABA form concluding with a four-bar coda.  The Vivace, back in G major, is a guileless, tripping, delicious little rondo, completing a true little Gelegenheitswerk as the Germans would say, rather than anything in the range of the preceding Op.78.
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Sonata No.26 – Sonata caracteristique in E-flat major Op.81a
(Les adieux, 1809-10).
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xxxIn addition to this sonata, Beethoven dedicated some of his most important works to his great friend, the Archduke Rudolf (who at the age of 16 had become his pupil), including the “Emperor” Concerto, the last Violin Sonata Op.96, the last Trio Op.97, the Symphony No.7, and the Missa Solemnis.   The very majesty of these works attests to the quality of the friendship (or at least Beethoven’s feeling of indebtedness).
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xxx
In his sketches, Beethoven described the Sonata as “written from the heart and dedicated to H.R.H.”  While his friend was absent (with the rest of the royal family), Beethoven was hiding in the cellar during the bombardment of Vienna by Napoleon’s forces, and all he chose to tell of those terrible days in this music was the absence of a dear friend (which friend?) and the longing for the return.  In the three movements Beethoven writes more of a programme work than in the Pastorale Symphony, but it is still mehr Ausdruck der Empfindung als Malerei, especially in the slow movement.
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xxx
The very first notes of the opening of the Adagio introduction – sad and forlorn – is inscribed Lebewohl! (Farewell!).  Then comes the wonderful Allegro in sonata form. Underneath, in the recurrent descent of the Lebewohl figure, lies the core of sadness at parting.
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xxx
The Andante espressivo in C minor says everything about the sorrow of loneliness and absence of someone dear in a short intermezzo of a series of themes in rotation leading to the finale of the last movement – the meeting again. Here is all the joy of reunion – actually written only after Rudolf’s return – and a few of the tears always shed on such a happy occasion.
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Having written a sonata with German subtitles and expression marks at a moment when feeling of national fervor were to be expected (the three movements are marked Das Lebewohl, Die Abwesenheit, Das Wiedersehn), Beethoven was of course furious when his publisher brought out the work with French subtitles.  But “Les adieux” has struck throughout the world, the same as “Moonlight” or “Appassionata”.
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Musically this Sonata, together with Op.78, points the way to Op.90 and the late style of the last Sonatas.
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Sonata No.27 in E minor Op.90 (1814).
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xxxDedicated to Count Lichnowsky, this Sonata was supposed to be Beethoven's macabre way of cheering that nobleman on the occasion of his engagement to be married.  The composer called the tragic first movement "a contest between head and heart", and his unofficial title for the second Rondo movement was "Happy Conversation with the Beloved".

xxxThe fact however is that the music of the first movement is above any contest, even that of the head and heart, and the Conversation is not really happy.  Beethoven, feeling his way here on the road to Op.109 and Op.111, is merely verbalizing.  In the music itself, he neither asks any questions nor gives any answers.  It is his searching, if not yet mature, final bridge to the last five sonatas.   In only two movements, as is Op.111 where all the answers are asked and all given, this may even be said to be the first of the last sonatas, not Op.101.

xxxIn this work too, Beethoven continues the use of the German language (already begun with Op.81a) for tempo markings, as he does in the next Sonata Op.101, and describes both, that work and Op.106, for the first time as being "für das Hammerklavier" instead of for the Pianoforte.  For Beethoven, it was merely the complying with a wave of chauvinism following Napoleon's downfall. In Op.106, he returns again to his Italian markings.
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xxxThe opening movement, in E minor sonata-form, begins with an eight-bar melody of contrasting forte and piano, and a new eight-bar cantabile melody which then moves on to a self-repeating cadential figure full of longing which leads to the transition and marvelous development sections. After a short coda, this same figure is heard again at the very end as well as in the recapitulation.  It is the focal point of the movement's meaning.
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xxxThe second movement is a Rondo, but far from a rondo in spirit. Where the first movement floats on a lonely plane between earth and heaven, this movement is too full of unease to become even a little bit gay and ends abruptly in resignation. It is Beethoven before he has seen the light of illumination.
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Sonata No.28 in A major Op.101 (1813-16).
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xxxIn this fantastic work, which was some three years in the making and was began before Op.90, Beethoven finally hammered out the essence of his third period – sublime inwardness and heroic rebirth.  It is in every way as great on its own terms as Op.106, and would be more performed and understood were it not overshadowed by its colossal companion.  For just as Beethoven inscribed it in German, this too was designated as “für das Hammerklavier”, no doubt inspired less by the current wave of German chauvinism on the defeat of Napoleon than by the new Broadwood piano, with extended keyboard, sent to him from London and for which he must have wanted to do something extra grand, and did!
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xxx
The first movement, of only 102 bars’ duration, wells up from the deep regions of the soul. In highly concentrated sonata form with coda, it is over before the intimation of pain comes too close.   The March in F major of the second movement is, in complete contrast, strong and full of affirmation.  The Trio in B-flat which follows poses some doubt. The conclusion comes with the da capo of the March.
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xxx
The short slow movement in A minor elaborates on the tragedy only hinted at in the first movement, the first four bars of which are recalled before the rising trills leading to the grand finale.  This movement, back in A major and in concentrated sonata form, wields such a power in its thematic material and fugal development (which enters just after an uncanny figure in A minor, asks an angry question and pauses for the fugue entry – later heard again in the coda) as to mark it as one of the greatest finale movements in all of the Sonatas by Beethoven.
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Sonata No.29 in B-flat major Op.106
(Grosse Sonate für
das Hammerklavier, 1817-18)
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xxxAfter the years of work on Op.101, Beethoven was well prepared for this Grosse Sonate – one of the most grand, gigantic and worthy monuments a titanic spirit ever left behind him.
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xxx
Beethoven here (as in the first movement of Op.111) attempts once more to write a heroic sonata and I agree entirely with Schnabel that the tempo indicated by Beethoven’s own metronome marks must be correct. Only the heroics are now on another level altogether: craggy, splintered, violent, tortured, they seem to crumble under his very fingers as it were. Beethoven has passed the period of battles, but he has yet to reach his period of transfiguration, as he does later in Op.109 and the Arietta of Op.111 (and of course in the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony).
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xxx
Right from the first crashing B-flat chords of the Allegro, the die is cast, and the proclamatory figure is announced throughout the long movement of exactly 405 bars; it leaps, grows and hammers itself out into a colossus of structural sound.  As in Op.101 (also as a preparation for the last movement), the development section is worked out in canonic treatment here, with a fugato in E-flat at its center.  The recapitulation and long coda further emphasize and strengthen the glory of its sweeping momentum, truly built in and on the grandest symphonic scale.
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The Scherzo which follows, also in B-flat major, is on the same order as the first movement. No humorous piece, nor ordinary dance movement, it is another dramatic outburst, preparing us completely for the terrifying heartbreak of the Adagio.  This sonata form movement in F-sharp minor (G-flat minor), is a universe in itself.  Lasting over twenty minutes, it constitutes the apogee of profundity in music – as if all the tragic, profound slow movements Beethoven had lived through had been put into one fiery cauldron – as indeed they had – and burned in the red-hot flames into his lacerating distillation of pain and sorrow.
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Coming after such a movement, Beethoven had no other recourse but to resort to the grandest summing up available – that of a grandiose fugue in three voices.  The Adagio had said everything.   The Allegro risoluto only brings everyone on stage for the final statement, in this instance a raging fugue.  Beethoven seems to have been preparing himself all his life for this supreme contrapuntal achievement which I believe is transcended not even by the more celebrated Grosse Fugue.
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xxx
The Largo introduces by descending steps the right key for the entry of the Allegro.  Then, after a short preparation, the subject of the fugue is announced and the game begins, running its intricate course (the “licenze” Beethoven refers to are only rare deviations from the strict three-part writing) to the end – astonishing and edifying us with its amazing self-generating life forged at whitest heat.
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Sonata No.30 in E major Op.109 (1820).
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xxxAfter completing his last three great Sonatas, Op.109, 110 and 111, Beethoven was able to write to his publisher that "the pianoforte is, after all, an unsatisfactory instrument".  Considering the works that were going to occupy the remaining years of his life - the Ninth Symphony, the Missa Solemnis and the last five String Quartets, it is an understandable conclusion.  It is a conclusion which help us to understand the enigmatic character of these three sonatas.

xxxWhen Beethoven can say that "the pianoforte is, after all, an unsatisfactory instrument", he is saying plainly enough that he has not succeeded in expressing all he wanted to express and blames it on his instrument. He could not succeed entirely to his satisfaction because, in these three works, he attempted to capture the unattainable - to name the un-nameable. He wanted in them, or through them, to be given, and therefore to give, nothing else than the answer to the meaning of life.
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xxx
In Op.109 and 110, he wages a heroic battle in the deep regions of his soul and strains at the walls that enclose him. He breaks up all forms and discovers new ones, and finally, at the end of Op.111, he can see the clear stars of heaven again.  After these works, after these gigantic battles on the ground of his personal means of expression - the pianoforte - could come the renewed affirmation of life - the final yes to life he was searching for and which he gives us so overwhelmingly in the choral conclusion of the Ninth Symphony.

xxxBeethoven begins this Sonata with perhaps the strangest movement in all the 32. It is made up of two contrasted ideas, the Vivace and the Adagio. Throughout the movement the entire conflict is worked out in free sonata-form. After the Vivace opening in E major, the Adagio enters in B major, with its rising arpeggios of longing.  The Vivace returns as the development, and the Adagio is heard again in the recapitulation.  The coda brings back the Vivace terminating the whole unusual movement after the course of only 100 bars.
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xxx
The Prestissimo in E minor, in sonata form, is urgent and dramatic, leading to the songful, sad Andante, and as Beethoven noted under the Italian markings, Gesangvoll, mit innigster Emfindung (songful, with inmost feeling).  The movement is made up of the sad opening melody and six variations. But these are not ordinary variations, because the underlying element or philosophy is not embroidery, but divergence, differentiation, transformation and synthesis and transcendence.  In these variations, the last of which is a great double variation in continuous development, with the end bearing no resemblance to the beginning, Beethoven takes us far away in his imagination.  The original theme heard da capo at the end, calls us back, sadly.
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Sonata No.31 in A-flat major Op.110 (1821-22).
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xxxIn this towering work, Beethoven starts off with a movement in ordinary sonata form, but what it expresses is already of another world.  The overall mood is both ecstatic and passionate.  The Allegro molto, which breaks in, is a scherzo and trio befitting such a structure.  It is nothing but a quick, brilliant bridge between two pillars of profundity - the beginning and the end.
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The Addagio, which really may be thought of as beginning the last movement, is made up of three bars of modulating introduction, a three-bar recitative, più adagio, and three bars of Adagio ma non troppo again, leading into the Arioso. Beethoven surrounds it all with exhaustive expression marks. He forcibly wants his intent of meaning to be made clear. Something overwhelming and marvelous is about to come to pass, and indeed it does, for the Arioso in A-flat minor, which we hear next, is one of Beethoven's most sublime melodies - a dolorose of sorrow and consolation.  In German, he himself marked it Klagender Gesang (song of lamentation). It is Beethoven's Pietà.
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xxx
The Fuga for three voices which enters is not like the raging fugue of Op.106, but gentle, mournful, contemplative.  What a point of rest for the sorrowful Arioso! What a stroke of genius!  The fugue builds and interlocks and develops, and suddenly there is a complete recapitulation of the Arioso in G minor, its rhythm broken and even more sorrowful than before. Beethoven marks it in German as well as Italian.   Ermattet, klagende (Worn out, wailing). It dies away and a short preparation brings us back to the Fuga, pianissimo, which then develops by inversion and other fugal devices, bringing us back to life little by little to the rapid and triumphant conclusion.
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Sonata No.32 in C minor Op.111 (1821-22).
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xxxIn Op.111 Beethoven tries again to achieve what he had set out to do in Op.109 – break the bonds of time and attain timelessness and immortality. And by the time he is finished with the Arietta, he has done just that – attained immortality in his own lifetime.  When he reached the end of this movement with its ethereal trills, like the very opening of the heavens, he must have felt truly like Jonah coming out of the whale – man’s oldest symbolic tale of the psychological journey from darkness to light, from death to life, from mortality to resurrection and rebirth.  When he had completed that movement, there was no need to write a third movement.   The Sonata was complete: he had said everything.
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The work begins with the tragic Maestoso introduction in C minor leading into the Allegro con brio ed appassionato also in C minor, which bursts out with thunder from the bass.  As in the beginning of Op.106, it is as if Beethoven were trying once again to write a heroic sonata of struggle, like the “Appassionata”.   Only now he is way beyond ordinary human struggle psychologically, and he goes on to write a complete sonata form movement which builds its powerful way straight to the heart of the work: the transfigured and transfiguring Arietta with its heavenly theme in C major.
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As he has done in the last movement of Op.109, Beethoven goes on from this theme to four amazing variations which, their novel subdivisions of tempi notwithstanding, maintain their steady course of ecstatic vision to the end.  The equally amazing coda carries on the sublime vision, the trills mounting on air, on and on. After the re-entry of the Arietta, there is a transfigured Epilogue, with trills vaulting to the skies in an ecstasy of peace and spiritual oneness with the All. Beethoven transcendent, through what Goethe termed der Fall nach Oben – the fall upward.
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xxx
As Hans Mersmann, the noted German musicologist, has written: “These are cosmic spaces into which the endless, quiet flowing carries us. Beethoven gives us in his last Sonata a glimpse of music for which perhaps only Rilke could find words in one of his Sonnets to Orpheus:
In Wahrheit singen ist ein anderer Hauch.
Ein Hauch um nichts. Ein Wehn in Gott. Ein Wind
”.
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§

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Thoughts on Beethoven and the Piano Sonatas,
by Claudio Arrau, 1970.
Dissertation recorded by Philips and published on the occasion of
Beethoven's bicentenary.

