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Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420749
04/02/06 01:40 AM
04/02/06 01:40 AM
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Xj819333 Offline OP
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Arguably my personal favorite work for the piano, especially the 3rd movement. Actually, I had a question about it - I was planning on learning it, and have galnced at the sheet music - it didn't look toooo difficult, but I could be wrong. To anyone who knows how to play it, where would you rate it in terms of difficulty? Any tip, tricks, advice, or stories you wish to share about it?

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Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420750
04/02/06 01:48 AM
04/02/06 01:48 AM
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pianojerome Offline
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I remember the first time I heard this sonata. It was about 4 years ago; I had just gotten a Wilhelm Kempff recording of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas, and I was walking around in my room, listening to different sonatas, fantasizing that I myself was playing them. For some reason, when I turned on the Tempest Sonata, I started to imagine that I was playing it at a carnival of some sort, and everybody was crowded around me watching the "wunderkind" play Beethoven. :rolleyes:

It was immediately one of my favorites.

Somehow I remember that. Don't ask me how.


Sam
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420751
04/02/06 01:54 AM
04/02/06 01:54 AM
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signa Offline
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it's not too difficult, but there're some tricky passages. depending on how good your level is, it's definitely worth trying. i was not even advanced player myself when i started learning it, but it took me pretty long time to learn the piece and be able to play at least decent with tempo, dynamic and pedalling (not without mistakes though).

personally, i find the modulation passages in development section the most difficult to play and memorize, and also some double note theme variation passages.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420752
04/02/06 02:37 AM
04/02/06 02:37 AM
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I found the pages right after the repeat in the 3rd movement to be the roughest (until the theme recap in Bbm [or equivalent]). Everything else fit rather nicely...or 'nicely enough'.

I think the most important aspect of this piece is which notes to bring out of the score, and it depends on what you want to portray. I tend to play the first movement with some gypsy elements in them because of the rhythmic off-beat in the left hand (immediately after the initial tremolos). And I really like emphasizing certain offbeats in the first movement. The third movement tends to be more tranquil. I tend to bring out the last note in 'any 4-note group' (like the first four), the root of a chord in an arpeggio (like the D the left hand plays at the beginning), and then any rhythmic elements I hear throughout. I tend to make it a little more of a triplet feel in some places, bringing out the first of every group of three instead of six, to make it a little 'lighter' (emotionally, not dynamically). And there are a few places I get a little furious (LH melody is usually a little more 'intense' in my ear).


Stories? Sure, plenty. But it's closing time. I have to go to sleep. Ask me later. wink

Hope it's a good start. smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420753
04/02/06 07:51 AM
04/02/06 07:51 AM
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Phlebas Offline
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Of the 32 sonatas, I would put it in the middle in terms of difficulty, but it's still an advanced piece. The main difficulties are bringing out the contrasting characteristics, tremelos and 2 note slurs in the 1st movement, rhythm in second movement. The third movement does not have many difficulties, but you need to use some rotation, and - as Kreisler said in a previous thread - pay attention to Beethoven's tempo marking.

Of the Beethoven sonatas I've played, I had the easiest time with this one.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420754
04/02/06 08:07 AM
04/02/06 08:07 AM
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I listened to different recordings when I studied it, ranging from Ashekenazy through Barenboim via John Lill to Glenn Gould - and I might as well have been listening to four different compositions. The beauty of it is that that sonata - especially the last movement - can be whatever you want it to be! I found the modulations to be the difficult part, but I'm not an analytical player so don't automatically define the chords in my head, which I think would help, especially if you want to memorise it.


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Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420755
04/02/06 12:14 PM
04/02/06 12:14 PM
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Of the Beethoven Sonatas I played the final result was better than other Sonatas I've played. But it still took a lot of work to get those tremolos in the first movement and the third movement up to tempo.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420756
04/02/06 01:14 PM
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Inge Skauvik Offline
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And nobody have difficulties with the figures in the left hand in the last measures of the first movement?

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420757
04/02/06 04:21 PM
04/02/06 04:21 PM
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how does the Tempest compare to the other Op.31 sonatas in terms of difficulty?


i thought i heard my washing machine playing Ondine
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420758
04/02/06 05:05 PM
04/02/06 05:05 PM
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Matthew Collett Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Inge Skauvik:
And nobody have difficulties with the figures in the left hand in the last measures of the first movement?
That depends what you mean. Once you have the fingering sorted out, the notes are not difficult to play (unless perhaps you are trying to go too fast), but if you don't have careful control of pedalling and dynamics they can get very muddy. Although pedal is explicitly marked, on a modern instrument partial pedalling is probably enough.

