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Joined: Nov 2015
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Hank M Offline OP
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...how much is too much?

This is the time of year that I review the schedule of concerts for next season and decide which ones I'll attend. The first list I review is the piano series sponsored by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. As in past years, there are many fine pianists on the list, so narrowing the choices comes down to examining their announced programs. And that's where I noticed something peculiar: nearly all have listed late Beethoven--the three last sonatas and the Diabelli Variations--on their programs. Here's the breakdown:

Op. 109: Mitsuko Uchida, Imogen Cooper
Op. 110: Uchida, Jonathan Biss, Dynasty Battles
Op. 111: Uchida, Cooper, Jeremy Denk
Diabelli Variations: Shai Wosner, Richard Goode

I've never seen anything like this in over 20 years of attending this recital series. I love all these pieces, but for me, repetition diminishes the enjoyment. Any comments or suggestions?

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That's probably because none of the pianists are Russian (for obvious reasons) or French.

Or they missed out on the Beethoven year during the pandemic, and need to perform what they learnt, otherwise it would all have been in vain......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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What can we say ... coincidence ? or a late effect of Beethoven's year ? I typically anyway find that programs often lack variety ....


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The local pianist Stewart Goodyear is a Beethoven fan. A few years ago he played through all the Beethoven sonatas in a series of concerts. And recently performed piano arrangements of Beethoven 9 symphonies. Of course he play other pieces but Beethoven is his specialty.

The other Canadian pianists Glenn Gould & Angela Hewitt are known for their performances of Bach pieces.

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Just be grateful that the "must play D.960, like everybody else" fad is fading.

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I remember there were at meant to be at least two complete cycles of the Beethoven sonatas and piano concertos in 2020 in London, which were cancelled. One included all the Bagatelles, the Diabelli Varations, and probably the Variations on Rule Britannia and God Save the King/Queen (as encores of course smirk ). Goodness knows what got cancelled in Bonn - a whole lot, including Beethoven's 10th (symphony, that is).
So, we are now reaping the rewards(?) for waiting two years, but as we know, good things come to those who wait.

But never mind, there's another Beethoven anniversary in 2027 - a much bigger one (if we can wait that long, and the Earth is still around, as well as round). Judging by what happened in 1991 with Mozart (does anybody remember?), and I still have that live performance of his Requiem from Vienna - at the exact time of his demise - on CD (as well as several 'new discoveries', all on CD), no doubt there will be lots more of the same for dear ol' Beethoven in five years' time. The only problem, of course, is that he never composed a Requiem........(maybe Verdi's will do? - big and full of sound and fury, as befits B whistle)


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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
The other Canadian pianists Glenn Gould & Angela Hewitt are known for their performances of Bach pieces.

Gould's 1958 recording of Op. 110 is a classic.

Just curious: What does your comment pertain to?


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Originally Posted by SiFi
[quote=thepianoplayer416]The other Canadian pianists Glenn Gould & Angela Hewitt are known for their performances of Bach pieces.

The first time I listened to GG was in the 1980s after his recording of the Goldberg Variations from Aria to Aria. After that a couple of Bach fugues. I’m not exactly a Gould fan and don’t listen to his recordings much.

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It seems likely that they were planned for the anniversary year, and then postponed because of covid. I personally would be very happy with such a programme! A couple of days ago I heard Uchida accompanying Mark Padmore in a Beethoven and Schubert programme - "An die Ferne Geliebte" and "Schwanengesang". She was unbelievably good. I think you are in for a treat.

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Originally Posted by David-G
It seems likely that they were planned for the anniversary year, and then postponed because of covid. I personally would be very happy with such a programme! A couple of days ago I heard Uchida accompanying Mark Padmore in a Beethoven and Schubert programme - "An die Ferne Geliebte" and "Schwanengesang". She was unbelievably good. I think you are in for a treat.
I think you're right that these were planned for the anniversary year, but there are 29 other Beethoven sonatas they could have programmed. In any case, I'm definitely going to the Uchida recital because she's one of my favorite pianists. I'm also definitely going to the Jeremy Denk recital because he always has something interesting to say, both musically and verbally (he usually addresses the audience).


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