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xxxWhat is it that is so great about Beethoven?  What is it that makes him so much a part of us, the deepest, most searching, most defiant part of us? What is it that makes us say of Beethoven that he was a Titan?  We don’t say it of Bach nor even of Brahms or Wagner or Mahler, titanic as some of their creative outpourings are. But we do say it of Beethoven. Why?
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xxx
I have attempted to explain it many times in the course of my performance of the 32 piano sonatas.  For the International Beethoven Festival in Bonn in 1970, I was asked to send in a paragraph or two on Beethoven and his music in relation to our times today. I wrote the following:

xx“For me, Beethoven has always stood for the spirit of man victorious. His message of endless struggle, concluding in the victory of renewal and spiritual rebirth, speaks to us and to young people today with a force that is particularly relevant to our times.
xxxIn the sense that his life was an existential fight for survival, Beethoven is our contemporary.  In the sense that he mastered both his life and his art to reach the ultimate heights of creation and transfiguration, he will last as long as man’s spirit to prevail lasts on earth”.

xxxThis is what we mean when we say that Beethoven is titanic. He is titanic because he is one of the great cultural heroes of Western civilization.
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xxx
Like all cultural heroes, Beethoven exemplifies in his creative output all the spiritual and psychic battles of the mythic hero – the hero who is given superhuman tasks to overcome and who, after untold struggles (truly bloodied but undaunted), emerges the victor and, as in the case of the greatest creative giants (Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Goethe), finally attains the highest scale of self-realisation and illumination.  This is especially true of Beethoven, who struggled creatively, possibly on a more titanic scale than even Michelangelo – in the sense that he wrought his works into shape with an inexhaustible inner sense and vision of perfection and completion.  In the end, he reached a mystical union with the godhead, as it were, and on a higher plane of transcendence than almost anyone else in the history of Western art.
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Nowhere throughout his work is this struggle and final transcendence seen more clearly than in the body of the complete 32 piano sonatas, where Beethoven’s creative development may be perceived in one unbroken line of continuous evolution from the forthright first sonatas of Op.2 to the other-world metaphysical language of Op.111.
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Much as one has to, I have become reluctant to divide Beethoven’s works into the three periods of life, the beginning, the middle, and the end. In art things are not quite so distinctly divided.  Thus, at the very beginning of Beethoven’s musical evolution, the slow movement of the third sonata already points to the passionately searching depths of the slow movements to come. You might even say from these very strong-minded first sonatas that the heroic Beethoven of the middle years, the Beethoven of the “Waldstein”, the “Appassionata”, the Fifth Symphony, is already partly in view.  But where in these opening and middle works can one really foretell the Beethoven of the last works – the five last sonatas, the Ninth Symphony, the Missa Solemnis, the five last Quartets?
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Where did all that come from? Where did the ability come for Beethoven to overcome even the titanic in himself and enter spheres of such transcendent meaning as were never encountered in music before or, in all truth, since?
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Who could really foretell such a span of evolution which sees him create at the end what can only be called a metaphysical language of music – a musical language where trills become a trembling of the soul and arpeggios reach out into the infinite altogether, as in the Adagio espressivo section of the opening movement of Op.109.
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In Op.111, the variations which follow the statement of the sublime Arietta are not even called variations, and rightly so, because they are not variations in the usual sense, but transformations and transfigurations of the theme.  Here Beethoven reaches cosmic spaces which open up into infinitude, into a state of mystical rapture which Goethe called “der Fall nach oben” – the fall upward, and on which Thomas Mann expounded so beautifully in “Dr. Faustus”.
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As Hans Mersmann, the noted German musicologist, has written:

xX“The chain of transformations questions more and more the character of the variation.  It is a great process of dissolving into which we are drawn, one of dematerialization which dissolves all outlines.   The solid turns into the flowing, the existence in time into the timeless eternal”.

xxxIs it then any wonder that we hold Beethoven in awe?  But the wondrous thing about Beethoven is that this metaphysical language which reaches such heights and depths of human longing and transcendence and transfiguration is always expressed through purely musical means. Beethoven seems to be breaking up the conventional sonata mould, as he does in the last five sonatas, but he finds new means with which to contain his message in a way no less definite than before.  Suddenly the fugue is used not just as a musical form but as something which becomes, as in Op.106, a blinding rage of wild titanic fury, or as in Op.110, a human act of faith. And what of that great battle – the Grosse Fuge – where mighty forces seem to be locked into a gigantic struggle of wills?
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This transformation and illumination that is achieved at the end of his life is truly so unique that one searches almost in vain for its counterpart in music, literature, or painting.
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I should now like to go into a number of details regarding the performance and interpretation of the piano sonatas.
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First and foremost is the question of textual fidelity.  I have said so often that textual fidelity is one of the cardinal points of any interpretation. But I have also said as often that textual fidelity is only the base of an interpretation.  It is the springboard from which an interpreter can take off.  The firmer the base the greater can be the flights of true musical imagination.
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We all know that musical notation is not an exact science; that every composer worth his salt has elements in his music which go beyond the written notes.  This is especially true in Beethoven, where even the rests must be made to speak. And speaking of rests, my advice, contrary to Schnabel’s, is not to count rests, but to let the tension of the performance give you the right waiting time.

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Once, when trying to explain what was so great about Furtwängler as an interpreter, I said that he had the power of divination.  That is precisely what it takes to realize Beethoven in all his depths and grandeur.
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Speaking of textual fidelity, we come to the matter of rearranging passages to make it easier for the performer.   For me, that is like the red cape to the bull. I do not say this out of pedantry, but because when you play a passage written for one hand with two hands it sounds different. If Beethoven wanted a passage to sound as if played with alternating hands he would have written it that way.  To simplify is, in another sense, also a very fundamental mistake, because the difficulty written in has an expressive purpose. Beethoven meant it that way. He wants things at certain points to sound difficult.   Otherwise there is no point of conflict and contention, a major psychological point in Beethoven interpretation.
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Another important question is the matter of metronome indications. We know from all actual accounts of Beethoven’s own playing, accounts by first-hand witnesses such as Czerny and Schindler, that Beethoven was one of the freest, most expressive interpreters of his own works.  Even if we did not have the music itself to make this as clear as day, we know from everything that Beethoven wrote and said that his sonatas were essentially dramatic works.  They say something at every point and, therefore, they have to be performed as if the performer were experiencing the drama himself.  The metronome markings consequently are to be taken only as an indication of the general tempo and character of a movement, but not of its entire inner life.
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Beethoven himself agreed to use the metronome only when he realised that his works might be better off with marking than without.  But we know that he showed great impatience with the new contraption and his own metronome indications; those which we have, need not always be taken literally.  In any case, there they are and I give them the most complete attention.  In my edition of the 32 sonatas for Peters in Frankfurt, I have listed the few original Beethoven metronome markings that we have, all of Czerny’s (but from his first edition, not the second), as well as my own. But the most important thing about metronome indications is to remember never to perform metronomically.   Metronomic playing means atrophy and death. Nothing that lives can be done metronomically.
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As for fast and inexpressive playing, that was a problem in the past (as we know from Mozart’s letters) and it was a problem in Beethoven’s time, as it is in ours.
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Then, I am often asked about the question of repeats.  When does one play or not play repeats in Beethoven?  The answer is simple: one always plays repeats in Beethoven.  From the very first sonata Beethoven was so eigenwillig, so self-willed, that he would not have put a repeat sign just to conform to the conventions of the time. He uses repeats always to strengthen and enhance the structure of a work.  With Beethoven, the sonata form, with its built-in dramatic structure, became the most total means of deepest personal expression.   Therefore, every repeat has its own meaning and importance.
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xxx
When it comes to dynamics, here too Beethoven used them to the full power of their dramatic effect. Sforzati are always to be played relative to the prevailing dynamics of the passage. Where the passage is loud, the sforzati often have to be overwhelming.   Where soft, the sforzati may come in like simple accents or be coloured to suit the prevailing character of the music.
.
xxx
When it comes to ornamentation, we already know that in the late sonatas Beethoven begins to use trills as an expressive means. In the same sense must be considered the cantabile character of his turns and grace notes.  The evolution of ornamentation from sheer decoration into lines of the most poignant expression, which began with Mozart, is seen at its highest development in Beethoven and continues into Chopin and Liszt.
.
xxx
When it comes to rhythm, we know that Beethoven could be inexorable in his rhythmic drive (by means of rhythmic patterns of simple but tremendous impact), as he is so overwhelmingly in the last movements of the Fifth Symphony, the “Waldstein”, the “Appassionata”, and the “Moonlight”. But Beethoven also has irregular rhythmic patterns, against the grain as it were, and those must be played accordingly, as if “in spite of”.
.
xxx
According to Schindler, Beethoven approved of the use of images to help explain the meaning of his music. I believe in doing the same, but based strictly on the character of the music involved.  In the great D minor Sonata, Op.31 No.2, for example, Schindler tells us that in the third movement Beethoven was inspired by the sound of galloping horses on the cobblestones outside.  To me, it sounds like one of those simplistic answers that Beethoven sometimes gave Schindler when he was annoyed with some of his very commonplace questions.  For the last movement of the sonata to remain in character with the preceding movements, the rocking motion that Beethoven writes doesn’t sound to me like galloping horses at all, but like a spectral motion of ghostly shadows receding and advancing out of the dark of Hades.
.
xxx
When Beethoven said “I write notes out of necessity”, he made it quite clear from what depths his music arose.  It therefore takes great power of empathy to understand his music. Beethoven interpretation, it is of the utmost importance to open one’s self up to the intuitive forces of one’s own being, to the unconscious as much as to the conscious, to relinquish the fear of committing oneself emotionally, to accept the agony of feeling which is in Beethoven – in order to be able to reveal the essence of Beethoven.
.

.


§

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Beethoven, the Mighty 32 and the Diabelli Variations,
by Claudio Arrau.
Published by the Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Centre, New York, 1962.


xxxTHE MIGHTY 32 Piano Sonatas, constituting a veritable Bible of the Keybord, form a great arch which spans and encompasses Beethoven's life, from young manhood and hopeful beginnings, to full manhood and heroic struggle and victory, to completion, fulfillment and transcendent immortality.

xxxFrom the very first sonatas of Op. 2 dedicated to Haydn, Beethoven, at 25, already reveals the bigness of mind at work and the grand scope of design.  Only a year later, in the utterly lonely slow movement of Op. 7, we hear, as if from afar, the intimation of the slow movement of Op. 106, mirroring even then, the Beethoven to come and all the tragic and terrifying slow movements to be torn out of his soul.  Here, crying out in anguish, he begins the long look into the abyss.  In the Largo of Op. 10 No. 3, the sublimity and the gravity of the Hammerklavier are foretold again. 

xxxBy the time we come to the mid-point of the sonatas, numbers 16, 17 and 18  - the Opus 31s -  Beethoven, after a period of experimentation with the sonata form (Op. 27 Nos. 1 and 2) and a respite (Op. 28), returns with renewed energy and power to give us these masterpieces which are destined to lead directly to the Everest peaks of the Waldstein and the Appassionata.  Even were we without our present day knowledge of the period of these works  - 1801/1802 -  the period of the confrontation with his deafness and the Heilingenstadt Testament (that amazing document of symbolic death and resurrection) we still would know from  the internal evidence that some terrible struggle had taken place and Beethoven had come out the victor, as he did so fantastically and courageously in all his struggles throughout his life.

xxxWhen Beethoven  wasn't writing sonatas in threes, he was writing them in pairs, as the titanic pair of Op. 53 and Op.57, which represent the composer at the climatic point of his middle period.  The Waldstein, composed at the same time as the Eroica Symphony, is not a work of struggle, but of rebirth.  It is a work of the burgeoning of things, of growth, of germinating nature, of the onrush of Spring.  The sonata of struggle is the Appassionata.  In all of music, there is no more heroic spiritual battle waged than in the pages of Op. 57.  In it, as the culture hero he was, Beethoven fights the psychological fight of death and renewal.  If he lost, he would perish:  if he won, he would go on to still greater heights of achievement.  He did just what he himself had written earlier:  "I will seize fate by the throat".  After the Appassionata, both musically and spiritually Beethoven had crossed the Rubicon.

