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#2144904 - 09/05/13 10:17 PM Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course  
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Here it is - a dedicated thread for the discussion of Jonathan Biss's online lecture series on the Beethoven piano sonatas.

Sign up and watch them here:

https://www.coursera.org/course/beethovensonatas

Also, I plan on keeping this particular thread fairly tightly moderated. Please limit the discussion to the history and performance of the Beethoven piano sonatas.

Those needing scores can find them on IMSLP here:

I would suggest referencing the edition by Heinrich Schenker, as it is the closest thing on IMSLP to an urtext edition and it has measure numbers. (Please note that in this edition, measure numbers appear at the ends of the measures they refer to. It's one of Schenker's quirks, and knowing this little fact can make looking things up a little less confusing.)

ENJOY! laugh


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2144908 - 09/05/13 10:26 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Thank you very much for posting this thread, Kreisler! I'm signed up for it and have finished all of the videos for this week's lecture. I'll look at more aspects of this tomorrow. smile

Right now, I'm learning Op. 2, No. 3. It's such a tricky piece, but the second movement is incredibly beautiful and wonderful! Note how the opening motive of the second movement is basically the same as the opening motive of the first movement. wink

#2144997 - 09/06/13 12:47 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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From the first lecture, what stood out to you most? Was anything new to you? Did you disagree with anything?

I'm generally familiar with music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven (although certainly not to the degree any of the Pianist Corner regulars are), and the general timespan and influences, and with sonata form, but the way it was put together and illuminated with details was new to me.

The most standout piece of information for me was the idea of the lightweight final movement, and that over the course of the sonatas (and I suspect his other compositions too) Beethoven was grappling with and overturning that tradition. I think of the 9th Symphony in connection with this.


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#2145027 - 09/06/13 01:55 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Also, I plan on keeping this particular thread fairly tightly moderated. Please limit the discussion to the history and performance of the Beethoven piano sonatas.

I understand. Although, (and I'm not trying to be smarmy here) I assume we also talk about the Beethoven Fantasia in G minor, Op.77?

Why did Jonathan Biss included this in his class on the 32 Sonatas? In other words, what is its relationship to the sonatas? Any ideas?

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#2145164 - 09/06/13 09:56 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I was shocked that only one of Beethoven's Sonatas was performed in his lifetime at a public concert. I understand that pianists performed their own music at concerts, at least until Liszt and Clara Schumann came along - is that right?

So Beethoven published the Sonatas, people bought the music, and then they played them at home or at private parties? I have to keep reminding myself that there were no recordings, so only very few people actually heard one of the Sonatas in his lifetime.

Sam

#2145195 - 09/06/13 11:08 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: synergy543]  
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Originally Posted by synergy543
Originally Posted by Kreisler
Also, I plan on keeping this particular thread fairly tightly moderated. Please limit the discussion to the history and performance of the Beethoven piano sonatas.

I understand. Although, (and I'm not trying to be smarmy here) I assume we also talk about the Beethoven Fantasia in G minor, Op.77?

Why did Jonathan Biss included this in his class on the 32 Sonatas? In other words, what is its relationship to the sonatas? Any ideas?


Yes, discussions of any related works are fine. I expect the variations, symphonies, string quartets, the Andante Favori, etc. will all make appearances, as will works by other composers (probably Mozart, Haydn, Dussek, and Czerny.)


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2145199 - 09/06/13 11:13 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by synergy543
Originally Posted by Kreisler
Also, I plan on keeping this particular thread fairly tightly moderated. Please limit the discussion to the history and performance of the Beethoven piano sonatas.

I understand. Although, (and I'm not trying to be smarmy here) I assume we also talk about the Beethoven Fantasia in G minor, Op.77?

Why did Jonathan Biss included this in his class on the 32 Sonatas? In other words, what is its relationship to the sonatas? Any ideas?


Yes, discussions of any related works are fine. I expect the variations, symphonies, string quartets, the Andante Favori, etc. will all make appearances, as will works by other composers (probably Mozart, Haydn, Dussek, and Czerny.)

