Beethoven Unleashed - At The Keyboard [Composer Of The Week]

Episodes

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01A musical calling card20200406

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the wonder of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod, beginning today with the innovations of No 4 in E flat, the Grand Sonata.

Biss has just completed a nine-year odyssey to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. It's been a revelatory experience, and his relationship with Beethoven remains far from over. These works are so remarkable, he says, they changed the course of musical history, and beyond that as a performer, they demand that he continues to play them for the rest of his life.

Recorded at the piano, in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Jonathan shares his life-long passion for Beethoven with Donald. As they talk, he demonstrates how and why Beethoven's piano sonatas advanced the genre far beyond anything that anyone had ever achieved previously. As they talk each day we will gain a performer's perspective of Beethoven's developmental trajectory. Together they'll unpack some of Jonathan's personal favourites, among them the Appassionata, the Tempest, No 27 in E minor op 90 and No 30 in E major op 109.

Beethoven was a young man in his twenties when he arrived in Vienna in 1792. The piano was his instrument, and he was an accomplished performer himself. As a newcomer, he needed to make his mark, and what better way to do that than through a medium which he knew would allow him to dazzle and shine.

Beethoven: Piano sonata no 2 in A major, op 2 no 2
Third movement: Scherzo: Allegretto
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 4 in E flat major, op 7 (Grande sonate)
First movement : Allegro molto e con brio
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 4 in E flat major, op 7
Second movement: Largo, con gran espressione
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no 2 in B flat major
First movement: Allegro con brio
Richard Goode, piano
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Iván Fischer, conductor

Beethoven: Sonata no 4 in E flat major, op 7 (excerpt)
Third movement: Allegro
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 4 in E flat major, Op 7
Fourth movement: Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso
Jonathan Biss, piano

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the joy of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02A troubled spirit20200407

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the wonder of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod. Today they focus on music that seems to be drawn from Beethoven's soul, the Appassionata.

Biss has just completed a nine-year odyssey to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. It's been a revelatory experience, and his relationship with Beethoven remains far from over. These works are so remarkable, he says, they changed the course of musical history, and beyond that as a performer, they demand that he continues to play them for the rest of his life.

Recorded at the piano, in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Jonathan shares his life-long passion for Beethoven with Donald. As they talk, he demonstrates how and why Beethoven's piano sonatas advanced the genre far beyond anything that anyone had ever achieved previously. As they talk each day we will gain a performer's perspective of Beethoven's developmental trajectory. Together they'll unpack some of Jonathan's personal favourites, among them the Appassionata, the Tempest, No 27 in E minor op 90 and No 30 in E major op 109.

1801 saw the start of a period of great personal anguish for Beethoven. Beset by problems on all fronts, little wonder that some of his innermost feelings found an outlet in his music.

Beethoven: Piano sonata no 15 in D op 28 (Pastorale)
Third movement: Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Richard Goode, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, op 31 no 2 (The Tempest)
Second movement: Adagio
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 23 in F minor op 57 (Appassionata)
First movement: Allegro assai
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 23 in F minor op 57 (Appassionata)
Second movement: Andante con moto
Third movement: Allegro ma non troppo
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 21 in C major, op 53 (Waldstein)
Third movement: Rondo. Allegretto moderato - Prestissimo
Paul Lewis, piano

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the joy of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03The final trinity20200408

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the wonder of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod. Today they discuss Nos 30 to 32, a high point in Beethoven's keyboard works.

Biss has just completed a nine-year odyssey to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. It's been a revelatory experience, and his relationship with Beethoven remains far from over. These works are so remarkable, he says, they changed the course of musical history, and beyond that as a performer, they demand that he continues to play them for the rest of his life.

Recorded at the piano, in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Jonathan shares his life-long passion for Beethoven with Donald. As they talk, he demonstrates how and why Beethoven's piano sonatas advanced the genre far beyond anything that anyone had ever achieved previously. As they talk each day we will gain a performer's perspective of Beethoven's developmental trajectory. Together they'll unpack some of Jonathan's personal favourites, among them the Appassionata, the Tempest, No 27 in E minor op 90 and No 30 in E major op 109.

By the year 1820 Beethoven was almost without any hearing. Yet far from being a limitation, this triptych, his final utterances in the sonata genre, are unsurpassed in their variety, structure and invention.

Beethoven: Piano sonata no 30 in E major op 109 (excerpt)
First movement: Vivace ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 31 in A flat major op 110
First movement: Moderato cantabile, molto espressivo
Richard Goode, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 5 in C minor Op 10 no 1
First movement: Allegro molto e con brio
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Piano sonata no 30 in E major op 109
First movement: Vivace ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo
Second movement: Prestissimo
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Piano sonata no 30 in E major op 109
Third movement: Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung
Jonathan Biss, piano

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the joy of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04The rule breaker20200409

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the wonder of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod. Today they're discussing the Tempest sonata and how Beethoven ripped up the rule book.