xxxWith Op. 101, which took some three years in the making, Beethoven finally fulfills what he began long before in the Op. 27s  -  the quasi fantasia sonata in interlocked movements, with the sonata form movement at the end instead of the beginning.  He also comes up with the essence of his third period  - sublime inwardness and heroic rebirth -  and, as in Op. 53 and also in Op. 90, goes back to his idyllic flowing out to nature, to the sources and well-springs of life, as he always does before a coming onslaught  -  in this case, the Grosse Sonate Op. 106, the second of the grand pair inscribed as "für das Hammerklavier".

xxxIn Op. 106, Beethoven wanted to create a sonata of such gigantic form and power, that the very force of it makes the work literally to breack under his fingers at the very start.  He begins with three times the intensity of the Appassionata and the Fifth Symphony.  Was he attempting to duplicate his old struggles and to crown his work with still another overwhelming outpouring?  But he finds that it is now all behind him.  Instead, he writes the monumental Adagio, which alone lasting over 20 minutes, constitutes the apogee of profundity in music.  It is as if all the tragic, frofound slow movement had been put into one alchemical cauldron  - as they had of course in Beethoven's mind and soul -  and welded in the red-hot flames into this lacerating distillation of pain and sorrow.

xxx On completing his last three sonatas,  Op. 109, 110 and 111, Beethoven still was able to write to his publisher that "the piano-forte is, after all, an unsatisfactory instrument".  Considering the works that were to occupy the remaining five years of his life  - the Ninth Symphony, the Missa Solemnis and the last five String Quartets, it is an understandable conclusion.  It is a conclusion which helps us to understand the enigmatic character of these three sonatas.  In them, Beethoven attempted to capture the uncapturable  -  to name the unnameable.  He wanted in them, or through them, to be given, and therefore to give, nothing less than the answer to the meaning of life.  In Op. 109, and 110, he strains at the walls that enclose him; he breaks up old forms and discovers new ones, and finally, at the end of Op. 111, illumination comes.  When he reached the end of the Arietta movement, with its ethereal trills, like the very opening of the heavens, he must have felt truly like Jonah coming out of the whale - man's oldest symbolic tale of the journey from darkness to light, from death to life, from mortality to resurrection and rebirth.  When he had completed that movement, there was no need to write a third movement.  The Sonata was cmplete: he had said everything.

xxx With THE DIABELLI VARIATIONS, Beethoven may be said to have begun a fourth style.  After the transfiguration of Op. 111, he was ready to disport himself as a creator (the fulfillment and glory of the Ninth Symphony came into being at the same time) with a freedom, abandon, wit, fancy and bite completely new.  Having reached godhead, he chooses to amuse himself on the level of a god.  He is Jupiter throwing thunderbolts.

xxx Challenged probably by the very primitiveness of the waltz presented by the presumptious Diabelli, Beethoven went on to show what only he could do and created a monumental edifice of the variation form never before imagined by man.  Before Beethoven, variations meant merely garlands around a theme.  With him, variations became true Veränderungen  - transformations -, the myriad ways in which a single idea could be given shape.  And with the Diabelli, far from having exhausted the possibilities of the piano, as himself had thought only a year before, he, on the contrary, enters a new world.  He is in complete state of rollicking euphoria and ready to explore still new corners.  In the very first variation, a march, he throws out his challenge.  To whom?  The world, no doubt.  But then, after all the endless marvelous wit and invention, after the galloping wild Presto of No. 19, comes the Andante, No.20.  It is a dirge: one of the most enigmatic passages Beethoven wrote, a mystery beyond the limit of the known world.  The great Largo, No.31, recalls the longing of the slow movement of Op. 106, and then in No.33, as at the end of Op. 111, there is a leave taking  -  from on high and without pain.

xxx Claudio Arrau.

xxx

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§

.
x
On Mozart's Sonatas

x

x
On the occassion of the All-Mozart recital Maestro Claudio Arrau performed
at the Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Center, NY, on Wednesday 4th March 1964,
he wrote the programme notes below.
A brief appreciation by Arrau of the tragic character of Mozart's compositions was also included with the notes.

x


.
Notes on the Programme, by Claudio Arrau

Sonata in G major, K.283 (Salzburg, 1974)
Allegro. Andante. Presto.

xxxThis is the fifth of the six piano sonatas Mozart wrote between the summer of 1774 and the beginning of 1775, five in Salzburg and the sixth in Munich. He played them all frequently, the great ones as well as the weaker ones, on his grand tour to Mannheim and Paris in the years 1777-8.

xxxIn these works, written in his 19th year, Mozart is not yet Mozart completely. But even as he is looking for himself, in the midst of what must have been his most admired
models then - Michael Haydn and Johann Christian Bach, the essence of his individuality and genius shines out from the surrounding conventional gallantry of the time.

xxxThe opening Allegro is typical of one of his early gallant movements, but already transformed by spontaneity, charm and personality, thus immediately divorcing itself from the realm of convention. This is even true of the Andante, where the material as well as the treatment transcend the ordinary. But it is the concluding Presto which has the mark of genius. This is no mere gay ending piece; it is a gaiety just on that much higher a plane, in that much of rarer sphere which will lead him directly to the great group of seven sonatas which followed.


Sonata in A minor, K.310
(Paris, between March 14 and June 12, 1778)
Allegro maestoso. Andante cantabile con espressione. Presto.

xxxMozart's second group of seven piano sonatas written for his own performance, two in Mannheim and five in Paris, belongs to the period of the most important musical journey of his life, the journey that turned an exuberant youth into a man, and reconciled a fun-loving boy to the tragic human condition.

xxxOn this journey to Munich, Mannheim and Paris as a virtuoso pianist and composer, he experienced the joy of becoming acquainted with the glorious "din and sound" of the Mannheim orchestra, the new Stein piano with true escape action which allowed rapid repetition of notes without any after-jangling, and the joy of first serious love and the despair of rejection, and finally, as if in climax, the failure of his trip to Paris and the death and burial of his mother on foreign soil.  He returned to hated Salzburg empty-handed materially, but creatively matured enough to go on to the fulfillment of Idomeneo in 1781.

xxxIn one of his letters to his father on this fateful journey, Mozart wrote: "I then played all of a sudden a magnificent sonata in C, out of my head, with a rondo at the end - full of din and sound".  He is referring to the great sonata K.309, which just precedes K.310, and though also composed in the enriching freedom of the new din and sound, is a work of an opposite mood, as Einstein says, "full of unrelieved darkness".

xxxThis sonata is not only unique for the period (Wyzewa and Saint-Foix voice astonishment that a work of this order could appear almost without warning, as it were), but is unique in all of Mozart. It is a great tragic sonata, as the G minor Symphony is tragic and as Don Giovanni is tragic. But it is also something more. Here tragedy is set face to face with youthful rebellion at fate, and as if in a crisis of turbulence and fever, Mozart throws all to the winds, galanterie and learned alike, and comes up with something new and amazing even for him - the height of human passion and despair caught in art.

xxxIt is a grand, romantic sonata in every sense, the very musical counterpart of Sturm und Drang years before the Appassionata and Waldstein sonatas. Suffering is heard in the very beginning of the first movement and, for the first time, there is no real second theme, only a sort of side figuration as if the stream of wild passion cannot be halted for the expected demands of form. In the development section, this flaming upsurge is expressed in the sudden changes of fortissimos and pianissimos, which the German scholar Abert refers to as "sudden flashes of lightning illuminating for a moment the blackness of night". In the middle section of the slow movement there are rougher dissonances than almost anywhere else in Mozart; and the Presto, with its dramatic leaps and use of thirds low in the bass and its wild outcries, is more demonic and intense than anything else he ever wrote for the piano.


Fantaisie and Sonata in C minor, K.475 & K.457

(Vienna, May 20, 1785 and October 4, 1784)
Sonata: Allegro. Adagio. Molto allegro.

xxxMozart himself ordered the printing of the C minor Fantaisie, dated Vienna, May 20, 1785, to go together with his C minor Sonata, composed in the fall of the previous year and dated October 4, 1784. They were published with the following inscription: "Fantaisie et Sonate pour le forte-piano composées pour madame Therese de Tattnern par le Maitre de chapelle W.A. Mozart, oeuvre XL¨. Apart from the musical reasons, now as clear as day, this ordering of the two works gives us an insight into the emotional and spiritual state of his life at the time. Just as the Sonata in A minor, K.310, represents a crisis in his life, so do this Fantaisie and Sonata. But this is a mature man's grappling with fate and despair. The work has been described by scholars as the beginning of Beethovenism before Beethoven. But Beethoven is another matter. In Beethoven's middle period, the end always brings relief and an upsurge of affirmation and victory. Here there is no victory, only utter desolation, at the end as well as the beginning.

xxxWe do not know what relationship Mozart had with his gifted pupil Therese von Trattner, but we do know that he sent her a letter with instructions for performance. Unfortunately, it was lost or destroyed, as were all her letters to Mozart, by his widow, who explained later that "they had no value to music".

xxxThe Fantaisie may have been composed in one day actually, so great is the feeling of urgency of its almost improvisational flow and intensity. It is like a fantastic, tragic little opera; a world concentrated in five tiny scenes.

xxxThe Sonata itself is a milestone in Mozart's work. Abert describes the coda of the opening Allegro as "a curtain slowly descending at the end of a tragedy". The whole work is a tragedy, and the Fantaisie is only a reemphasis of the earlier message, "a gigantic entrance arch", as Wyzewa and Saint-Foix put it; and as we can see from the concluding movement of the Sonata, links have been forged from it to make one the bone of the other. In this last movement, Mozart has the melody line in the right hand go right down to the end of the bass, as if in a descent into the abyss. He does the same thing four times in the first movement, twice in the second, and repeats it three times in the Fantaisie. It cannot be otherwise than symbolic.


Sonata in B flat major, K.570 (Vienna, February, 1789)
Allegro. Adagio. Allegretto.

xxxToward the end of his life, Mozart went through the phase of his creative world which is characterized by a paring down, a concentration, a leanness and bareness reaching out to the essence of things. This is nowhere so much and so consistently in evidence as in the solo piano music of his last years, all as if pervaded by a premonition of death. Especially is this true of the heartbreakingly moving Adagio, K.540, which lasts 16 minutes and is a whole sorrowful world in itself;  the great Rondo, K.511, as personal a document of suffering as was ever composed; and the Minuet, K.355, which is like a courtly procession rising from the grave.

xxxIn the last two great piano sonatas, K.570 and K.576, and the very last work he wrote for the piano, the Variations, K.613, Mozart strips his pianistic fabric to almost bare, naked outlines and, unlike Beethoven's last works, are not a transcendence into an other-world, but a last plunge into the aching roots of being in this world.

xxxEinstein calls K.570. "the most completely rounded of them all, the ideal of the piano sonata".

xxxAlthough a bow to convention is made, the beautiful opening Allegro is no mere bright spirited beginning, because the strange two-bar G minor modulation suddenly brings in a mood no conventional first movement ever had. A spirit of resignation, of an abstract remoteness, creeps in amid the lovely figurations.

xxxIn the Adagio, in E flat major, Mozart can let go as his heart dictates; the lonely farewell begins. The mood is not so much sad as thoughtful until the cry of anguish breaks forth with the very strange, wailing-like C minor episode. It is another Mozart sublime slow movement with an added cry from the depths.

xxxIn the concluding Allegretto, he returns to the humorous gaiety of his youth, but with an added mischievousness that is almost a caricature, as in the second middle section with its grotesqueness in the bass as a parody of the treble which is like an opera buffa scene between a mythical Osmin and his lady.


Sonata in D major, K.576 (Vienna, July, 1789)
Allegro. Adagio. Allegretto.

xxxMozart had planned to write six "easy piano sonatas" for Princess Friederike, eldest daughter of the King of Prussia, but succeeded in composing only the one in D major. As Einstein points out, "it is anything but easy, being in fact conspicuously contrapuntal, full of duet-like oppositions that recall Johann Sebastian..."

xxxMozart begins with a spirited first movement, as if he were really writing for a princess. More in the expected genre, it is both brilliant and beautiful. But the slow movement, one of his great wonders of sublime expression, brings him back to himself. All thoughts of princesses are forgotten and once more he finds a way to say what he has said so often before - the longing of the human heart, the anguish of life, the despair of death. Each time, because his feelings were so real, so close to the core, he could come up with a magical creation, because, with him, feeling and creation were one. In the finale, with the same, infallible taste, he once more finds just the right end movement to go with what went before.

xxxC.A.