Letter of the law alert, synergy. ha

Just don't talk about what you had for breakfast this morning. grin


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2145301 - 09/06/13 01:57 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Does anyone know the current enrollment size of this course?


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#2145317 - 09/06/13 02:42 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Does anyone know the current enrollment size of this course?

32K, apparently. grin


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2145387 - 09/06/13 04:51 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Just don't talk about what you had for breakfast this morning. grin

Well, since you asked, here's what I've been digesting...
Two very useful reference sources for this class full of fun/useful links and other relevant goodies.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/147302948797229/

https://www.accredible.com/9872

#2145435 - 09/06/13 07:16 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Sam S]  
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Thanks, Kreisler. I look forward to PWers' perspectives.

Originally Posted by Sam S
I was shocked that only one of Beethoven's Sonatas was performed in his lifetime at a public concert.


So was I. And the string quartets were seldom performed as well, right? I've been thinking about how that may have enabled him to depart from tradition and take more risks. At the time, the sonata's place was in the home -- might he have preferred it that way, as a sort of compositional laboratory within which he was able to work out the new language he needed to articulate his vision? (Apologies for all the mixed metaphors.)

Last edited by jmcintyre; 09/06/13 07:20 PM. Reason: Forgot my manners.

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#2145440 - 09/06/13 07:36 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: jmcintyre]  
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Originally Posted by jmcintyre
Thanks, Kreisler. I look forward to PWers' perspectives.

Originally Posted by Sam S
I was shocked that only one of Beethoven's Sonatas was performed in his lifetime at a public concert.


So was I. And the string quartets were seldom performed as well, right? I've been thinking about how that may have enabled him to depart from tradition and take more risks. At the time, the sonata's place was in the home -- might he have preferred it that way, as a sort of compositional laboratory within which he was able to work out the new language he needed to articulate his vision? (Apologies for all the mixed metaphors.)

It seems that we only have a record of the one sonata being performed during Beethoven's lifetime. There may have been other performances that we have no historical record of. And what about those sonatas that might have been performed in small private concerts? Op. 2, No. 3 seems to have been written specifically for the young Beethoven to show off his skills as a virtuoso.


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#2145497 - 09/06/13 10:38 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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The accredible link provided by synergy543 above is very good, providing Biss's performance in his practice studio of sonata no. 5. The link below is a short video where Biss talks about some of his practice habits as he has tackled the project of recording all the Beethoven sonatas.

http://www.npr.org/event/music/155236772/in-practice-jonathan-biss

https://www.accredible.com/9872



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#2145883 - 09/07/13 04:59 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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In Lecture 1-5, Jonathan Biss suggests listening to some additional sonatas, one of them being the Haydn Sonata in C major, Hob. 16_50. I have to admit that I've avoided Haydn and am not familiar with much of his music. However, on listening to this Sonata, and thinking of the context, in terms of influence on Beethoven and general development of the sonata form, this was most enlightening to me. I feel embarrassed that I've been in the dark all this time about, what now seems to me, very important and intriguing music. Whether Beethoven was influenced by this piece directly or not, its clear that the influence of Haydn was not as small as Beethoven implied. Its thrilling to discover new gems such as this. I'm so glad I'm taking this course.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYTkOgmqBvg

I think this piece was written in 1773 as far as I can tell from the chronological lists of Haydn's works, making it even more interesting as it was written before Beethoven's time (well, 3yrs old - so maybe he didn't have too much influence on the world yet).

