On the Sixth Concert

April 18, 2013

We are now in the concluding stages of the Beethoven Complete Sonatas Concerts. The remaining three concerts will become increasingly complex, with the emotionally charged Pathétique and Appassionata sonatas, and following these will be the Hammerklavier (7th concert) as well as the final three sonatas (8th concert).

Before any concert, but particularly before performing Beethoven, I compare various editions of the score to think about the phrasing, tone and tempo that Beethoven was striving for. This is a conscious, intellectual task that involves things like listening to my own recordings and writing down my thoughts.

During a concert, however, I discard everything I’ve thought and practiced up until that point (and I also try to approach recordings with a similar mentality as in live concerts). This is because my thoughts are already etched within my fingers. As the power of my focus increases and my entire soul is directed to the essence of the piece, I suddenly become aware of my subconscious self. The route by which profound emotions slowly lead, maze-like, to the climax is, I believe, created by the very existence of excitement within the venue and music itself. The Appassionata is a prime example of such moments, with tempestuous eruptions that unfold.

So far, we have enjoyed the many facets of Beethoven, from the joyous to the highly spiritual and also to revolutionary sonatas, but this time, I hope to immerse myself in the ultimate emotion of confronting despair and madness.