.
Understanding Mozart in the Twentieth Century

.
xxxIn the minds of nearly everyone today, Mozart's greatness is associated solely with classical perfection, and perfection of that order, as we have all come to think, cannot be quite human. And that of course is the source of most of the trouble when it comes to the performance of his music, from a piano sonata to the mounting of the great operas.

xxxIt is incredible that even after more than a hundred and fifty years of research, of accumulated knowledge, and after such books as Hermann Abert's revision of the Otto Jahn biography (1923-24), the Anderson Letters of Mozart and his Family, in English (1938), the Wyzewa and Saint-Foix biography in five volumes, in French (1912-46), the Einstein Mozart, his Character and Work (1945), and for special scholars such books as the obscure biography by the Russian Alexandre Ulibichev, first printed in 1843 and which must have had a considerable influence on the feeling for Mozart of Tchaikovsky and Anton Rubinstein (how well I remember my own teacher telling me that Rubinstein's performance of the A minor Rondo, K.511, would bring tears to the eyes) and C.M. Girdlestone's book on the Piano Concertos, in French (1939), not to mention everything we have come to know about the 18th century (the age of revolution and upheaval), there are still so many who persist in viewing Mozart as essentially gay, light and charming.

xxxAnd how many the performers who still take the bland view even with the dramatic and tragic staring out at them from the printed page, or worse, those who dig into him, even into his glaringly open wounds, with the precision and brutality of a mechanical drill. I have always felt, as if by some great and horrible cosmic joke, that everything Mozart hated in the performers of his day (mechanicus he called them) has been visited back on him in the playing of his own music, with the exception of possibly a handful of perceptive artists in any given period since.

xxxIf German scholarship helped in the understanding of Mozart as a tragic composer, it also was responsible for many of the cute notions about him as well, especially the famous pairing of Mozart with Raphael as the supreme in creation of the sublime and pure, which had such prevalence in the second half of the 19th century and which even influenced such a great musician as Busoni to say: "He stands so high that he sees further than all, and therefore sees everything on rather a small scale" (Shades of Don Giovanni!).

xxxTo me, Mozart's greatness stems precisely from the fact that he was so utterly human, in the sense of being complete as a human.  He was all of a piece as if divinely endowed.  In him there waged no conflicts or struggle for expression.  With him, expression was the outcome of his whole being. He was at one with heaven and earth, and that unity, coupled with genius, makes for the uniqueness of Mozart.  Beethoven is felt to be "more human" (as one hears expressed even in the most informed circles to this day), because in him the human struggle is so plainly etched into his musical fabric.  But the human condition is even more poignant in Mozart, precisely because suffering and tragedy are made to walk hand and hand, as it were, with the conventional expression of his time - rococo convention.

xxxIf it were not for the fact that Mozart fulfilled himself so completely as a creator, one might also say that he is the most tragic of the great composers, because with him tragedy was a part of the reality of his being and of his acceptance of life and therefore of death.  In Mozart there is no solution to tragedy, unlike Beethoven who always transcends his struggles through victory and affirmation.  In a work like the great Fantaisie and Sonata K.475, 457, described by scholars as "Beethovenism before Beethoven", there is no victory in sight, only sadness and desolation at the end as well as the beginning.

xxxClaudio Arrau

END
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§

 
Claudio Arrau on Mozart
Claudio Arrau contributed the following thoughts towards the
first LP release of Mozart's solo piano works recorded by Arrau
for Philips in 1973.  [LP 6500 782]

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xxx
Fantasy in C minor K.475 [Please see text above]
xxxSonata in C minor K.457  [Please see text above]
xxxFantasy in D minor K.397
xxxRondo in A minor K.511
.
xxx. . .
.
xxx"Mozart not only had the inner ideal of order of eighteenth-century classicism, but a knowledge of the anguish of the soul, which is timeless.  Beethoven is felt to be more human, because in him the human struggle is so plainly etched into the musical fabric.  But the human condition is even more poignant in Mozart, precisely because suffering and tragedy are tied to the conventional Rococo expression of his time.  How Mozart transcends this convention is the constant source of our owe and admiration.  The piano music reveals this transcendence as much as any of Mozart's large works.  From the first, he begins to fill in the conventional patterns of his time with his life's blood, as it were.

xxxToward the end of his life, he went through the strangest phase of his creative evolution, and nowhere is it so much in evidence as in the piano music of his last years, all pervaded as if by a premonition of death.  Especially is this true of the heartbreakingly moving Adagio, K.540, which lasts 16 minutes and is a whole sorrowful world in itself, and of the great Rondo, K.511, as personal a document of human suffering as was ever composed.  Mozart strips his pianistic fabric to bare, naked outlines, and, unlike Beethoven in his last piano works, does not transcend into a cosmic other-worldness, but takes a last plunge into the aching depths of being in this world.

xxxAnton Rubinstein, who often played the Rondo K.511 in his recitals, must have been one of the first to understand this tragic aspect of Mozart (as did the Russian writer Alexandre Ulibichev in his biography of Mozart, first printed in 1843).  According to my teacher Martin Krause (who studied with Reinecke and Liszt), Anton Rubinstein's performance of K.511 would always reduce his listeners to tears.

xxxAlthough the Fantasy in D minor is an earlier work, probably belonging to the earlier Vienna days according to Einstein, it is still closely related to the Rondo K.511.  It seems innocently naïve, but is not, because almost nothing in Mozart is ever without human depth or human pain".

xxxNotes by Claudio Arrau.

END.
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§

 
Claudio Arrau on
Brahms's Piano Sonata No.3 Op.5

Claudio Arrau en Chile, May 1984.
For Classical Music Video Productions, New York.

.
xxxBrahms's Piano Sonata No.3 Op.5

xxx
The more one gets to know this great sonata, the more astonishing it seems;  astonishing foremost for its originality and then astonishing for its creative force, passion and organic life.  Then, even more astonishing when one considers that it was written when Brahms was not quite twenty.
.
xxxSchumann, hearing the first two sonatas in 1852 when Brahms came to play them for him, had characterized them as "disguised symphonies".  So they are.  All three sonatas are orchestral in texture.  But it is No.3 which is truly symphonic in scope and design.  Indeed, the form is so unusual, whithout a trace of the academic about it, and the whole vision so new, that it remains a work apart in the whole Brahms' corpus.

xxxWhen Brahms returned to play the Sonata No.3 for Schumann in 1853 (according to Kalbeck, it was finished  under the very eyes of the older composer), it amazed Schumann with its formal power and richness of ideas.  He ran, calling to Clara to come quickly so that she could hear "something you have never heard before".

xxxIt is a work truly gigantic both in spirit and substance.  Fram the rhapsodic first movement, Allegro maestoso, to the sublime Andante espressivo slow movement, with its motto based on a poem by Sternau  - "The evening darkens, the moonlight gleams" -  to the third movement  Scherzo which leads into the tranfigured Intermezzo, with its famous Rückblick (glance backwards) (thus irrevocably upsetting any notion of classical sonata form), to the Finale (actually a fifth movement), this is a work in which, as Kalbeck first stated, "Brahms revealed, without restraint, the very depths of his heart".

xxxKalbeck says too that the Intermezzo is based on a second Sternau poem, wherein "The lover looks back in tears from the tomb of his happiness to the enchanted time when he embraced his beloved under the roses of Spring from dust to down".  Brahms himself is the lover, of course, and whoever the beloved, whether Clara or someone before her, the work is surely as much a monument to life and to love as it is to art.

xxxClaudio Arrau.

END.
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§

 
Claudio Arrau - Reflections at 85
Mozart-related excerpts from an article by Douglas Riva in
N.Y. 'Keyboard Classics' of September/October 1988, pages 5 and 6.

cc.
xxx. . . "I love to record", he says.  "Great works should be recorded.  But the main reason I choose to record certain pieces is that I feel close to the music.  Also it is important as a musician to leave a document of your ideas, the way you think".

xxxOnly a few weeks ago, the maestro returned to Switzerland where all of his recent recordings have been made.  There, in a wonderfull old concert hall overlooking the mountains, he finished his cycle of the complete Mozart Sonatas by recording the first three.  "It was a very rewarding experience", says Mr. Arrau.  "Previously I had recorded all the Sonatas with the exception of the first three. At the beginning I did not want to record these works, because I did not think that they had the importance of the rest of the Sonatas.  But, in the end, I changed my mind.  Although, certainly, they are youthful works and do not have the maturity that Mozart achieved in his later Sonatas, the first three Sonatas are of great interest because they show us how Mozart developed.  We can see the influence of Handel and Gluck in the first three Sonatas.  They have the pompous quality which we associate with Handel - especially the first and second Sonatas.  The first (K.279), which is seldom studied by students, might be compared to the famous C major Sonata (K.545), in that they are both teaching Sonatas. The second (K.280), however, is more interesting and the third (K.281) more still".

xxxMr. Arrau plays a modern Steinway piano for his recordings and performances.  "Modern instruments are improvements over the early pianos used during Mozart's lifetime", he explains.  "Why go back to an inferior instrument?  Yet, many pianists attempt to change their tone when they play Mozart in order to try to imitate the sound of an early piano. For Mr. Arrau this is "not right"...

xxx. . . "The idea which was so prevalent fifty years ago that one must play Mozart as if his music were cute or playful is wrong.  Mozart may have been a playful character, but his music is not always playful.  Remember not to follow conventions or convetional ideas because they can be completely wrong".

xxxIn order to understand Mozart, says Mr. Arrau, we must "never stop going to hear his operas.  They are marvelous, especially some of the ones that are not so often performed, such as Idomeneo and La demenza di Tito".  There is a strong relation between the Sonatas and some of Mozart's operas, he adds.  Certain sonatas might be said to resemble ensembles or arias found in the operas.  For example, "the first movement of the C minor Sonata (K.457) is really an operatic scene".

xxxAs pianists, he insists, we can learn from singers how "to express a melodic line" and how to ornament that line: "They must be melodic rather than decorative".

xxx"In order to play trills in Mozart, first one should read the treatises by Leopold Mozart and C.P.E. Bach.  Play trills with a rolling movement of the arm and do not limit the movement to the fingers only. A trill is not to be played with only an up and down movement of the fingers".

xxxHe issues similar warnings about Alberti Bass.  "Although it is certainly not superfluous, if too much is made out of it, it can become pompous".

xxx"My interpretation is of course based on a precise study of the time and of the historical and artistic background in which the work involved was written", reflects the pianist, whose chief concern is to realize each composer's true intentions.  For Mozart Mr. Arrau formerly used the Broder edition published by Presser, but now he uses the Henle edition.  "I understand that Henle is continuing research on Mozart's works in order to resolve the difficult problem of preparing an edition of Mozart's works which shows what the composer really wanted.  But, of course, not everything is notated even in the most accurate editions.  For example, if the phrasing or dynamics are not indicated, you are free to trust your own musical intuition.  It is a personal and individual choice.  But a rule must be that if Beethoven writes FF you can't play PP ".

xxx. . . tempo is also a personal and individual choice.  However, ". . . in choosing a tempo we must always remember that a Mozart Allegretto is different from a Beethoven Allegretto, and that the same indication in Mendelssohn means yet another tempo.  I cannot imagine", relates the maestro, "that the extremely fast tempos which many pianists take nowadays reflect the way paople in the period of Mozart experienced time.  This tendency towards fast tempos is partially caused by the living tempo of our time".

xxxAnother aspect of Mozart performance, according to Arrau, might surprise many students.  "In Mozart the bar lines are not as important as many people think they are", he claims.  "You should try to be absolutely free in phrasing and attempt to sing on the piano.  It might be a good idea to get rid of the bar lines in order to avoid the horrible sticking to them".

xxx. . .

