On the Final Concert

August 31, 2014

Our journey with Beethoven has finally reached its end. This project has been a major challenge for me as a musician transitioning from her 20s to her 30s and growing as a person. And I really wanted audiences to become increasingly familiar with Beethoven.

While on this journey, I feel I was not only able to see Beethoven’s conflict, but also my own. Precisely because they are the works of a great composer, there was much scope for me to think, delve deeply and search, and with each consecutive concert or recording, I discovered many things.

For example, it took time for the overall character of the second movement of my beloved Sonata No. 7 to appear, even though I was already able to express and sing its fine nuances. Thus I learned the importance of how the gravity of the entire movement and how its profound appeal were finally conveyed.

It has also sunk in that in the quest to pursue Beethoven’s messages, one needs to pay extreme attention not only to the score’s dynamics and pedal specifications in minute detail, but to things which are not even written into the score. And the more I immerse myself in Beethoven’s world, the more absorbed I become, gaining a greater insight into the importance of balancing thoughts and emotions in order to convey this world. During the previous concert’s Hammerklavier, I feel I came closer to accomplishing the work by considering the performance of such a masterpiece and its structure, and by pushing myself through the limits of struggling emotions in what can be said to be ultimate suffering.

Following the conflict and complex development of the Hammerklavier sonata came the creation of the three final sonatas, and they encompass a sense of the composer having gone through multiple stages of change and finally having the ability to view himself from afar, almost as though he had returned to his origins. The culmination of all his earlier conflict was instrumental in allowing such exquisite results… I myself have yet to reach such a stage, but if I allow myself to stretch the wings of my imagination to their fullest, I think there may just be the seed of a flower that I might well discover, decades from now.

This concludes our journey through the piano sonatas, but it is, in fact, also the start of a new journey. I plan on performing all of Beethoven’s works that include the piano as my ‘life’s work’, and I hope to be able to embark on this new journey with all of you!