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#435218 - 02/04/02 12:14 PM New Love  
Joined: Aug 2001
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Rick Offline
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Rick  Offline
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Chicago
I may be asking for trouble, but I have suddenly and mysteriously fallen in love with many of Beethoven's sonatas. When I first started playing (just over 3 years ago), the thing that really won me over to classical music was my trying to struggle through his easiest sonata (op. 49, no. 2). The music just had a quality, or substance, that I wasn't used to hearing in popular music, and I've been hooked since. But after a few months I gravitated heavily towards Chopin, and now I play many of his pieces. Oh yeah, it's been a struggle, but I've advanced pretty far.

To The Point: The Tempest (op. 31, no. 2) is my favorite, and I want to play it. How difficult would you say it is, compared with most of the other "middle and early period" sonatas of Beethoven?? I've gone back to the easy one (op. 49) too, and find it much, much easier than when I first struggled with it. I have already played thru the first 7 pages of Tempest, and they went much better than I expected. Last question: Are there certain measures in it that would likely be a "showstopper" for me?? (i.e., insurmountable). Thanks in advance.

Rick

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#435219 - 02/04/02 02:15 PM Re: New Love  
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Stanza Offline
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Chapel Hill, NC
Rick, I know what you mean. Like so many, I took lessons as a kid and got back into piano as an adult. I have played the Moonlight Sonata #1 for years. Recently, I went to my public library and checked out a piano CD that had 3 Beethovan sonatas on it. I had never heard the Moonlight 3rd movement until then. I was totally taken with it. It is such classic Beethovan! I am in the process of learning it now. Maybe it is a little beyond me but my piano teacher okayed it. I'll play the first page for him tomorrow night, and I am looking forward to his help on getting the speed up (gradually I'm sure).
One thing I do know, by working hard on difficult pieces, you get the strength and confidence to expand your boundaries. In the future I plan on learning the Pathetique, which is also outstanding. laugh


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#435220 - 02/04/02 04:36 PM Re: New Love  
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MacDuff Offline
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The last mvt. of the "Tempest" is difficult and somewhat tiring because of the unrelenting sixteenth note texture (mistakes will stick out prominently). The slow mvt. needs a sense of forward motion to keep it from getting bogged down. The first mvt., IMO easiest of the three, has the famous recitatives marked largo (at the recapitulation) that Beethoven indicated should be pedalled throughout. This blurs too much on the modern piano, and people disagree as to just how one should pedal these passages.

There are lots of little irksome problems that spring up in this as it works up to tempo in practice. I would rate it about 7 out of 10 on the Beethoven sonata difficulty scale.

#435221 - 02/04/02 05:10 PM Re: New Love  
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Diarmuid Offline
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Agree 100% with McDuff. I learnt the last mvt a few years ago, but I never had the stamina to bring it off. I was running throught it again recently and the lactic acid build up was just too much for me.

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#435222 - 02/05/02 10:04 AM Re: New Love  
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magnezium Offline
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Singapore
ah you have fallen in love with Tempest. There's no turning back. Even if everyone tells you it is way beyond your ability you're going to want to play it anyway. And if you try to delay getting to work on it it'll haunt you... haha... Tempest is my favourite too... smile

Anyway, I think Tempest is a lot more difficult musically than it is technically, though it is rather demanding technically as well. One point to note: you might tend to rush a little in the 3rd movement, and this will get you tired out very easily and musicality will be lost... do watch out for that... anyway, I am of the opinion that it should be played slightly slower than how most pianists play it today... it's only marked allegretto, not presto or prestissimo...

have fun!! smile

#435223 - 02/05/02 02:03 PM Re: New Love  
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Rick Offline
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Rick  Offline
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Chicago
Stanza, thanks for the response. Yes, I like Pathetique very much too (even the name, though he probably didn't coin that). I wish you the best in your efforts to learn the Moonlight (esp. that last movement!).