Last edited by synergy543; 09/07/13 05:00 PM.
#2145909 - 09/07/13 05:39 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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It should also be noted that some binary forms do restate the opening theme in the tonic key. When this happens, it's usually referred to as a 'rounded' binary form. Some of Haydn's early sonatas are very brief and the relationship to binary can be more evident.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2145911 - 09/07/13 05:41 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: synergy543]  
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Originally Posted by synergy543
In Lecture 1-5, Jonathan Biss suggests listening to some additional sonatas, one of them being the Haydn Sonata in C major, Hob. 16_50. I have to admit that I've avoided Haydn and am not familiar with much of his music. However, on listening to this Sonata, and thinking of the context, in terms of influence on Beethoven and general development of the sonata form, this was most enlightening to me. I feel embarrassed that I've been in the dark all this time about, what now seems to me, very important and intriguing music. Whether Beethoven was influenced by this piece directly or not, its clear that the influence of Haydn was not as small as Beethoven implied. Its thrilling to discover new gems such as this. I'm so glad I'm taking this course.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYTkOgmqBvg

I think this piece was written in 1773 as far as I can tell from the chronological lists of Haydn's works, making it even more interesting as it was written before Beethoven's time (well, 3yrs old - so maybe he didn't have too much influence on the world yet).


It happens to be my favorite Haydn sonata. It's a lot of fun to play. It was actually written in 1794 and is probably the last of Haydn's piano sonatas.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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#2145944 - 09/07/13 06:43 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I finished watching the first lecture and was struck by the incomplete picture he painted of "How Things Were."

Listening to Biss, one might get the impression that Mozart and Haydn were the only important sonata composers of the 18th century and that Beethoven was solely responsible for the subsequent advances in piano writing. While Haydn and Mozart are the most highly regarded today, there was an extremely important group of composer-pianists working in London who were contemporaneous with Beethoven. This "London" school included pianists like Cramer, Dussek, Clementi, and Field. Beethoven would certainly have been familiar with these pianists and was influenced by them a great deal.

I mention this because Biss makes a point of saying that the later movements of the sonata began to gain much more weight under Beethoven's hand. However, if one looks at the Op. 9 and Op. 10 sonatas by Dussek (published in 1789, six years before Beethoven's Op. 2 appeared), one can see last movements already gaining importance. Take for example the stormy end to Dussek's G minor sonata, Op. 10#2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFjcT6eG7_A

(Interestingly enough, this sonata has only two movements. The first serves as something of an overture to the second.)

Another example would be Clementi's Op. 25#5, a very forward-looking three movement sonata, almost romantic in scope. The first movement is Allegro con espressione, the second is Lento e patetico, and the third is a weighty, fiery Presto. And it's in F# minor. The sonata appeared in 1790, also well ahead of Beethoven's Op. 2.

I say none of this to diminish the stature of Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven, but instead to elevate the stature of their contemporaries.

Biss's first lecture was titled "How Things Were." Being born 10 and 18 years before Beethoven and having been widely performed and published before the great master, Dussek and Clementi were a VERY important part of "how things were."


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2145962 - 09/07/13 07:10 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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But during Beethoven's lifetime piano recitals did not exist. Pianist would play for one another at each other homes or as part as a religious service but it was not common place for piano recitals until Chopin and Liszt some 15 years after Beethoven's death. I did not know this until the splendid Biss lecture.


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#2145992 - 09/07/13 08:15 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Solo piano recitals did not exist, but concerts that included piano music definitely did. Concert series like the Concert Spirituel in France and the Bach-Abel concerts in London were popular in the mid 18th century.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2147558 - 09/10/13 12:21 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
I finished watching the first lecture and was struck by the incomplete picture he painted of "How Things Were."

Listening to Biss, one might get the impression that Mozart and Haydn were the only important sonata composers of the 18th century and that Beethoven was solely responsible for the subsequent advances in piano writing. While Haydn and Mozart are the most highly regarded today, there was an extremely important group of composer-pianists working in London who were contemporaneous with Beethoven. This "London" school included pianists like Cramer, Dussek, Clementi, and Field. Beethoven would certainly have been familiar with these pianists and was influenced by them a great deal.

. . .

Biss's first lecture was titled "How Things Were." Being born 10 and 18 years before Beethoven and having been widely performed and published before the great master, Dussek and Clementi were a VERY important part of "how things were."


