Author Topic: Op 110  (Read 497 times)

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Offline Holden

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Op 110
« on: October 05, 2017, 01:23:50 AM »
The Serkin thread gave me the impetus to listen to a number of different recordings of the LvB Op 110. I have grown to love this sonata as one of the best things that Beethoven ever wrote for piano though YMMV.

I was very impressed with the Serkin from the unreleased edition but I also have great recordings by Pollini and of course Myra Hess. In a recent poll I voted Richter's live performance from 1963 in Leipzig as my overall favourite and listening to it now it still stands the test of time for me.

Any others that should be heard? The Serkin performance is very different from Richter's in many ways. What other discoveries are out there. I won't post a list of recordings that I have so that recommendations cover a wide range.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 01:25:21 AM by Holden »
Cheers

Holden

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 02:17:17 AM »
I'm don't focus as much on Op 110, as Op 109 is my favorite. But since I have a bunch of those, I naturally have a number of Op 110 performances. One performance of Op 110 that I like is Kovacevich (the Philips version, I have not heard the EMI). One recent recording that has been praised highly is Perrotta. I liked it quite a bit too. But it is tricky to track down at a decent price. I have no idea how either of these compare to your favorites.
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 02:39:56 AM »
I don't really like any of Richter's because of his strangely slow tempo for the second movement (granted, that movement is not really the most important thing about that sonata).
Gilels/DG is a slow (not in the 2nd mvmt.), grand and powerful reading, one of the best of his cycle (I think there used to be a single galleria disc containing op.109 and 110 among others, but one might have to get the whole box nowadays.) As most late Gilels it is very controlled and "classicist". I wonder what the most "free", fantasia-like readings are.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 11:05:20 AM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Todd

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 06:40:37 AM »
Last century: Gieseking (EMI), A Fischer, Kempff (DG mono), Silverman (Orpheum), Levinas, Serkin (stereo), Pollini

This century: Anderszewski, Crawford, Jumppanen, DM Lim, Perrotta, Pienaar, Hewitt
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 06:55:09 AM »
I don't really like any of Richter's because his strangely slow temp for the second movement (granted, that movement is not really the most important thing about that sonata).
Gilels/DG is a slow (not in the 2nd mvmt.), grand and powerful reading, one of the best of his cycle (I think there used to be a single galleria disc containing op.109 and 110 among others, but one might have to get the whole box nowadays.) As most late Gilels it is very controlled and "classicist". I wonder what the most "free", fantasia-like readings are.

Exactly, the Scherzo is supposed to be a conglomerate of two German folk tunes.  One is about a cat having kittens and the other saying I am a slob, you are a slob (Hope the translation is OK of "Ich bin lüderlich".) So it's supposed to be a comic relief. I haven't found the ideal recording of this sonata, although Richter is high on the list except for this movement.  Myra Hess, I find too romantic in her approach. She is also too serious in this movement.

I actually broke my head over many years studying this piece, put it aside many times in utter frustration. In the end, I think an intervallic approach is the key. Schiff explains that op. 109 is based on a descending (or ascending) third. For whatever it's worth, I believe that the ascending 4th is important and descending 2nds. When the 2nds are inverted they unleash a lot of energy as in the end of the exposition and the recapitulation. Such an approach prevents from over-romanticising. Having been brought up on Hess, that was my original mistake.
"I write to discover what I know."
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 11:21:52 AM »
I think I encountered that story with the folk (or maybe rather some kind of popular ditty that would have been called a "broadside" in 17th century London) songs only in Schiff's lecture.
They are apparently in dialect and while the first one "Unser Katz hat Kätzerln g'hobt" (our cat has had kittens) fits to the beginning, I am not entirely convinced by "Ich bin lüderlich, Du bist lüderlich, wir sind alle lüderlich" because one has to stress the words strangely: ich BIN lüderlich, du BIST lüderlich,... for the second theme.
It would be "liederlich" in modern standard German, it is an old-fashioned word that is hardly used and today could mean merely untidy or lazy but the connotation in Beethoven's time is also slovenly but probably more licentious, slutty. 150 years before Beethoven, Biber calls one movement of his Battaglia that describes the revels of the drunken soldiers singing out of tune
"die liederliche Gesellschaft von allerley Humor"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0ek8ihZOZQ

Anyway, even more than for us today that movement must have been not merely a comic relief, but almost shocking in its crudeness and the associations of these trivial tunes add to that.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 12:07:25 PM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline George

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 11:29:41 AM »
This is my favorite Beethoven sonata. My favorite performance is Rudolf Serkin, 1960, from the Unreleased Sony set. 
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline George

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 11:31:20 AM »
I don't really like any of Richter's because of his strangely slow tempo for the second movement (granted, that movement is not really the most important thing about that sonata).
Gilels/DG is a slow (not in the 2nd mvmt.), grand and powerful reading, one of the best of his cycle (I think there used to be a single galleria disc containing op.109 and 110 among others, but one might have to get the whole box nowadays.)

Getting the whole Gilels DG Beethoven set would be a wise move.
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2017, 01:39:55 PM »
John Khouri plays the first movement fast compared with other pianists I've heard. And he plays the second movement in a shockingly crude way.

In the final movement you have these sublime free form sections, in a sort of tension with the two fugues, the way he plays the fugues makes them sound like a dancing  rejection of the sublime.

Those 10 or so repeated chords before the second fugue, I wonder what they're about. Are there precidents for that gesture? What I'm really getting at is, how much of the music is conventional?

« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 01:47:44 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2017, 09:06:59 PM »
I just listened to Daniel Barenboim, quite good and well balanced in this piece.
"I write to discover what I know."
 ― Flannery O'Connor

Offline amw

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2017, 09:23:59 PM »
It would be "liederlich" in modern standard German, it is an old-fashioned word that is hardly used and today could mean merely untidy or lazy but the connotation in Beethoven's time is also slovenly but probably more licentious, slutty.
The anecdote goes that during the time Beethoven was working on the last three piano sonatas and Missa Solemnis, he took to wandering the streets of Vienna at odd hours and his overall appearance was so disheveled and unkempt that he was arrested for disorderly conduct. Upon protesting that he was Beethoven, the officer assumed he was also drunk, scornfully replying that he was the Emperor of Austria or something. Beethoven eventually had to call for one of his patrons to bail him out. Therefore to make light of the incident Beethoven worked the song into his sonata. Almost certainly an apocryphal story but his life was in quite a bit of disarray at this time due to a bad financial situation/economic crisis in Vienna post-Napoleonic wars/not able to maintain a housekeeper/moving frequently/etc.

Those 10 or so repeated chords before the second fugue, I wonder what they're about. Are there precidents for that gesture?
With the una corda pedal it creates a sonority not used before and not replicable on a modern piano—i.e. playing loudly but on one string, a sort of dull thud. According to Rosen Beethoven probably had enough hearing left in the extreme registers at this point to know what he was doing.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Op 110
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2017, 04:23:27 AM »
The new Mosaiques cd has made me see how coherent the non-romantic conception of late Beethoven is, that's why I was interested in Khouri's  rejection of the sublime. The romantics often have a problem with Beethoven's final movements/ variations.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

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