END.
x

 

§

 
The Modest Master - Claudio Arrau at 65
by Neville Cardus, The Age, Melbourne, 13th August 1968

cc.
xxxxCLAUDIO ARRAU, appearing in a Melbourne season, is the complete pianist.

xxxxHe can revel in the keyboard for his own pianistic sake, presenting to us the instrument's range, its power to mingle song, percussion, depth of harmony and rhythmic fluency; but also he can go beyond piano playing, taking us into the world of music, into the mind of a composer, so searchingly that we are free to forget his great technical scope: we take it for granted, as we are led, by his art, to the secret chambers of creative imagination.

xxxxArrau is Latin by birth and blood: also he absorbed a culture essentially European and German so that it may be said that he succeeds to the line of the incomparable Busoni, who marvellously achieved a Latin (or Italian) and German cultural synthesis.

xxxxArrau, in his formative years, listened to and learned much from Busoni - which provides us with a clue enabling us to understand the basis from which his own individual art has developed.

xxxxNo living pianist surpasses Arrau's comprehensive style: flexible enough to accommodate musical extremes, from Chopin to Bach, Schumann to Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms to Liszt.

xxxxHis fingers are as "pianistic" as the fingers of Horowitz or of Rubinstein: but the fingers of Arrau seem always to have brains in them. Never is he the keyboard virtuoso delighting in piano playing as such: most times he is the medium through which Beethoven is speaking.

xxxxHe has shared Schnabel's secret: he will hold us breathless through a slow movement, giving to the notes, especially to isolated notes, the articulation almost of human speech. The touch of his fingers, the accentuation, while consistently musical, take on the significance of profound thought processes.

xxxxMusic for Arrau is an experience involving physical, instrumental and intellectual activity, the whole man that is Arrau plays. He cannot be trivial or merely ornamental. But this is not to say that he is without lightness of poise, wit and sportiveness. As a man, Arrau is one of the wittiest, youngest and most engaginly humorous I have ever had the good luck to know.

xxxxHear him playing the closing movement of the Second Piano Concerto of Brahms and, surely, you will become aware of the capacity for playfulness possessed by this intensely serious artist. So harmoniously has he blended, in his technique and style, classical and romantic elements that it is as difficult to distinguish where the classicism merges into romanticism, as it indeed is difficult to make the same distinctions in the ripest compositions of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

xxxxEvery artist worth while goes through expanding periods of evolution, shedding skins, discovering fresh antennae. Years ago, I heard Arrau play Chopin to perfection, as I thought, at an Edinburgh Music Festival. His every note was a pure pearl of tone and execution. Any one of them could have been put on to a plush tray and given as a present to any other living pianist. Any falling phrase of ornamentation could have been caught in the air and made into a rope of pearls to grace the neck of any other living pianist's wife.

xxxxArrau's Chopin interpretations demonstrate that, in the playing of this composer, accentuation applied from the outside or from above, so to say, is unnecessary, because the melodic flight and flow carries its own natural, unforced accentuation.

xxxxArrau gives us a masculine Chopin, forgetting the old 19th century notion of a femenine, salon Chopin. The truth is that Chopin was the keenest-lined, yet the most poignant of all composers who have written specifically for the piano. Sentimentality is recognised in music by heaviness and weakness of phrase. And there is no haviness or weakness of phrase in Chopin, certainly not the way Arrau plays Chopin.

xxxxI recall a later Chopin recital by Arrau, also at Edinburgh: and here I shall try to describe it in the words that came to me, un-called for, at the time the performace stimulated my mind and all my musical senses.

xxxxArrau enlarged the stature, as it is commonly presented, of the preludes. The centre of interest in these wonderful pieces is not, as generally supposed it is, in the melodic and rythmical constituents, but in the harmonic textures and fundamentals, the part-writing, the polyphony. (Bear in mind, Chopin was an avid admirer of Bach).

xxxxAs this Arrau recital of Chopin proceeded, layer and layer of the music's content was revealed. With the "molto agitato" of the F sharp minor prelude, the figuration of the plunging notes had an extraordinary clearness and strength; the structure of the piece had seldom, in my experience of it, been so finely gripped. It sounded almost prophetic of Bartok.

xxxxArrau's interpretation of the A flat Ballade rejuvenated the work in a quite startingly revelatory way: he restored and rescued it from prettiness, from salon langour and perfumery. He made it sound noble, a true Ballade, with tragic hints and all the lyric urge.

xxxxI do not know that I could have enjoyed Arrau's Chopin playing when I was a young man under the sway of Pachmann, and eager to have my senses wooed. Arrau today plays Chopin as a full, rounded man: indeed, I can see no future for Chopin unless generations of today and tomorrow are not made to realise that Chopin was compounded of sterner stuff than was ever admitted in the fashionable atmosphere of Paris - an atmosphere in which Chopin wasn't born, or in any way nurtured.

xxxxIt is when Arrau plays in the E flat concerto (The Emperor) of Beethoven that we can realise how deeply Busoni contributed to the early development of him; indeed, the Busoni lofty mindedness has constantly inspired Arrau.

xxxxOf all pianists today none surpasses Arrau's treatment of the great octave passages of the opening movement. He controls the dynamic energy superbly, imaginatively as well as thoughtfully calculating the diminuendo and pianissimo shadings, so that we are touched by a sense of awe at those fallings-away and vanishings of sound which are symbols of Beethoven's spiritual manifestations and presence.

xxxxHis interpretation of the D minor concerto of Brahms reveals the style of Arrau which is the man of the present day: the penetrating thinker, the man of sensitive reactions, and the Arrau that, with all his maturing years, remains young at heart and, in Doctor Johnson's words, enjoys a "frisk".

xxxxArrau has given a lifetime of dedication to devoted searchings, to hard labour. He arrived one day in London by air. At once he said he must practise. "Surely", I protested, "You can have dinner with me tonight?" "But", he remonstrated, "I play the Liszt sonata tomorrow, and I must practise". "But", I persisted, "You've played the Liszt sonata umpteen times". "Maybe", argued Arrau, "but it is difficult".  Always the perfectionist, always the modest master.

END.
x

 

§

On Schubert's work
Thoughts on Schubert's work by Claudio Arrau, written and copyrighted
in 1980 on the occasion of his Schubert recordings for Philips.


            Schubert, like Mozart, began with an inbred sense of the tragedy of life. It pursued him to the end with inexorable momentum, from the aching sadness and disquiet of "Gretchen am Spinnrade" to the String Quintet in C, composed in his last year, the agony mounts to the heartbreaking cries of the quintet's slow movement. Nothing, either in late Beethoven or late Mozart, or even later in Mahler and Bruckner, approaches that terrible existential cry of agony. In the quintet, in the last five songs of "Die schöne Müllerin", in "Die Winterreise", and in the last three piano sonatas, Schubert writes out of the very depth of suffering.

            The last three piano sonatas, D. 958-960, like the String Quintet, were all written in the deepest despair and the fear and longing for death - in fact, in the very proximity of death, for although they were probably written months before he died (Deutsch records that Schubert played them to friends during his last year), they are pervaded throughout with premonitions of the grave.

            All three sonatas, early in the century as they come, are as far removed from Classical structure and idiom as could possibly be. Yet they have something to do with late Beethoven. Beethoven, in his last sonatas, reaches cosmic heights of reconciliation and transcendence. Schubert's last sonatas, on the other hand, are full of personal anguish, anger, dread, tenderness, yearning, sorrow for his unlived life - all the terribilata of romantic striving, pointing to the new music to come. Here and there, however, Schubert can still be transcendent, even metaphysical, as in the first movement of the B flat Sonata and the other-world development section of the first movement of the C minor Sonata, with their sounds from out of the grave.

            The C minor Sonata [D.958] has been said to resemble Beethoven because of the brusque introduction of the opening Allegro. Not really. It does open with a great show of energy, but I see the whole movement mainly as dark, menacing, threatening. From bar 21, the agitatissimo begins and almost never relents - from the secondary theme in E flat, so sad and yet hopeful, to the anxiety and dread of the development, so uncanny, sinister, irrevocable, to the agitato close.

            The Adagio slow movement in A flat, cantabile, is a movement pressed out of the soul. Yet it follows the Classical form of ABABA, with the opening theme a sort of chorale followed by the stormy, sombre, and threatening B section, full of sforzandi, sadden break-offs, and collapse to the very full-voiced committed conclusion.

            The short Menuetto third movement could be called a danse macabre. Nothing is contrived, however. The trio in A flat is elegiac, resigned.

            The Allegro finale, far from being the tarantella it is often made out to be, is a ghost dance rhythm full of sadness, restlessness, anxiety. It is a movement more like the last movement of the Beethoven "Tempest" Sonata Op.31 No.2 - not a gallop, but dark, mysterious, rising out of the illusory mist. The ghost dance returns over and over as if Schubert wanted to impress its terrible inevitability on the mind, until the agitatissimo becomes unreal and crumbles away into collapse.

            In the B flat major Sonata [D.960], his farewell work for the piano and the last important work he wrote before his death, Schubert fulfilled himself as a composer of the piano sonata - the piano sonata as a song of expanding continuity, his own unique contribution to the development of the sonata form.

            The constant complaint against the Schubert piano sonatas for as long as I can remember, from sources both high and low, has been that while his ideas are beautiful, his structure makes little sense. On the contrary, it makes very great sense. Schubert knew just what he was after, even when his genius led him on and on, and in this sonata (perhaps because Beethoven was dead and he himself approaching the end) he was freed finally to write the kind of piano sonata that was completely his own.

            Here, unlike the C minor (the first of the three great sonatas of 1828), Schubert no longer tries to be Beethovenian. He is content to write a first movement that expands a song into a great sonata movement, one which doesn't need a contrasting dramatic development, or rather doesn't use it in the time-honoured way.

            The B flat Sonata is a work written in the proximity of death. One feels this from the very first theme of seven bars in the dominant, the breaking off and the silence after a long, mysterious trill in the bass. We hear the trill again and the silence, and then a restatement of the main theme forte before coming to the second subject in F sharp minor, which is unconventional indeed. Before returning to the dominant F major cadence which closes the exposition, it roams through a range of tonality which is virtually revolutionary for the period. The development begins in C sharp minor, using elements of the three main ideas of the exposition and reaches a tragic climax in D minor and then softly returns to the mysterious trill in the bass, and the main theme in B flat.

            The Andante in C sharp minor is one of the greatest movements of solitude and loneliness in music I know. In the opening bars of utter desolation, the proximity of death is almost palpable. In the contrasting A major episode, there is a sudden lightening of mood as if at an attempt to return to the living. The recapitulation in C sharp minor moves into an ecstatic coda in C sharp major. The scherzo in B flat makes only an attempt at gaiety. It is in Ländler rythm, true, but it is a Ländler welling up out of remembrance of the past. The trio in B flat minor brings in a still more melancholy mood.

            The concluding Allegro, built along the lines of a complete rondo-sonata form movement, opens with an octave in G introducing the theme which begins in C minor in agitation and anxiety and then moves down in resignation to B flat every time it appears. The second episode in F major leads, after a two-bar silence, to a sudden passionate outburst in F minor, fortissimo. There is a return to the opening theme which is developed in the most concentrated and fiery manner, thundering octaves and all.

            In the coda, the lone octave on G sinks down in semitones in the bass. The presto passages at the close are Schubert's way of saying that he too can make a positive conclusion in professional style no matter how far away he has led us.

            ©1980 Claudio Arrau.


.

§

Claudio Arrau on Liszt
Claudio Arrau wrote the following thoughts regarding particular works
of Franz Liszt. These were printed on some of his recital programmes.

..
>>> Sonata in B minor (in one movement), dedicated to Schumann.
xxx
xxxxLiszt not only paved the way for the music of Ravel, Debussy, and the Russians, but also begun, long before Wagner's Tristan, to disrupt the tonal hierarchy of current harmonic usage, and long before Brahms, to compose "integrally", on the basis of brief motive-nuclei. A straight path leads from Liszt's B minor Sonata to Alban Berg's Sonata Op.1, just as, spiritually, a straight path leads from Beethoven's Op.111 to this Sonata.

xxxxIt is true that Liszt only once achieved the compactness and the conciseness of form which gave the B minor Sonata a unique place in post-Beethoven nineteenth-century piano music.  In no other work of his is the virtuoso-pianistic impulse, which in places approaches the realm of demonic possession, so rigorously forced into the service of intellectual, logical, and disciplined composition as in this Sonata.  It was written in 1853 and dedicated to Robert Schumann, as a return gesture for the dedication of Robert Schumann's C major Fantasy to Liszt.

xxxxThe opening is tonally fairly indeterminate.  B minor is heard nowhere, and of the scales which descend slowly from G, one is a Phrygian and the other a Gipsy scale.  The suddenly erupting Allegro energico sets out two themes, the first built of double-octave cascades, the second, a hammering 'marcato'motive in the bass.  After an energetic working-out of these two ideas, into which the descending scales of the opening are also drawn, a third theme makes its entry 'grandioso', in broad, repeated chords.

xxxxAll this effectively comprises the thematic material of the whole Sonata.  All that follows goes back to this concise and significant structure.  The metamorphosis of the hammering bass motive into a lyrical 'subsidiary theme' - cantilena -  stands out as an example of Liszt's consummate transformation technique. 

xxxxIt is impossible to mention [here] in detail the inexhaustibly ingenious manipulaton and variation of the material.  Compelling logic and constructive fantasy contribute to the balanced, mature, and clear-cut impression of the whole.  It is significant that a large work is built up by means of variation, transformation, and development techniques, and no longer on the basis of key relationships or formal symmetries.  An Andante sostenuto passage in F-sharp, deriving from the basic material and, in character, lyrical homage to Schumann, leads into an 'adagio' middle section, which in turn is followed by an ingenious fugato (allegro energico) on the two first themes.  At the stretto climax, shortly before the close, come the famous double octaves prestissimo.   A calm Epilogue, re-introducing the 'Schumann theme', is finally heard above the descending scales, in a luminous B major.

xxxxI think of the Sonata as a great Faust tone poem, with Gretchen, Faust and Mephistopheles all playing out their archetypal roles of transcendance, redemption and negation. 

xxxxClaudio Arrau.
xxxxRoyal Festival Hall, London, Tuesday 8th June 1982.

xxxxAnd from Claudio Arrau's Afterword to the Facsimile Edition
xxxxof the Liszt Sonata, published by Henle Verlag, 1973:

xxxx"The artistic nobility and devotion with which the composer approached this work can be seen even from the outward appearance of the manuscript.  Apart from the corrected shorter passages which follow immediately upon crossed out sections, there are numerous pages with extensive revisions which Liszt probably made only when much of that which followed had already been written down.  In these cases he pasted newly drafted half pages or more over the original text.  Page 21 was completely deleted.  Liszt replaced it with a new enlarged section which comprises pages 21 and 21bis.  The sheet with the newly written pages was inserted by Liszt in fron of the obliterated  page 21 whose reverse side  (page 22) now seamlessly adjoins the preceding part. 

xxxxOf particular interest is the conclusion of the work.  Here Liszt made a revision which completely changed the expressive content of the section.  The originally planned bombastic conclusion of 25 measures rising to a threefold forte, was replaced by an ending 32 measures longer which gradually fades away to ppp.  A masterstroke."