I wondered the same thing, but assumed that he left it out due to time constraints and possibly to cater to an audience which must contain many thousands of people who probably never heard of Haydn, much less Clementi or Dussek.

I agree it is rather irksome that these other composers are not even mentioned, though.

#2150127 - 09/14/13 04:33 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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This week's assignment is to compare and contrast your choice of early sonata with sonata #4, opus 7.

If you're doing the assignments, which sonata have you chosen and why?

I have chosen sonata #1 in F minor, for not much more reason than that it's first (apart from Opus 49).


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#2150269 - 09/14/13 10:02 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I chose the Pathetique simply because I really like it and, of course, because it's one Gould recorded....shush you laugh
Xxx


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#2150319 - 09/15/13 12:55 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I chose Op 27 No 1 because it's such a contrast to Op 7. And I really like it! grin

#2150322 - 09/15/13 01:08 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I think the point is not which sonata you chose, but how good your analysis and comparison is.

By the way, is Mr Biss going to be grading 32 thousand homework assignments every week? grin


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2150337 - 09/15/13 01:54 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Opus 14, No. 2, because it's the only one I have performed.

Anyone else still working on the report? I'm so slow when it comes to writing.


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#2150340 - 09/15/13 02:05 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: ChrisKeys]  
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Originally Posted by ChrisKeys
I chose Op 27 No 1 because it's such a contrast to Op 7. And I really like it! grin


Chris, are you sure that was on the "first thirteen" list according to Prof. Biss? I thought it included Nos. 1-11 and the two Leichte Sonaten, based on composition date rather than opus order.


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#2150458 - 09/15/13 09:11 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I think the point is not which sonata you chose, but how good your analysis and comparison is.

By the way, is Mr Biss going to be grading 32 thousand homework assignments every week? grin


No, it's peer-graded. That makes it hit-or-miss, but oh well...

And you're right, but since each sonata is so individual, it's fun discussing which one we picked/why we picked it.

#2150533 - 09/15/13 01:10 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I think the main value of the assignment is taking the time to think about it. Any feedback you get from the peer grading will be gravy.

[ETA: jmcintyre, I've barely started on the assignment. I've been listening to the sonatas (my choice #1 and Biss' choice #4) and now have to turn to the score to check my ideas. I have notes from the lectures so I'll be going through those point by point asking myself "same or different?" But I'm a fast writer, once I have my thoughts and evidence assembled.]

Polyphonist, I find it of interest why people choose the sonata they chose. Hence my question. After the due date, I'll be interested to hear what people discovered that they felt was interesting or notable.

Last edited by PianoStudent88; 09/15/13 01:17 PM.

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#2150899 - 09/15/13 10:48 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: ChrisKeys]  
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Originally Posted by ChrisKeys
I chose Op 27 No 1 because it's such a contrast to Op 7. And I really like it! grin

For what it's worth Chris,

You're supposed to pick one of the early sonatas, what he calls "the first 13 sonatas". It's a bit confusing the way he's referring to the numbering, but he means sonatas 1-11, 19, or 20. (19 and 20 were written in the same time period as the first 11.)

op.27/1 (sonata #13) is one of the "experimental" sonatas he's going to be talking about in the third week.


-J


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#2150937 - 09/15/13 11:49 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
And you're right, but since each sonata is so individual, it's fun discussing which one we picked/why we picked it.


So what'd you pick, OSK?


I'd rather be practicing wink
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#2150942 - 09/15/13 11:54 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: jmcintyre]  
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Originally Posted by jmcintyre
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
And you're right, but since each sonata is so individual, it's fun discussing which one we picked/why we picked it.


So what'd you pick, OSK?