Best wishes,
Matthew


"Passions, violent or not, may never be expressed to the point of revulsion; even in the most frightening situation music must never offend the ear but must even then offer enjoyment, i.e. must always remain music." -- W.A.Mozart

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Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420759
04/02/06 07:11 PM
04/02/06 07:11 PM
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Phlebas Offline
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Not having studied all three, I would say that 31/1 is the most difficult, but 31/3 has a pretty difficult scherzo (the last movement is fun to play). They are all in the same neighborhood. Maybe someone who played/taught all 3 would have a different opinion though.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420760
04/02/06 11:11 PM
04/02/06 11:11 PM
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I remember performing the Tempest at a very posh Georgian Colonial style mansion when I was a very young fellow (in the days when I memorized everything)! The house was so huge and unusually shaped that it made a bigger impression on me than the performance. The music room was immense, and I remember walking down a short staircase to make my 'entrance'. Of course I was nervous.

I also recall that I took a day off from school in order to perform on this program (I was so thankful for those opportunities, for a variety of reasons)! smile

I remember being afraid of the modulations in the last movement - what key am I supposed to be in now? eek It always seemed that I would decide on the key at the split second before having to play each passage. Unnerving, but at least I got all of the keys in the correct order...


M&H "A" at home
Bösendorfer Imperial
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420761
04/03/06 12:44 AM
04/03/06 12:44 AM
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Oleo Offline
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"how does the Tempest compare to the other Op.31 sonatas in terms of difficulty?"

These things are higly subjective and my list in order of difficulty
would be:

1.op.31 no.3
2.op 31 no 1
3.op 31 no 2


Here is my list of the 32 in order of difficulty. I would be curious to see other people's:

1. Op. 49 no. 2
2. Op. 49 no. 1
3. Op. 79
4. Op. 14 no. 2
5. Op. 14 no. 1
6. Op. 2 no. 1
7. Op. 10 no. 1
8. Op. 10 no. 2
9. Op. 2. no. 2
10. Op. 2 no. 3
11. Op. 10 no. 3
12. Op. 13 (Pathetique)
13. Op. 22
14. Op. 28 (Pastorale)
15. Op. 7
16. Op. 78
17. Op. 26
18. Op. 31 no. 3
19. Op. 31 no. 1
20. Op. 90
21. Op. 27 no. 1
22. Op. 27 no. 2 (Moonlight)
23. Op. 54
24. Op. 31 no. 2 (Tempest)
25. Op. 53 (Waldstein)
26. Op. 81 (Les Adieux)
27. Op. 57 (Appasionata)
28. Op. 101
29. Op. 110
30. Op. 109
31. Op. 111
32. Op. 106 (Hammerklavier)

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420762
04/03/06 01:07 AM
04/03/06 01:07 AM
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whippen boy Offline
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Hmm, I think op.10 no.3 (D major) might be a bit higher on the list?

Hard to say.


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Bösendorfer Imperial
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420763
04/03/06 01:50 AM
04/03/06 01:50 AM
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Oleo Offline
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You may well be right.

So where would you put it in the general scheme?

Now, if you go to a party and people ask you to play a Beethoven sonata, chances are that Op. 10. #3, op. 7, op. 27#1, op. 31 #1 and op. 31 #3 will be unknown pieces. But start the Moonlight or the Tempest, and smiles of recognition will go around the room.

I submit that it is their very popularity (and the related fact that some of the greatest pianist in history have recorded them) that make these sonatas extremely difficult to play well, and that you will have to add to their technical and musical difficulty the psychological difficulty of comparison with much better pianists (certainly much better than me). Worse still, because people know them, this immediately turns them (in their minds at least) into music critics. Plus you may have to contend with people who may be bored to tears with these well known sonatas, and therefore you would have to play them extraordinarily well to have any sort of impact. The other sonatas quoted would require far less effort to produce a far greater impact.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420764
04/03/06 06:10 AM
04/03/06 06:10 AM
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Phlebas Offline
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This is a ranking I posted about 3 years ago, and it was just after I strted playing again after a break of about 15 years, and so would definately change a few of them now. (I should redo the list, and post it.)

Oleo, I would definately say op 7 is more difficult than 31/2, and 27/1 is more difficult than 27/2. I understand what you're saying about the popular sonatas, but I think that may be complicating the issue too much.