Biss has just completed a nine-year odyssey to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. It's been a revelatory experience, and his relationship with Beethoven remains far from over. These works are so remarkable, he says, they changed the course of musical history, and beyond that as a performer, they demand that he continues to play them for the rest of his life.

Recorded at the piano, in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Jonathan shares his life-long passion for Beethoven with Donald. As they talk, he demonstrates how and why Beethoven's piano sonatas advanced the genre far beyond anything that anyone had ever achieved previously. As they talk each day we will gain a performer's perspective of Beethoven's developmental trajectory. Together they'll unpack some of Jonathan's personal favourites, among them the Appassionata, the Tempest, No 27 in E minor op 90 and No 30 in E major op 109.

Following in the footsteps of Haydn and Mozart, the wealth of ideas that Beethoven had on the subject of form can be found in all their infinite possibilities in his piano sonatas.

Beethoven: Sonata no 12 in A flat major, op 26
Fourth movement: Allegro
Wilhelm Kempff, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, op 31 no 2 (The Tempest)
First movement: Largo-Allegro
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, op 31 no 2 (The Tempest) (excerpt)
Second movement: Adagio
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, Op 31 no 2 (The Tempest)
3rd movement: Allegretto
Jonathan Biss, piano

Sonata “quasi una fantasia ? op 27 (Moonlight)
Rudolf Serkin, piano

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the joy of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05The battle between head and heart20200410

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the wonder of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod. Today they discuss the construction and range of expression in No 27 in E minor.

Biss has just completed a nine-year odyssey to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. It's been a revelatory experience, and his relationship with Beethoven remains far from over. These works are so remarkable, he says, they changed the course of musical history, and beyond that as a performer, they demand that he continues to play them for the rest of his life.

Recorded at the piano, in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Jonathan shares his life-long passion for Beethoven with Donald. As they talk, he demonstrates how and why Beethoven's piano sonatas advanced the genre far beyond anything that anyone had ever achieved previously. As they talk each day we will gain a performer's perspective of Beethoven's developmental trajectory. Together they'll unpack some of Jonathan's personal favourites, among them the Appassionata, the Tempest, No 27 in E minor op 90 and No 30 in E major op 109.

Completed on the 16th of August 1814, Sonata No 27 was finished after a gap of five years. Once again Beethoven's musical invention expands the language of the keyboard sonata.

Beethoven: Sonata no 20 in G major, op 49 no 2
Artur Schnabel, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 3 in C major, op 2
Fourth movement: Allegro assai (Rondo)
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 27 in E minor, op 90
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Piano sonata no 32 in C minor, op 111
Second movement: Arietta: Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile – l’istesso tempo
Jonathan Biss, piano

Producer: Johannah Smith

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the joy of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202001A Musical Calling Card20200406
202002A Troubled Spirit20200407
202003The Final Trinity20200408
202004The Rule Breaker20200409

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the wonder of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod. Today they're discussing the Tempest sonata and how Beethoven ripped up the rule book.

Biss has just completed a nine-year odyssey to record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. It's been a revelatory experience, and his relationship with Beethoven remains far from over. These works are so remarkable, he says, they changed the course of musical history, and beyond that as a performer, they demand that he continues to play them for the rest of his life.

Recorded at the piano, in the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Jonathan shares his life-long passion for Beethoven with Donald. As they talk, he demonstrates how and why Beethoven's piano sonatas advanced the genre far beyond anything that anyone had ever achieved previously. As they talk each day we will gain a performer's perspective of Beethoven's developmental trajectory. Together they'll unpack some of Jonathan's personal favourites, among them the Appassionata, the Tempest, No 27 in E minor op 90 and No 30 in E major op 109.

Following in the footsteps of Haydn and Mozart, the wealth of ideas that Beethoven had on the subject of form can be found in all their infinite possibilities in his piano sonatas.

Beethoven: Sonata no 12 in A flat major, op 26
Fourth movement: Allegro
Wilhelm Kempff, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, op 31 no 2 (The Tempest)
First movement: Largo-Allegro
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, op 31 no 2 (The Tempest) (excerpt)
Second movement: Adagio
Jonathan Biss, piano

Beethoven: Sonata no 17 in D minor, Op 31 no 2 (The Tempest)
3rd movement: Allegretto
Jonathan Biss, piano

Sonata “quasi una fantasia” op 27 (Moonlight)
Rudolf Serkin, piano

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares the joy of Beethoven's piano sonatas with Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

202005The Battle Between Head And Heart20200410