On the Third Concert – Love and Mankind

September 2, 2011

Having embarked on the Complete Sonatas Series, we are already on the third concert. The theme this time is ‘love’.

The biggest reason I am drawn to Beethoven’s sonatas is that every sonata requires the ultimate of emotions and humanity.

Sonatas No. 9, 10 and 27 exhibit a conflict between ‘the two principles of interactive format’, with Beethoven having specifically said of No. 27 that its subject is “a struggle between the head and the heart”. Contradictory elements do indeed conflict – do they depict the dual nature within man, or perhaps a quarrel with someone? I personally see Beethoven encountering obstacles such as the pain of forbidden love and self-conflict within pure expressions of love. The candid expression of universal human emotions such as ill temper, kindness and playfulness are a distinct appeal of Beethoven. To full-heartedly yet naturally perform each and every individual note of these three seemingly simple sonatas will be my new mission.

Following the intermission, I will be performing the two sonatas that Beethoven himself headed ‘Quasi una fantasia’. What does quasi una fantasia mean? It does not simply connote that he has departed somewhat from the sonata form; if one thinks of the subject of the works, I think they require the fantasy-like imagination of the Romantic period. From the impromptu nature of No. 13, and the enigmatic yet explosive emotions far removed from the human world depicted in No. 14, one can feel the world of imagination, or even a cosmic space. Furthermore, these two sonatas were both dedicated to women, but rather than having a feminine melody, they seem in places to exude sweet sentiments, as though Beethoven himself were seeking consolation from women.

Although life may be filled with conflict, mankind is saved by ‘love’ – and this is the message I feel one can sense through the music. Love of music, love of mankind, love of nature – Beethoven always teaches us the importance of genuinely expressing our feelings.