Op. 22. One, because I played it. But also, I love it the most out of all the early sonatas. smile

#2151449 - 09/16/13 05:08 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by ChrisKeys
I chose Op 27 No 1 because it's such a contrast to Op 7. And I really like it! grin

For what it's worth Chris,

You're supposed to pick one of the early sonatas, what he calls "the first 13 sonatas". It's a bit confusing the way he's referring to the numbering, but he means sonatas 1-11, 19, or 20. (19 and 20 were written in the same time period as the first 11.)

op.27/1 (sonata #13) is one of the "experimental" sonatas he's going to be talking about in the third week.


-J


You know, I was carefully counting to make sure that Op.27 No 1 was among the first 13. But I had completely forgotten about his inclusion of the Op 49 sonatas among the first 13. (Sigh) Now I'll need to go back and pick another! Ironically I had originally chosen the Pastorale sonata #15, Op 28. Time to pick it up again. Thanks for catching this for me.

#2151458 - 09/16/13 05:22 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: ChrisKeys]  
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Originally Posted by ChrisKeys
Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by ChrisKeys
I chose Op 27 No 1 because it's such a contrast to Op 7. And I really like it! grin

For what it's worth Chris,

You're supposed to pick one of the early sonatas, what he calls "the first 13 sonatas". It's a bit confusing the way he's referring to the numbering, but he means sonatas 1-11, 19, or 20. (19 and 20 were written in the same time period as the first 11.)

op.27/1 (sonata #13) is one of the "experimental" sonatas he's going to be talking about in the third week.

-J


You know, I was carefully counting to make sure that Op.27 No 1 was among the first 13. But I had completely forgotten about his inclusion of the Op 49 sonatas among the first 13. (Sigh) Now I'll need to go back and pick another! Ironically I had originally chosen the Pastorale sonata #15, Op 28. Time to pick it up again. Thanks for catching this for me.



No problem, though when you say "time to pick it up again", I hope you don't mean you're going to choose op.28, because that's not one of the early ones either!

The larger point is this: Sonata op.22 (usually called #11, but maybe here Biss is calling it "the 13th sonata", I don't know) is usually looked on as Beethoven's last "early" sonata. One that looks back and embraces all the traditional forms. The next ones-- including op.27 and 28-- become more experimental in different ways, and perhaps begin Beethoven's "middle" period.

Good luck--

-J



Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2151469 - 09/16/13 05:33 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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No, picking a different one: Op 10 No 3 in D major, (#7).

#2151716 - 09/16/13 11:47 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I picked Op. 2 No. 2 in A Major because I've lately been falling in love with it and wanted to be more familiar with it! I've played Op. 7 but never Op. 2 No. 2 although one of these days I'd like to...

#2151731 - 09/17/13 12:09 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: bellamusica]  
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Originally Posted by bellamusica
I picked Op. 2 No. 2 in A Major because I've lately been falling in love with it and wanted to be more familiar with it! I've played Op. 7 but never Op. 2 No. 2 although one of these days I'd like to...


I've been working on it all summer, and now it's coming together. The first movement is tough because it moves so rapidly. The Largo is astonishing, and it's unlike anything else Beethoven wrote, especially in its coda (which lasts for 1/3 of the piece!). And the last movement-- beautiful, graceful, a little rambling-- is a lot of fun to lose yourself in.

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2151735 - 09/17/13 12:17 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by bellamusica
I picked Op. 2 No. 2 in A Major because I've lately been falling in love with it and wanted to be more familiar with it! I've played Op. 7 but never Op. 2 No. 2 although one of these days I'd like to...


I've been working on it all summer, and now it's coming together. The first movement is tough because it moves so rapidly. The Largo is astonishing, and it's unlike anything else Beethoven wrote, especially in its coda (which lasts for 1/3 of the piece!). And the last movement-- beautiful, graceful, a little rambling-- is a lot of fun to lose yourself in.

-Jason


That's great (I'm jealous)! You should add Op. 7 to your Beethoven journey... it's very rewarding to play. The last movement is a bit similar in some ways to that of 2/2 - grazioso, charming, and utterly delightful! smile

#2151767 - 09/17/13 01:19 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: bellamusica]  
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Originally Posted by bellamusica
Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by bellamusica
I picked Op. 2 No. 2 in A Major because I've lately been falling in love with it and wanted to be more familiar with it! I've played Op. 7 but never Op. 2 No. 2 although one of these days I'd like to...