1 - Op 49#2
2 - Op 49#1
3 - Op 14#1
4 - Op 2#1
5 - Op 79
6 - Op 10#1
7 - Op 14#2
8 - Op 10#2
9 - Op 26
10 - Op 13 "Pathetique"
11 - Op 54
12 - Op 27#2 "Moonlight"
13 - Op 28 "Pastoral"
14 - Op 31#3
15 - Op 78
16 - Op 31#2 "Tempest"
17 - Op. 22
18 - Op 2#3
19 - Op 2#2
20 - Op 90
21 - Op 31#1
22 - Op 27#1
23 - Op 10#3
24 - Op 7
25 - Op 110
26 - Op 57 "Appasionata"
27 - Op 109
28 - Op 81a "Les Adieux"
29 - Op 53 "Waldstein"
30 - Op 111
31 - Op 101
32 - Op 106 "Hammerklavier"

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420765
04/03/06 08:25 AM
04/03/06 08:25 AM
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Victoria, BC
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Quote
Originally posted by Oleo:

Now, if you go to a party and people ask you to play a Beethoven sonata,
I guess I don't get invited to enough parties! frown


BruceD
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Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420766
04/03/06 11:34 AM
04/03/06 11:34 AM
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whippen boy Offline
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Wow, Op10 No3 went from #11 in Oleo's list all the way up to #23 in Phlebas's list!

I always did think it was rather tricky, but I'm not sure where I would place it - especially since I don't play all the Sonatas. There are so many subjective things to consider when making a list like this.


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Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420767
04/03/06 12:22 PM
04/03/06 12:22 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Xj819333:
Arguably my personal favorite work for the piano, especially the 3rd movement. Actually, I had a question about it - I was planning on learning it, and have galnced at the sheet music - it didn't look toooo difficult, but I could be wrong. To anyone who knows how to play it, where would you rate it in terms of difficulty? Any tip, tricks, advice, or stories you wish to share about it?
It is difficult enough that if you seriously need someone else to tell you how difficult it is, it is very difficult. Forget about that and just start working on it.

Get a good score, as this one is often the victim of serious printing errors. I favor Schenker's (which is available very cheap from Dover) over the more expensive Henle (of which there are two, the latter better than the former). Also worth consulting are Schnabel and Arrau, both from Peters.

This was written around the time Beethoven wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament, so you should become acquainted with that document.

http://www.maurice-abravanel.com/beethoven_testament.html

I find no relation to Shakespeare's Tempest, but that is worthwhile reading on his own accord, so by all means, please.

Consider that Beethoven's pianos sustained toned much less than modern ones, but at the same time that sound blurring is not alien to the music of the period. It is a particularly Viennese sound.

Think orchestrally, particularly in the middle mov.


I have no affiliation with Bluthner, I just like their pianos a lot.
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420768
04/03/06 01:17 PM
04/03/06 01:17 PM
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My list is the order I would suggest to someone wishing to learn all of them. Both musical and technical difficulty are considered, and I am also having in mind playing them as close to perfection as possible. I guess that these lists have more to do with one’s personal perception of difficulty rather than any intrinsic difficulty of the piece itself.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420769
04/04/06 12:32 PM
04/04/06 12:32 PM
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Requiem Aeternam Offline
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So how do you guys play the tremolos in the beginning, I just started this sonata.

What is the "right" way to play it and what is the "better" way? Do you cross over hands or do you switch with left taking over the tremolo while right hand plays the melody???


"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420770
04/04/06 12:59 PM
04/04/06 12:59 PM
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Also since this is my favorite sonata of all time and possibly my favorite piano work of all time I want to ask if anyone knows more history about it in light of Bluthner bringing up that he finds no relation to shakespeare.

The only significant thing I know is that I have read allegedly Czerny (Beethoven's pupil) said that the famous 3rd movement of the tempest was written when Beethoven was improvising on the piano and a horse galloped by in front of the window and that gave Beethoven an idea and he began to improvise that syncopated theme that is remniscient of a horse running if you think about it.


"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" #420771
04/04/06 05:35 PM
04/04/06 05:35 PM
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Hi RA,
I have studied this sonata for a long time and know it well. For the 1st movement tremolo part, I use left hand for all the melodies. The exception is the first two arpeggios, the first time this appears in the first movement- measures 21-28. Here, I still play the tremolo with the rh, but the difference is for the whole note tied for 3 measures, I play with the left hand, and then switch to my right hand thumb, so it can sustain while the left hand plays the upper melody. Hope that's intelligible. I find you get greater consistency using the rh for all the tremolos, and the lh for all the melody.
As far as inspirations, I too have read the Shakespeare, and cannot find any connection as far as character of the piece, or the structure. I've heard the anecdote about the galloping horse before, and I think that's a nice image for the last movement.

Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" [Re: Xj819333] #2493661
12/25/15 03:08 PM
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How do you keep the right hand steady in the tremolo part?


-H.L.G.
Re: Beethoven - Sonata 17 "The Tempest" [Re: Xj819333] #2495514
12/31/15 09:27 AM
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Check out Barenboim's Masterclasses on Beethoven Piano Sonatas. He coached someone the 1st movement of Tempest.

Personally, I think the 2nd movement is most difficult. It is slow. One needs to bring his/her musical skills out to keep the audience's attention. The arpeggio passages require long practice.



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