Piano Recital II
Charity Concert András Schiff
Piano Recital II
30 years IPPNW – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
Charity concert for the benefit of IPPNW
As a challenge – not just fulfilling the requirements of a set of rules but an opportunity to re-interpret tradition – this was how Beethoven viewed the piano sonata. The classical iconoclast knew how to surprise and astonish his jaded listeners by torpedoing their expectations. “I don’t play for such swine”, Beethoven is reputed to have exclaimed, referring to the custom in his day of presenting music as an atmospheric background to banquets and card games. Accordingly, Beethoven bemused audiences in his Piano Sonata Op. 109 by turning customary conditions topsy-turvy.
Compared with his striking predecessor, Franz Schubert had a hard time in this genre displaying both character and individuality. He completed only twelve of the 22 sonatas he started. On freer forms like the impromptu and fantasia, which were not dominated by Beethoven, Schubert was able to put his own distinctive stamp. In the first edition, his Sonata in G major was called “Fantasie, Andante, Menuetto and Allegro” in order not to bewilder Schubert’s public with the liberties he allowed himself.
Béla Bartók also proved that wholly new content could be unfolded on the backcloth of a sonata. In his Piano Sonata, the composer and ethnomusicologist drew upon characteristic features of Hungarian folk music as building blocks for a radical modern style. The forces that drive this sonata are no longer based on the elements of traditional classical structure.
Leoš Janáček, uncompromising and idiosyncratic in his music, placed his piano sonata subtitled “From the Street, 1 October 1905” in the service of an extra-musical idea and limited himself to just two movements. The sonata is funeral music with a political background. Janáček wrote the piece under the deep impression made by a nationalist conflict in Brno: during a demonstration, a young Czech worker was killed by a soldier’s bayonet.
The same genre approached in completely different ways: to do justice to these four pieces on a single programme, each of which represents a microcosm in itself, demands technical flexibility, mastery, sensitivity and a great deal of experience. The Hungarian pianist András Schiff is richly endowed with all these qualities.
Begrüßung durch Peter Hauber
Ludwig van Beethoven [1770–1827]
Sonate für Klavier Nr. 30 E-Dur op. 109 
Béla Bartók [1881–1945]
Sonate für Klavier Sz 80 
Leoš Janáček [1854–1928]
Sonate 1.x.1905 »Von der Straße« 
Franz Schubert [1797–1828]
Sonate für Klavier G-Dur D 894 op. 78