I've been working on it all summer, and now it's coming together. The first movement is tough because it moves so rapidly. The Largo is astonishing, and it's unlike anything else Beethoven wrote, especially in its coda (which lasts for 1/3 of the piece!). And the last movement-- beautiful, graceful, a little rambling-- is a lot of fun to lose yourself in.

-Jason


That's great (I'm jealous)! You should add Op. 7 to your Beethoven journey... it's very rewarding to play. The last movement is a bit similar in some ways to that of 2/2 - grazioso, charming, and utterly delightful! smile


Yes, op.7 is awesome. I was thinking of including it, and I talked about it with my teacher... but I finally decided that the last movement was, indeed, a little too much like 2/2's, and I wanted more overall opus number variety (instead of doing large-scale sonatas from "opera" 2 and 4)

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2152112 - 09/17/13 12:03 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by bellamusica
Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by bellamusica
I picked Op. 2 No. 2 in A Major because I've lately been falling in love with it and wanted to be more familiar with it! I've played Op. 7 but never Op. 2 No. 2 although one of these days I'd like to...


I've been working on it all summer, and now it's coming together. The first movement is tough because it moves so rapidly. The Largo is astonishing, and it's unlike anything else Beethoven wrote, especially in its coda (which lasts for 1/3 of the piece!). And the last movement-- beautiful, graceful, a little rambling-- is a lot of fun to lose yourself in.

-Jason


That's great (I'm jealous)! You should add Op. 7 to your Beethoven journey... it's very rewarding to play. The last movement is a bit similar in some ways to that of 2/2 - grazioso, charming, and utterly delightful! smile


Yes, op.7 is awesome. I was thinking of including it, and I talked about it with my teacher... but I finally decided that the last movement was, indeed, a little too much like 2/2's, and I wanted more overall opus number variety (instead of doing large-scale sonatas from "opera" 2 and 4)

-J


Ah, well that's a good plan. Impossible to go wrong choosing any of the Beethoven sonatas!

#2152549 - 09/17/13 10:00 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Jason - you've some really wonderful sonatas. I wish I had the energy to learn lots of Beethoven: for me, at least, it's absolutely excruciating to wrap my hands around his music, and polishing it? nightmarish! I suppose it's like Bach or Schoenberg: the deeper you explore, the more beauties you see - and the more clearly you perceive your flaws.

#2152624 - 09/17/13 11:34 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: AldenH]  
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Originally Posted by AldenH
Jason - you've some really wonderful sonatas. I wish I had the energy to learn lots of Beethoven: for me, at least, it's absolutely excruciating to wrap my hands around his music, and polishing it? nightmarish! I suppose it's like Bach or Schoenberg: the deeper you explore, the more beauties you see - and the more clearly you perceive your flaws.

The only flaw is letting fear stop you; time constraints, fine, no instrument, I'll accept, but fear of not doing it justice? Pfft laugh I mean, um, play what your heart tells you to play and always remember: the most saccharine views are afforded by the treacherous and wearisome journeys of the soul; to be graced with facility is not to adorn oneself with beauty, it does not grant you the map or carry you the right way, only your heart can perform such tasks and, if we let it, it will do so willingly and gently, without fanfare or aplomb, trailing humour and accomplishment within its wake....or something....*cough*...
Xxx


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
#2153717 - 09/19/13 11:52 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: FSO]  
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Originally Posted by FSO
Originally Posted by AldenH
Jason - you've some really wonderful sonatas. I wish I had the energy to learn lots of Beethoven: for me, at least, it's absolutely excruciating to wrap my hands around his music, and polishing it? nightmarish! I suppose it's like Bach or Schoenberg: the deeper you explore, the more beauties you see - and the more clearly you perceive your flaws.