>>> Après une lecture de Dante - Fantasia quasi sonata.

xxxxThe 'Dante' Sonata appears as the seventh piece in the second book of Liszt's Années de pèlerinage and the title is derived from a Victor Hugo poem.  The Hugo poem offers a standing temptation to construct programmatic parallels.  The temptation may safely be resisted.  It is quite enough  to recall that  if Liszt is the pianistic father of all who wrote lanscape music, the sombre scenery he chose to describe in the 'Dante' Sonata just happens to be interior and psychological.  The French romantics of the 1830s were specialists in dramatizing the torments of the divided self - particularly  the consuming inner warfare of noble natures torn betwen intellectual idealism and unbridled eroticism.  The prevailing literary temper of the day was therefore Faustian, the inner lanscapes Dantesque and the heroic public attitudes Byronic.  Much of this may be readily inferred from Liszt's  remarkable work, which increasingly engages renewed public interest as one of his important early masterpieces.  It is of the same family as Todtentanz and the Mephisto Waltz;  the writing is highly melodramatic, and the Paganini influence in its infernal aspect is much in evidence..

xxxxIt is true: key is the fact that Liszt and his contemporaries really did read Dante - by the hour and with tears.  After a long, emotional correspondence concerning love, separation, art, poetry and suicide (and while awaiting the birth of a daughter who would make history as Cosima Wagner), Liszt in 1837 lived with the Comtesse d'Agoult at Bellagio on Lake Como, and the early Liszt biographer Lina Ramann notes that "During the heat of the day they took refuge under the plantains surrounding the Villa-Melzi, and read the Divine Commedia at the feet of Cornelli's statue, 'Dante led by Beatrice'".

xxxxThere is a possible clue to dating the piece in a Liszt letter of 1839: "I will attempt a symphonic work based on Dante... say, in three years.  Meanwhile I will make... a Dantesque fragment".  The Symphony was not completed until 1856, but the sonata probably derives from the late 1830s and "the heat of the day" at the Villa Melzi.

xxxxClaudio Arrau.
xxxxRoyal Festival Hall, London, Tuesday 8th June 1982.
 

§

Claudio Arrau on Schumann's
Études symphoniques Op.13

Notes by Claudio Arrau to the Beethoven and Schumann programme
he performed at 'The Corn Exchange' Entertainment and Arts Centre
of Ipswick, Suffolk, UK, on 22nd May 1976.


Schumann's Études symphoniques Op.13
(études en forme de variations)
including five variations posthumes.

xxxxOne of Schumann's original titles for this work was Fantaisies and Finale.  [But] Etüden im Orchestercharakter von Eusebius und Florestan was Schumann's first title for the Symphonic Studies Op.13.  It has a two-fold significance, indicating the orchestral fullness of tone and colour which the piano writing seeks to achieve, and also the romantic duality of the "two souls in Schumann's breast", personified in the two names: Eusebius, the dreamer, and Florestan, the imopetuous romantic. 

xxxxOriginally Schumann wrote 17 variations, but when the work was published, he deleted five of them, probably on the advice of Clara (who always wanted him to "write more like Mendelssohn").  The five deleted ones  happen to be among Schumann's greatest inspirations, all pertaining to Eusebius.  Further changes were made in later editions. 

xxxxIn the collected edition of Schumann's works which was issued after his death, Brahms, the editor, fortunately rescued the five extra variations for posterity.

xxxxPianists didn't begin to include the five extra variations until Cortot came out with his edition in the 1920s.  He interpolated them into the body of the work, which is the only way to do it that makes any sense.  To play them as a separate entity is another story altogether.

xxxxMy interpolations differ from Cortot's and differ today from my 1972 recording on Philips Records.  This is an attempt to reconstruct Schumann's original inspiration.  It changes the entire character of the work.  Suddenly the work is no longer a mere virtuosic display piece, but a grand Variations work, almost as monumental in scope as the Diabelli Variations.

xxxxTheme   (Andante)
xxxxÉtude I   (Variation I - Un poco piu vivo)
xxxxVariation posthume I
xxxxÉtude II   (Variation II - Espressivo)
xxxxÉtude III   (Vivace)
xxxxÉtude IV   (Variation III - A la marche)
xxxxÉtude V   (Variation IV - Scherzando)
xxxxÉtude VI   (Variation V - Agitato con gran bravura)
xxxxVariation posthume II
xxxxÉtude VII   (Variation VI - Allegro molto)
xxxxVariation posthume III
xxxxVariation posthume IV
xxxxÉtude VIII   (Variation VII - Marcatissimo)
xxxxVariation posthume V
xxxxÉtude IX   (Presto possibile)
xxxxÉtude X   (Variation VIII - Con energia)
xxxxÉtude XI   (Variation IX - Con espressione)
xxxxÉtude XII   (Finale - Allegro brilliante on themes from the
xxxxxxxxxxxxx Opera Le Templier et la Juive by Marschner).
xxxx
xxxxC.A.
xxxx

 
.

.

—  Interviews  —

Claudio Arrau
Revista 'Caras y Caretas' de Buenos Aires en Alemania.
Entrevista a Claudio Arrau en Berlín por A.M. de Candia en marzo de 1921, publicada en la edición del 25 de junio de 1921, páginas 51 y 52.

N.B.: Brief diversions edited out for relevance. [.]


xxxLa colonia sudamericana en Berlín tiene el orgullo de contar entre sus miembros a un muchacho que hoy, a los 17 años, es ya más que una promesa:  es todo un talento.  Claudio Arrau es un chico chileno que enloquece al público de Berlín cada vez que en las calles de la gran capital aparecen letreros anunciando un nuevo concierto de Claudio.

xxxLos días en que Claudio da sus conciertos, la sala «Filarmonía» se llena hasta lo increíble, y cuando el chico virtuoso, con sus maneras de adolescente tímido, aparece en escena, las chicas de Berlín apluden y los músicos que van a escucharle sonríen satisfechos, gustando de antemano las deliciosas horas que les hará pasar el talentoso joven sudamericano.

xxxClaudio Arrau es un pianista de primera línea, que triunfa en el centro musical más refinado del mundo.  Triunfar en Berlín significa que se puede triunfar en cualquier parte donde se sepa apreciar la buena música.

xxxAnte tales triunfos otro artista se sentiría orgulloso y pocos tendrían la suficiente cordura de no envanecerse.  Claudio es modesto, amable y de fácil trato; en sus maneras hay cierta despreocupación y total ausencia de teatralidad.  Esto es raro en quien está acostumbrado a presentarse en público desde la escena.

xxxAtraído por su nombre, y accediendo a la invitación de un argentino, concurrí al último concierto de Claudio.  Confieso que fui prevenido.  Nunca me convencieron los prodigios y siempre desconfié de lo que se me ponderaba demasiado.  Con entera independencia de espíritu oí al muchacho: salí de la sala encantado.  Claudio es un ejecutante de talento; tiene una técnica perfecta y un sentimiento musical enorme.  Tiene fuerza y al mismo tiempo sabe emplear los medios tonos; arrebata y domina con efectos sorprendentes y hace soñar con acariciadoras cadencias. . .

xxxAl oírle me propuse visitar a Claudio, a fin de dar noticias a los lectores de 'Caras y Caretas' sobre este joven personaje del mundo musical de Alemania.

xxxMe fué sumamente fácil obtener una entrevista, pues al saber que se trataba de un argentino me hizo responder que me esperaba como a un compatriota.  Encantado ante tanta amabilidad concurrí a visitarle y fué grande y grata mi sorpresa al encontrarme con tres compatriotas: el doctor Julio Noé, director de la revista Nosotros, el pianista y dibujante Pizarro y el verboso y andariego Pedrito García.

xxxAl entrar en la casa del pianista me recibió la señora madre, una simpática mujer de 55 años, chilena de sangre y corazón, que me brindó tantas y tan bondadosas atenciones que me hicieron acordar de . . . [.]

xxxSin duda que en la casa todo denunciaba al artista.  En el salón un gran piano de cola, completamente abierto, ocupaba el centro de la habitación y parecía esperar al maestro. . .; en las paredes muchos retratos de músicos. . . Wagner, Liszt, Mozart. . . y la infaltable mascarilla de Beethoven; y en un rincón, colgadas de un gran clavo dorado, había coronas de laureles. . . recuerdos de los más calurosos triunfos de Claudio. . .

xxxDel gran salón fui conducido a un saloncito de estudio donde otro gran piano ocupaba casi la totalidad de la estancia.  Ahí había algo de artístico desorden.  Álbumes y libros estaban desparramados por mesas y sillas, y en las paredes colgaban más coronas y grandes lazos de cintas, muchas con los colores de casi todas las banderas sudamericanas: testimonio de que los representantes  de los diversos países de nuestra América habían cumplimentado al talentoso chileno.  Pude ver también que algunas cintas tenían estampadas las coronas y los nombres de personalidades de la desaparecida nobleza alemana.

xxxAl verme, Claudio se adelantó y me saludó como si fuésemos viejos amigos.  Claudio es encantador; tiene un modo suave que cautiva; su dormido mirar denuncia a un espíritu refinado y sensible; su sonrisa atrayente y sin malicia dice sana juventud. . .

xxxConversamos largo rato.  Estaba contento de recibir a argentinos y le llamaba la atención que en nuestro país pudiese interesar su persona.  Él mismo parece sorprendido de la popularidad que tiene.

xxx— Conozco 'Caras y Caretas', me dijo, porque la he leído en casa de argentinos amigos.  Me ha interesado mucho —.  Y continúa hablando de los argentinos con mucho afecto.

xxx— Lo que a mí me interesa es que me hable de usted — le repetí en varias oportunidades.

xxxMe pareció que mi porfía le incomodaba y comprendí que debía esperar . . .

xxxAlguien le pidió que tocase el piano y Claudio se sentó gustoso ante el teclado.

xxxLa madre oía a su hijo embelesada: es un dios para ella.  Adivinando que hablar de su hijo debía serle el tema más grato, aproveché un momento en que el piano calló y obtuve de la madre lo que no pude obtener del mismo artista:

xxx— Mi hijo, señor — me informó la bondadosa señora, con su amable tonadilla chilena — quedó huérfano de padre siendo muy pequeño. . .  Mi esposo era médico.  Claudio nació en Chillán el 6 de febrero de 1903.  A los tres años comenzó a mostrar cariño por la música, y a los tres años y medio sorprendió a la familia tocando, con sus deditos de algodón, en un piano de juguete, algunos motivos de Mozart que yo ejecutaba frecuentemente en el piano. . .

xxxDel piano de juguete pasó al piano de verdad. . . [.]

xxxPoco tiempo después Claudio daba un concierto en La Moneda, ante el Presidente de Chile y el cuerpo diplomático, y de ahí fué pensionado para que continuase sus estudios en Berlín.

xxx— Aquí tuvo como maestro y consejero al conocido y malogrado profesor Martin Krause, quien ha escrito frases que no le quiero repetir. . .

xxxLa señora fué a una mesa-escritorio y de entre unos papeles escogió un pliego y me lo dió a leer.

xxxEra un certificado del profesor Krause, en el cual, entre otras cosas, se decía:

xxx«Dar un testimonio sobre Claudio Arrau es imposible, porque para su asombrosa capacidad falta toda comparación.  Desde la juventud de Franz Liszt casi no ha habido talento igual al de Claudio.  Por su gran aplicación y su perseverancia maravillosa ha elevado Claudio su arte a una altura que yo ya lo considero, de acuerdo con muchos grandes artistas y músicos, como uno de los primeros entre los pianistas».

xxx— ¿Qué más se puede decir de un muchacho de 17 años?

xxx— Claudio ha dado últimamente conciertos en la capital escandinava, en Inglaterra, en Viena, en Budapest y en las principales ciudades de Alemania.  En todas partes fue muy aplaudido y la crítica no fué parca en elogios.

xxxComprendiendo en toda su intensidad la idolatría de la madre para su Claudio — a quien considera un niño, como todas las madres para quienes sus hijos jamás llegan a hombres — le pregunté:

xxx— ¿En esos viajes, le acompañaba usted?

xxx— No, desgraciadamente.  Como usted ve, mi hijo es un niño, pero se cree de mucha edad.  Estoy tranquila: Claudio es muy juicioso. No conozco otro muchacho igual. . .

