|Cover of Levit, Beethoven, Late Sonatas|
One of the things I have admired about Igor Levit is how he launched his recording career: with four double CD sets. The five late piano sonatas by Beethoven, followed by the six partitas of Bach, followed by a collection of three variations: the Goldbergs of Bach, the Diabelli of Beethoven and the big set by Rzewski (actually, that's three CDs) and then the Preludes and Fugues in all the keys by Shostakovich. Whew, after that, a lot of pianists would just retire. This is what you record at the end of your career, not the beginning.
Anyway, here is the Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major by Beethoven in a live performance by Igor Levit from Wigmore Hall:
Would it be inappropriate to note that Beethoven re-invented the design of the piano sonata with every one he composed? This one is in three movements:
- Vivace ma non troppo (compressed first movement in under four minutes--he establishes the tonic, states the first theme and modulates to the dominant, all in the first seven seconds or so)
- Prestissimo (one of Beethoven's brilliant scherzos)
- Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung (Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo) --six transcendent variations which take up two thirds of the length of the sonata