The only flaw is letting fear stop you; time constraints, fine, no instrument, I'll accept, but fear of not doing it justice? Pfft laugh I mean, um, play what your heart tells you to play and always remember: the most saccharine views are afforded by the treacherous and wearisome journeys of the soul; to be graced with facility is not to adorn oneself with beauty, it does not grant you the map or carry you the right way, only your heart can perform such tasks and, if we let it, it will do so willingly and gently, without fanfare or aplomb, trailing humour and accomplishment within its wake....or something....*cough*...
Xxx


For what it's worth, my piano teacher always told me to learn as much repertoire as I could while I was young, even if I felt I couldn't get it perfect yet. He said it gets harder and harder to memorize new repertoire as you get older, but once you've learned a piece you can spend the rest of your life polishing it!

#2154134 - 09/20/13 12:26 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Article on BBC Culture:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130917-music-education-for-the-masses

And yours truly may possibly have been quoted within it. grin

#2154931 - 09/21/13 09:17 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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That's an encouraging article. I'm glad to hear about the quantity and quality and variety of the students. (I'm one of those who have noodled through all the Beethoven sonatas and actually performed several of them.) This is a great course!

#2156349 - 09/23/13 06:13 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Does Coursera have some sort of archive for past courses online?



[Linked Image]

Music is my best friend.


#2156357 - 09/23/13 06:28 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: ChopinAddict]  
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Does Coursera have some sort of archive for past courses online?

I don't think so. Not only that, you can't even register for a course (and view its videos) once it's been ongoing for a certain period of time.

I think they're trying to promote the idea of active course-taking, as opposed to being a repository of material, like Kahn Academy and YouTube.

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2156360 - 09/23/13 06:34 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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I can see their point, although it would be nice. smile



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#2156422 - 09/23/13 08:28 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: ChopinAddict]  
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I can see their point, although it would be nice. smile


ChopinAddict, it is not difficult to download the subtitles from these videos. If you'd like, I can give you complete transcripts, although the musical examples won't be there... Of course, you can have Beethoven sonatas loaded up ready to stream and play the excerpts at their respective points of the lectures that way!

#2156428 - 09/23/13 08:46 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I can see their point, although it would be nice. smile


ChopinAddict, it is not difficult to download the subtitles from these videos. If you'd like, I can give you complete transcripts, although the musical examples won't be there... Of course, you can have Beethoven sonatas loaded up ready to stream and play the excerpts at their respective points of the lectures that way!


Thanks, OSK. That would be great whenever you have the time. thumb smile

PS: I have the complete sonatas played by Barenboim. laugh



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#2160381 - 10/01/13 09:08 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I'm catching up on my Biss lectures...

In week 3 ("New Paths"), he says that, like op.26, op.27/1 has the property that none of its movements is in sonata form. In fact, the point is even restated as the review question at the end of the lecture.

In what way is the last movement not in sonata form?


-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2160521 - 10/01/13 03:27 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
I'm catching up on my Biss lectures...

In week 3 ("New Paths"), he says that, like op.26, op.27/1 has the property that none of its movements is in sonata form. In fact, the point is even restated as the review question at the end of the lecture.

In what way is the last movement not in sonata form?


-J


Could an argument be made for sonata-rondo form that would satisfy both your and his perceptions?

Last edited by MarkH; 10/01/13 03:28 PM.
#2160530 - 10/01/13 04:05 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: MarkH]  
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Originally Posted by MarkH
Originally Posted by beet31425
I'm catching up on my Biss lectures...

In week 3 ("New Paths"), he says that, like op.26, op.27/1 has the property that none of its movements is in sonata form. In fact, the point is even restated as the review question at the end of the lecture.

In what way is the last movement not in sonata form?


-J


Could an argument be made for sonata-rondo form that would satisfy both your and his perceptions?


I have no problem calling this a sonata-rondo; I'd have had no problem if he'd said this has rondo form. My problem was that he specifically said it was not in sonata form!