xxxAl oír esta respuesta recordé que me habían dicho que Claudio tenía el don — que él mismo parece ignorar — de enamorar a las mujeres románticas. . . ¡ y a las no románticas también !. . .  Después de cada concierto el camarín del pianista se llena de muchachas que van a felicitarle, y es tanto el entusiasmo que, no contentas con estrecharle las manos, le abrazan y llegan a besarle. [.]

xxxLa madrecita, en esos casos, le guarda, trata de apartarle de las tentaciones diabólicas, le abriga y se escapa con el hijo amado por una puertecilla que las locas chicuelas ignoran. . . [.]

xxxClaudio Arrau no sólo es aclamado por el público; los mejores críticos le han tributado elogios muy calurosos. 

xxxEl Tägliche Rundschau de Berlín ha dicho: «Claudio Arrau tuvo ocasión de acentuar victoriosamente el dominio soberano de su instrumento.  Es una de las más sublimes alegrías de la vida musical de Berlín el observar la creciente maestría de este artista».

xxxEl Nue Merkur de Viena dijo: «Claudio Arrau nos causa una inmensa alegría.  Su técnica es fabulosa y asombra su musicalidad íntima, y ello no obstante su manera de presentarse al público es de la mayor amabilidad y modestia.  Ya figura entre los primeros».

xxxLa Pall Mall Gazette de Londres dijo que «Claudio Arrau emocionó a su auditorio con su admirable técnica que le permite dar una interpretación convincente y concienzuda a la sonata de Chopin.  Este número solo basta para elevarlo a la altura de los pianistas más eminentes».

xxxDespués de oír un concierto íntimo en el que no faltaron los clásicos ni los modernos franceses y españoles, me aproximé a Claudio y le pregunté qué autor era su preferido.  El artista me miró un instante y luego me dijo:

xxx— En verdad todos me gustan.  Los clásicos por clásicos y los modernos por modernos.

xxx— ¿Ha compuesto usted?

xxx— Sí, cuando pequeño.  Ahora me he propuesto no hacerlo hasta de aquí a unos años.  Tengo aún mucho tiempo por delante.

xxxSolicité al chileno artista un autógrafo para 'Caras y Caretas' y con toda diligencia se fué a su mesa de trabajo y escribió las sentidas frases que acompañan esta crónica [promesa de una pronta visita].

xxxAl despedirme se me ocurrió hacer una última pregunta:

xxx— ¿Piensa usted volver a su país?

xxx— Por lo que puede usted ver, por el autógrafo que le he dado, más pronto de lo que puede usted imaginarse.  Iré primero a Chile, luego, muy probablemente, a la Argentina.  En Alemania se sabe que el público de Buenos Aires es muy inteligente y musical.

xxxSalí satisfecho de esa casa, donde se me brindó una hospitalidad completamente sudamericana.

xxxA.M. de Candia
xxxBerlín, marzo de 1921.
.

 

§

A conversation with Arrau
Interview on mostly Beethoven by Everett Helm for the
Philharmonic Hall magazine, Lincoln Centre, New York, 1962-1963.


Q:
When did you have your first contact with Beethoven's music?
A:
My first contact with Beethoven goes way back, probably to the age of three.  The story goes that I was able to read the notes of a Beethoven sonata movement before I could read words.

Q:
What was your reaction as a child, youth and young man to Beethoven's music?
A:
My reaction to Beethoven as a child?  Who can remember?  I suppose it gave me a feeling of something solid, something to take hold of and to hold on to. 
As a youth, Beethoven was the expression of my own youthful struggles for self-realization.  Playing Beethoven gave me hope and strength and helped me through the horrible depressions of young manhood.
Beethoven, more than any other composer, I think, gives us the total image of a man's complete psychic development.  He was a true cultural hero because, in his creative life, he achieved complete fulfillment and therefore points as a guide for struggling man.  If Beethoven had not existed, he would have had to be invented, because the line his life took is the classic heroic example of birth, struggle and apotheosis.
What better guide could any young struggling artist ask for?   When as a young man I felt like giving up, there was Beethoven to pour new life into me.  In my developing years, when I felt the struggle was too much, there was Beethoven to show me what struggle really meant.  And now, when I am reaching for my years of wisdom, I need Beethoven as never before.

Q:
I remember one English critic writing of one of your Beethoven performances in London as possessing "all the agony and ecstacy of creation".  Would you say you identify with Beethoven to that extent?
A:
I was once quoted as saying that between Beethoven and myself it is a 50-50 proposition.  It sounds frightful put in this manner.  What I did mean to say was that in playing Beethoven it must be all of myself, every bit of my being, mind, soul, longing, anguish, humor and hope put at the service of his music.  All of myself poured through all of Beethoven, or all of Beethoven poured through all of me.  Whatever, as long as that complete inter-penetration of two worlds takes place, which I call interpretation.

Q:
How has your attitude toward Beethoven's music changed or developed in the intervening years?
A:
Beethoven through the years has become more and more the focal center of my life as a pianist and interpreter.  Beethoven has given the range and scope to the finding of myself.  If a pianist can play one Beethoven sonata well, with understanding and life and intensity, it will project into all other styles of his playing.  For me, Beethoven, not Bach, is the ground, the rock.  Bach should separate you from your egocentric ways.  Bach is therapeutic and spiritualizing, as Landowska understood so well.  Beethoven, on the other hand, makes you assert yourself as yourself, or you can't play Beethoven (or anyone else for that matter).  Ascending as he is, Bach too needs the power of personality and humaneness to project him, not the sewing machine approach.

Q:
Would you say something about your early musical life in Germany?
A:
My early musical life in Germany. . .  well, I suppose I owe everything to that.  I like to think of my musical heritage as going in a straight line from Beethoven himself:  from my teacher, Martin Krause, who has studied with Liszt, who had studied with Czerny, who had studied with Beethoven.
But, seriously, those early days in Germany are responsible for everything I know.   I received a most complete kind of training under my old master, who was a master to me in every sense of the word.   I went to live in his house and he took over my entire education.  At lessons, we had to transpose by memory all the Bach fugues.  Krause's idea was to know and develop our capacities to a greater extent than would ever be needed in performance.  He worked for more speed, more power, more endurance, all to be kept in reserve.  It gave us the reassurance necessary for a life on the concert stage.  Only those of us who play in public know what that means.

Q:
What about your playing of the now famous Bach Cycle of twelve recitals in the mid 30's in Berlin?   Was it a stunt?
No, it was not a stunt, not just a stunt in any case.  Of course it was ambition and the youthful need to set a mark.  But behind that was the greater need to make clear in my own mind the meaning of Bach.  I felt I could only achieve it, if at all, by getting to know all the music through actual performance.  When I was finished with all the twelve recitals, my conclusion was that Bach belonged to the harpsichord !  You can't scale  those polyphonic heights without it.  But I had my satisfaction of having played, memorized and performed in public every note of his keyboard music.

Q:
Talk of scaling Mt. Everest !  Under what conductors did you play Beethoven concertos?  Which did you prefer?  Enlarge on Furtwängler as musician, conductor, person.
A:
Unfortunately, I have no memories of playing Beethoven concertos with the old great conductors.  I played with Muck, and Furtwängler and Mengelberg, but they did not want me for Beethoven.  I had to play Schumann, and Chopin and Liszt, and so it should be.  Beethoven, and specially Mozart, should be played later in life.
Furtwängler the musician is one of the great heroes of my life.  In the days when Toscanini was worshipped everywhere, I upheld the Furtwängler way of music making.  Since memory may be judged to err, let everyone go back and listen to Furtwängler's recording of the Schubert C major Symphony to know what I mean.  He was one of a few of whom it can be said that he had the capacity of divination into all the subtleties of a composer's intentions and meaning.

Q:
Would you care to say anything about "interpreting" Beethoven?   Is there a right and a wrong way?  How much leeway does "interpretation" allow?
A:
I want very much to say something about "interpretation", and about the "interpreting" of Beethoven.  Indeed there is a right way and a wrong way !  For the life of me, I do not understand all this confusion about the question of interpretation.  As I never tire of explaining to pupils, there is an objective to interpretation.  It is a very simple thing: the faithful realization of the composer's written text.  Within that scope there is a wide range for every interpreting individual.
I know there is a school which believes that sticking to the text is limiting and narrowing. They are the ones who feel that playing forte when the composer asks for piano is interpretation.
The test of interpretation is how wide and how far the imagination can be made to range around the written text as is.   It is as wrong to be paralyzed with awe of the text (as Stravinsky advocates) as it is wrong to act in an irresponsible way toward the demands of a composer.  Interpretation needs mind and personality, feeling and conviction, soul and imagination.  In the end, every real interpreter is irreplaceable because he will be unique.
.

 

 
Claudio Arrau,
último pianista de la tradición germana.
Por periodista Sergio Dorantes Guzmán, Director de Difusión y Extensión Universitaria.  Revista Cultural Cromos, Jalapa, Vera Cruz, México, 1980.


.     Cada vez que uno de los periódicos más renombrados del mundo habla de Claudio Arrau, lo hace con grandes titulares.  Hojeamos el New York Times y en un artículo de Richard Dyer publicado a ocho columnas leemos: "Arrau, una leyenda de nuestro tiempo"; la revista especializada Gramophone: "Claudio Arrau, un homenaje a sus 75 años";  o el artículo de Roger Kahn [en la revista LIFE]: "El frágil genio de un virtuoso".  Hoy queremos publicar, como una exclusiva, la experiencia que tuvimos en seis días de convivencia con este gran artista.

.     Iniciamos nuestro primer viaje a Estados Unidos el viernes 2 de noviembre de 1979.  Motivo: asistir a una serie de conciertos que ofrecería Claudio Arrau con la Sinfónica de Los Ángeles, bajo la dirección de Carlo Maria Giulini, y con la Orquesta Filarmónica de Fresno, que dirije Guy Taylor.

.     Eran las 19:30 del mismo viernes, cuando nos encontramos en la puerta del Hotel Beverly Wilshire con el maestro Arrau, a quien escuchamos por primera vez en Bellas Artes en 1958, como solista de la Sinfónica Nacional.  Salimos en el auto que conduce el maestro Philip Lorenz, por quien fuimos invitados a estos conciertos, Claudio Arrau, José Acosta y nosotros:  Arrau, como siempre, amable e introspectivo.  Ya en el auto, el maestro Lorenz le hizo saber que era la primera vez que nos encontrábamos en los Estados Unidos, con la fuerza que le caracteriza.  Arrau hizo el comentario que la avenida en que está el hotel, y que era por la que circulábamos, era una de las más grandes del mundo.  Nos enseña el Hotel Ambassador (donde fue asesinado Robert Kennedy), el Teatro Wilshire Bell, el nuevo conjunto de edificios redondos con elevadores exteriores que albergan  el Hotel Buenaventura. 

.     Llegamos al 'Music Center' de los Ángeles, acompañamos al maestro Arrau hasta el camerino, bajamos a la enorme sala de cuatro pisos, que ha de tener una capacidad de 4.000 localidades.  Ésta se llenó [en] entre 10 y 15 minutos, ya que la luneta cuenta con 20 puertas de acceso.  El programa nos resultó un poco extraño:  Divertimento No.11 en Re mayor K 251 de Mozart, el Adagio-Andante de la Décima Sinfonía de Mahler, y el Cuarto Concierto de Beethoven.

.     Sale Giulini, alto, esbelto, elegantemente vestido.  Aunque el Divertimento no es una de las grandes obras de Mozart, él hace una magnífica interpretación.  Después Mahler, de inmensa nobleza y honda emoción.  Hay trozos que hacen oír a la orquesta como a un gran órgano, orquesta virtuosa, de primer orden, los acordes de los metales perfectos, la cuerda, de bello sonido.

.     Pasando el intermedio, el Concierto en Sol mayor de Beethoven.  Hace su aparición Arrau, es ovacionado, toca como un dios  y es doblemente ovacionado.  Somos los primeros en entrar al camerino y, con la modestia que le caracteriza, Arrau nos dice:  "qué gran orquesta, qué gran director..."  Nosotros solamente atimamos a decir:  y qué gran pianista. 

.     Se inicia el desfile de admiradores:   una señora pide fotografiarse junto al maestro, le recuerda que la última vez que lo oyó fue en Italia;  otra señora lo recuerda en el Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires;  un matrimonio le comenta que son paisanos, vienen de Chile;  la secretaria del maestro Carlo Maria Giulini le solicita autografíe dos fotos para los hijos del famoso director;  a la salida de la sala de conciertos, una persona que no pudo entrar al camerino le solicita un autógrafo;  salimos para ir al estacionamiento y una persona le pide pose para una foto.  Esto se repetirá durante los cuatro conciertos que tocará en Los Ángeles, y es común que pase en todas partes del mundo.