Thanks for your advice Macduff, and wonderful encouragement Magnezium. Reviewing my original post, I may have exaggerated a bit. When I fought through the first mvmt, it went a LITTLE better than I expected, not a lot. This is not going to be easy. One tends to lose perspective over time, but it hopefully will be no more difficult now than attempting Chopin's first nocturne after only 8 months of playing. That was an incredible struggle! BTW, I did, like Stanza, take lessons as a kid, but hated it after the first year.

To me, it's amazing how the first and 3rd movements of Tempest sound so similar. Yet when I start to really "compare" them, they are totally different! Aren't they?? Pardon my lack of music theory knowledge.

#435224 - 02/05/02 06:50 PM Re: New Love  
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Diarmuid Offline
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Diarmuid  Offline
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Patronising as ever Mag. I'd really like to hear your 3rd mvt. And by "most pianists", who do you refer to? I mean all those modern concert pianists. Such philistines. No taste. Please, tell us how it should be played.

#435225 - 02/06/02 03:35 PM Re: New Love  
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ryan Offline
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ryan  Offline
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Colorado
I have been thinking the same thing. Many pianists that I hear play the "Moonlight" sonata take the first movement slower and the second two movements faster than I would. The first movement is an adagio, the second an allegretto, and the first is actually a Presto and not allegretto. This is off the top of my head, so it might not be completely accurate. But based on metronome markings that Beethoven left in other works (including the 9th symphony), the first movement should be no slower than 60mm, the second around 70 or 80mm (which I take per measure, not beat), and the third around 120mm. Playing the movements too fast and/or slow distorts the overall characteristics of the music, at least in my opinion. As usual, YMMV smile

Ryan

#435226 - 02/07/02 07:58 AM Re: New Love  
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magnezium Offline
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magnezium  Offline
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Singapore
Quote
Originally posted by Diarmuid:
Patronising as ever Mag. I'd really like to hear your 3rd mvt. And by "most pianists", who do you refer to? I mean all those modern concert pianists. Such philistines. No taste. Please, tell us how it should be played.


very sorry if I sound patronising or rude, I guess I can't really express what I want to say well...

I haven't been able to get hold of many recordings of Tempest but I can tell you I definitely hate Glenn Gould in the last movement. I've heard Richard Goode's too. At 6'11, a little too fast for me as well. So far I think I like Richter's and Ashkenazy's recordings the best. Both of them do the last movement in about 7 minutes. I just timed mine, about 7'15 to 7'20.

But I guess it's not so much the speed alone but also the mood that comes across? When some of my friends play it I'm reminded of Appassionata's final movement, which I think should not be the case. I think the ending of Tempest is more of looking back to the tragedy in pity and regret rather than being caught in the storm of it. It isn't really a fury, more of agitation maybe. Gosh again I can't say what I really want to say... frown anyway this is just the opinion of a very amateur player with little exposure or taste.

But haha I think you really wouldn't like to hear mine... even though it's not rushed, it's nothing like how I want it to sound... frown

what are your opinions on how it should sound?

[ February 07, 2002: Message edited by: magnezium ]

#435227 - 02/07/02 10:29 AM Re: New Love  
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Diarmuid Offline
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I lean more towards the school of thought that says there is no right or wrong in this area. Just good art and bad art.

For me, whether a fast rendition of the 3rd mvt works or not depends on the artist, the performance and it's context within the piece.

Vague, I know, but I don't care, and I'm hungover, and I had an awful night last night, and I'm tired, spaced out and ****ed off laugh

#435228 - 02/08/02 12:40 AM Re: New Love  
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ryan Offline
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Colorado
Wow, talk about posting totally off topic - I am not sure why I thought you guys were talking about the "Moonlight" sonata:0

While the last movement of the "Tempest" sonata is Allegretto, it is in 3/8 time and to me it feels best when felt one beat per measure. At 70mm it moves at a pretty good clip. If you felt it as three beats per measure, 70mm to 80mm would be unbearably slow...

Ryan


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