(But then, he went on to talk about how the first movement of op.27/2 was in sonata form, and gave several reasons why its sonata form is a bit hidden. This was satisfying to me, since I'd had arguments on the form of that movement on this forum before!)

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2160595 - 10/01/13 08:24 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
(But then, he went on to talk about how the first movement of op.27/2 was in sonata form, and gave several reasons why its sonata form is a bit hidden. This was satisfying to me, since I'd had arguments on the form of that movement on this forum before!)

-J


I missed this part. Do you happen to remember which section it was in?

#2160616 - 10/01/13 09:31 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by MarkH
Originally Posted by beet31425
I'm catching up on my Biss lectures...

In week 3 ("New Paths"), he says that, like op.26, op.27/1 has the property that none of its movements is in sonata form. In fact, the point is even restated as the review question at the end of the lecture.

In what way is the last movement not in sonata form?


-J


Could an argument be made for sonata-rondo form that would satisfy both your and his perceptions?


I have no problem calling this a sonata-rondo; I'd have had no problem if he'd said this has rondo form. My problem was that he specifically said it was not in sonata form!

(But then, he went on to talk about how the first movement of op.27/2 was in sonata form, and gave several reasons why its sonata form is a bit hidden. This was satisfying to me, since I'd had arguments on the form of that movement on this forum before!)

-J

What is the uncertainty here? The form is fairly straightforward sonata-rondo, with a coda. So it can't be sonata (i.e. sonata-allegro) form.

edit: the theme returns after the 1st episode in the tonic. That's the main distinguishing factor.

Last edited by Ferdinand; 10/01/13 09:33 PM.
#2160673 - 10/02/13 12:08 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: AnneJ]  
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Originally Posted by AnneJ
Originally Posted by beet31425
(But then, he went on to talk about how the first movement of op.27/2 was in sonata form, and gave several reasons why its sonata form is a bit hidden. This was satisfying to me, since I'd had arguments on the form of that movement on this forum before!)

-J


I missed this part. Do you happen to remember which section it was in?


It was in whichever lecture he devoted to 27/2; I think the second-to-last video from the third week.

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2160679 - 10/02/13 12:30 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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I thoroughly enjoyed his course. I wish he would add on Opus 106 and 111.


Serge P. Marinkovic, MD

#2164465 - 10/10/13 02:12 PM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Ferdinand]  
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Originally Posted by Ferdinand
Originally Posted by beet31425
In week 3 ("New Paths"), he says that, like op.26, op.27/1 has the property that none of its movements is in sonata form. In fact, the point is even restated as the review question at the end of the lecture.

In what way is the last movement not in sonata form?


-J

What is the uncertainty here? The form is fairly straightforward sonata-rondo, with a coda. So it can't be sonata (i.e. sonata-allegro) form.

edit: the theme returns after the 1st episode in the tonic. That's the main distinguishing factor.


"What's the uncertainty?" So few things in music are completely certain... surely the exact difference between "sonata-rondo" vs. "sonata" is not one of them.

At any rate, if you claim the last movement of 27/1 isn't sonata form because the return of the theme (in what would be the "development") is in the tonic, you're going to run into trouble. The same thing happens in the first movements of op.31/1 and 31/3! Granted, in those cases, less of the theme is heard before the "development" starts happening, compared to the last movement of op.27/1. But now we're in ambiguous waters.

I say: the last movement of op.27/1 is in sonata-rondo form, and also in sonata form. (Which anyway is necessary for the statement people sometimes make, that op.26 is the only Beethoven sonata with no movement in sonata form.)


-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#2164678 - 10/11/13 12:44 AM Re: Jonathan Biss Beethoven Course [Re: Kreisler]  
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Weird... I'm catching up on week 4 now, and once again, not only did Biss say something I immediately realized was wrong, but he repeated that wrong statement as the end-of-the-lecture review quiz!

The statement was that op.78 is the only sonata of the 32 whose first movement repeats the development-recap.

Enjoying the lectures, though. smile

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
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