.     Regresamos al hotel, donde también se encuentran personas que le escucharon, le felicitan y le dan las gracias por tan magnífica audición.  Después tenemos una cena íntima Arrau, Lorenz, Acosta y nosotros en un pequeño restaurante, donde se inicia una interesante plática en que nos hace saber lo trascendental que fue su primera visita a México en el año 1933, en que llegó por barco precisamente a Veracruz, viajó en el tren nocturno a la ciudad de México, donde entre los meses de octubre y noviembre ofreció 21 recitales sin repetir una obra, cosa que no volvió a hacer en ninguna otra ciudad  del mundo y seguramente no lo ha hecho ningún pianista en ninguna época.

.     Al año siguiente tocó el Clave Bien Temperado de Bach, las 32 Sonatas de Beethoven, estrenó en México  el Concierto de Stravinsky con Ansermet, y toca por primera vez el Tercer Concierto de Prokofiev, que fuera estrenado en 1921 por el autor.  Para estudiar estas obras, nos dice: "me iba al antiguo edificio del Conservatorio Nacional y estudiaba toda la noche.  Algunos de mis alumnos  - pues ofrecí en esos años dos cursos de interpretación -  me acompañaban, ya que decían que por la noche aparecían espíritus, por lo que nunca me dejaban solo".   En esa época también toqué el Concierto de Chávez.

.     "Imagínese Sergio", nos sigue diciendo el maestro, "cómo no iba a ser transcendental en mi carrera pianística esta experiencia en ese país (México) tan atrayente y enigmático.  También filmé una película en que hice el papel de Franz Liszt.  Lo más duro para mí fue guardar una estricta dieta, porque según Hollywood tenía que pesar 46 kilos".

.     Se sigue platicando de todo, de frutas de los distintos países. Recordemos que el maestro da como promedio 130 conciertos alrededor del mundo, en las distintas salas de conciertos.  A propósito de éstas, se nombra la de Pasadena como una de las más lujosas del mundo. 

.     De sus grabaciones:  El Concierto de Chaikovski con la Sinfónica de Boston, dirigiendo Colin Davis;  las Imágenes y los dos libros de Preludios de Debussy;  la Sonata en Do menor opus póstuma y los Impromptus Opus 90 y 142 de Schubert;  los Valses de Chopin y, pendientes por grabar nuevamente, los conciertos de Schumann y Grieg, así como los cinco de Beethoven.  Sobre esta grabación, nos comenta que le gustaría hacerla con Jochum.  Son ya la 1:30 del sábado tres.  Nos despedimos para volvernos a ver en el concierto de ese día.

.     Se repite lo mismo, grandes ovaciones, felicitaciones, y nuevamente cenamos juntos.  Se interesa por los nuevos valores, nos habla de los grandes talentos en dirección, como Gerard Schwarz, Gary Bertini, y muchos nombres que no tengo oportunidad de anotar.  Se habla de críticos, algunos de ellos que se inician y que son muy severos.  Se habla de Irma González, de quien recuerda como una de las voces de soprano más bellas que ha oído;  de Alicia Alonso, de quien piensa que es una de las bailarinas más grandes de este siglo;  también recordó la manera de decir poesía de Carlos Pellicer.  Nuevamente nos dan las dos de la mañana.

.     El domingo cuatro desayunamos.  Nos sigue hablando de nuevos talentos, ahora de pianistas y, en menos de 24 horas, está tocando nuevamente en esa enorme sala que es el 'Music Center', que los cuatro días estuvo totalmente llena.  Esa tarde nos presentaron con el temido manager Fleischman.

.     Regresamos al hotel, almorzamos rápidamente, porque a las 18 horas había concedido una entrevista a Trace Leone Hood [?], que escribe en un periódico que se edita en inglés, italiano y español.  La señora pregunta sobre su vida, ¿quién fue su papá?.  Arrau responde que fue oculista, que perdió la vida en un accidente de equitación cuando él apenas contaba con un año de edad;  de su madre, que fue de vida muy longeva, murió a los cien años, que nunca le impuso su voluntad, como pasa por lo general con los niños prodigios  - hay que recordar que Arrau lo fue, comenzó a tocar el piano a los cuatro años -, que su primer recital lo ofreció a los cinco años, y a los siete salía becado por 10 años para Alemania;  de su apellido, que es de origen provensal y pasa más tarde a Cataluña...  Terminamos la entrevista y sale de prisa a cenar con Henry Miller, quien tiene deseos de conocerle.

.     Arrau es una persona tímida, siempre que visita a un personaje de la vida intelectual, casi no habla, aunque él posee una bastísima cultura, ha leído a Thomas Mann en alemán, a Shakespeare en inglés, a Dante en italiano, etc.  Domina cinco idiomas y puede sostener una conversación sobre cibernética, medicina, sociología, astronomía, literatura, etc.  Henry Miller le esperaba sentado en una silla de ruedas.  Arrau prefiere dejarle hablar, Miller habla, que su músico preferido es Alexander Scriabin, que los clásicos como Mozart y Beethoven ya han sido tocados mucho, que él preferiría que los intérpretes ampliaran más la improvisación.  Aparte de música se habló de Balzac, de su último descubrimiento en literatura:  Maria Corelli, famosa en su tiempo.  Miller continuamente hace mención de que él es anarquista;  también habló de un pintor japonés que padece miopía y que no ve más allá de su nariz.  Regala su libro Joey, al que le puso en su dedicación "Con veneración a Claudio Arrau", le regala también un grabado.

.     El lunes cinco salimos para Fresno, Cali[fornia].  Más tarde nos volvimos a encontrar para cenar.  A Arrau le gusta la comida exótica y muy especialmente la mexicana, sólo que por delicadeza el maestro escogía otro tipo de comida como la Armenia, la China, etc.  En el almuerzo, como ellos le llaman, se habla nuevamente de artistas.  Nos comenta cómo el cantante Fischer-Diskau transforma a sus acompañantes, que influye grandemente en ellos.  Nos dice:  "Acabo de oírle un recital en que interpretaba Erl König con el pianista Norman Shetler, y me dejaron con los pelos de punta, ya que tiene pasajes casi intocables para el piano".

.     En ese momento llega su compatriota, la pianista chilena Ena Bronstein, con quien platica sobre amigos comunes.  Ella le solicita consejos para una alumna que está estudiando 'Cuadros de una Exposición' de Mussorgsky.  Le pregunta sobre ciertas sonoridades en las Catacumbas.  Arrau nos comenta que el autor dio a Rimsky-Korsakov los metrónomos de cada trozo, que si los comparamos con las velocidades a que se toca hoy día nos sorprenderían las diferencias:  "hoy sólo se ve en esa obra un atractivo para hacer alardes técnicos".

.     Es martes seis. Al entrar a un restaurante para desayunar descubre una librería, le fascina, empieza a comprar libros sobre filosofía oriental. Más tarde regresaríamos por un libro de arquitectura armenia.

.     Ya en el comedor, nos comenta sobre la admiración que profesa a Busoni.  Él ha tocado, entre otras, la Fantasia Contrapuntistica, la Sonatina Seconda, Elegias.  Nos dice que Busoni era una persona de una gran inteligencia y un gran charlista.  Él, junto con Teresa Carreño, fueron sus ídolos., que los dos tenían una gran personalidad como pianistas.

.     Sale a relucir el gusto por los animales.  Arrau prefiere los perros y los gatos, que desmienten el proverbio, ya que son muy buenos amigos.  Nos cuenta que, de pequeño, Martin Krause  - su maestro -  le llevaba a visitar a otra gran pianista, también discípula de Liszt, Sofia Menter, que se puede decir que fue la pianista más grande entre Clara Schumann y Teresa Carreño.  Esta pianista tenía 43 gatos.  Estos animales le gustan por enigmáticos. 

.     Regresamos ahora a la casa de Philip Lorenz.  Arrau se sienta al piano y toca primeramente el Konzertstück de Weber, más tarde la Burleske de Strauss.

.     Del Konzertstück de Weber nos dice que lo tocó por primera vez a los once años.  Lo estudió en una edición francesa que llevaba por título Les Croisés (Los cruzados).  Se trata de una obra programática, "yo diría que está pensada como una ópera".  Liszt hizo un arreglo de esta obra, naturalmente agregándole más notas e interviniendo el piano en la gran marcha.  Lorenz pregunta si ha sentido alguna vez la inquietud de tocar este arreglo.  Arrau responde negativamente.

.     "La Burleske la toqué por primera vez a los 21 años, con la Orquesta de Chemnitz, bajo la dirección del propio Richard Strauss.  Hice una grabación de ella en discos de 78 rpm con la Sinfónica de Chicago, pero también está entre los proyectos de nuevas grabaciones". 

.     Nuevamente se menciona una interminable lista de nombres famosos que conoció en su juventud.  "A Teresa Carreño", nos sigue diciendo Arrau, "mi maestro me llevaba a saludarla después de los conciertos.  Ella siempre me decía:  hay que estudiar mucho, mucho.  Tuve oportunidad de tocar con Artur Nikisch el primer concierto de Liszt.  Varias veces con Wilhelm Furtwängler.  Escuché a la famosa cantante Lily [Lotte?] Lehmann, a Saint-Saens, a Isaí, a un famoso y creo olvidado violinista español Joan Manén, Eugen d'Albert, etc."

.     Nos sentamos a comer unos quesos antes de ir al ensayo con la Orquesta Filarmónica de Fresno, con la que tocará estas obras.  Lorenz le muestra un libro del INBA, que editó como homenaje nacional a Carlos Chávez.  En la página 35 está una foto  de Arrau en 1934, en una comida ofrecida por Antonio Castro Leal en San Angelín.  Entre otros se encuentran Xavier Icaza, Carlos Chávez, Alfonso Reyes, Manuel M. Ponce, Ernest Ansermet, Salvador Novo, José Rolón, Xavier Villaurrutia.

.     Después le muestra el libro de Teresa Carreño que escribiera Marta Milinowski.  Arrau comenta:  "hace mucho tiempo que no volvía a ver este libro".  Le llama poderosamente la atención donde se reproduce un programa del 25 de noviembre de 1862.  Teresa Carreño apenas contaba con ocho años de edad, y me comenta, con esa cara de vivacidad que tiene:  "imagínese Sergio, la niña Careño tocando la Fantasía 'Moises' de Thalberg [y] completan el programa el Rondo Brillante de Hummel, un Nocturno de Doenier y Jerusalem [?], 'Gran Fantasía Triunfal' de Gottschalk".  Nos muestra dos fotos de Carreño, una de 1913 y otra de 1916, y nos dice:  "es así como yo la recuerdo".

.     Preguntamos a Claudio Arrau si la transición de niño prodigio a gran pianista es difícil, y nos responde:  "Sí, inmensamente difícil, el período de niño prodigio es intuitivo, inconsciente, y es, le repito, inmensamente difícil pasar al estado consciente y responsable, pensante, por darle un nombre.  Uno tiene dudas, grandes dudas".

     -  ¿Cómo cree usted que deba resolverse ese momento? 
     -  "Estar cerca de una persona que lo sepa a uno guiar, con gran experiencia e inteligencia".

     -  ¿Usted tuvo a una persona cerca?
     -  "No, y fue por fidelidad a mi maestro.  Martin Krause me había dado todo lo que un maestro puede otorgar.  Me dejó huérfano aún siendo muy joven, a los 15 años, aunque con unas bases muy sólidas, que fueron definitivas en mi carrera.  Me propusieron recibiera consejos de algunos de los grandes pianistas de esos tiempos, como Artur Schnabel, pero como le dije antes, por fidelidad a mi maestro y porque consideré que un cambio de escuela y conceptos en esos momentos sería más negativo que positivo, preferí desarrollar todos los consejos y enseñanzas recibidas de Krause, hacer una especie de recapitulación de lo que hacía desde mis tiempos, dijéramos, intuitivos hasta los conscientes".

.     Salimos hacia la sala de conciertos donde hace su ensayo con la Filarmónica de Fresno.  La Orquesta lo recibe con fuertes aplausos, y lo despide en igual forma.  Ya es miércoles siete.  En un día semejante Arrau estudia.  En el almuerzo nos platica de sus experiencias haciendo música de cámara en distintos festivales internacionales donde tocó con Casals y ha tocado con los violinistas Grumiaux, Stern, Szering; el chelista Starker, y otros de esa estatura mundial.

.     También nos dice que su primera presentación en Berlín como solista fue bajo la dirección de Karl Muck, interpretando la versión para piano y orquesta que hiciera Liszt de la Fantasía Wanderer de Schubert.

.     Sus alumnos con frecuencia le preguntan por qué ha dejado de tocar rápido, es decir, el gran virtuosismo, y él les responde que ya ha superado esa etapa:  "La he dejado atrás, ahora estoy más interesado en la música". 

.     Nos cierran el restaurante donde cenamos, pero él desea seguir platicando.  Buscamos otro restaurante y así nos despedimos a las dos de la mañana, en donde comenta que una de las virtudes de la vejez es que acaba con la vanidad.

[Colaboración del pianista Raúl de la Mora]

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Documents Section last updated on 9th July 2017.