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Cavaconcert: Beethoven 1802

Klassieke muziek


The year 1802 was very special for Beethoven in both his private life and his compositional process. That autumn, Beethoven penned the letter now known as the "Heiligenstadt testament", in which he clearly struggles with his private life. In the same period, referring to his compositions, Beethoven told his friend Wenzel Krumpholz that he was only little satisfied with his previous works, and ... Lees meer »

The year 1802 was very special for Beethoven in both his private life and his compositional process. That autumn, Beethoven penned the letter now known as the "Heiligenstadt testament", in which he clearly struggles with his private life. In the same period, referring to his compositions, Beethoven told his friend Wenzel Krumpholz that he was only little satisfied with his previous works, and was planning to take a “new path”. After this declaration, he wrote the Three Sonatas, Op.31 (including the Tempest sonata) and the Eroica variations Op. 35, that indeed show innovative writing compared to his previous works in his use of form and unexpected variation technique, among other things.

“About 10 years ago, one short phone call unexpectedly led me to a very special meeting with an original Viennese five-and-a-half-octave fortepiano built by Frère et Sœur Stein (Vienna, 1802). Though it was not playable at that time, looking at this instrument carefully, I felt strongly attracted to its simple but refined design. Slender hammer shanks formed beautiful lines, looking somehow dynamic despite their delicateness. For days I continuously wondered about it, and tried to imagine the sound of this instrument. This piano had definitely left me with an unforgettable sort of fragrance. Finally I asked for it to be restored, and officially became the owner of this instrument. After its restoration in 2011, I finally played on it for the first time and heard its voice. It’s impossible to put into words how excited I was. This was the start of my own ‘new path’ with this instrument. Working on it has been a big challenge for me, but even so it has remained a great joy and inspiration.” (Keiko)

The piano company Frère et Sœur Stein was founded in 1794 by the siblings Nanette and Matthäus Andreas Stein. They were the daughter and son of Johann Andreas Stein, who himself was a maker of pianos about which Mozart was very enthusiastic, and they strictly followed the tradition of their father's technique. Frère et Sœur Stein continued until 1802, when Matthäus Andreas broke away to start a business for himself, as the philosophy for building pianos began to change towards creating more volume. The fortepiano used for this recording is one of the last pianos the Steins built together and reflects the pinnacle of design from that time: a perfect balance of mechanism and proportions resulting in an exquisite tone colour throughout the registers. It differs from most other Viennese instruments of the same period, as it does not have a‘back check’ (which captures the hammer after hitting the strings to prevent the hammer from bouncing).

“Trying to control this instrument without a back check has been one of the biggest challenges for me. If I hit the key even a little too hard, the hammer bounces back immediately and hits the strings twice. On the other hand, when played correctly, the action is very smooth. Playing softly, it feels as if the individual notes melt into each other and light up the chords' characters. “Unlike any other composer Beethoven excels at bringing to light and putting to full use the characteristics and special features of the fortepiano...but one needs to have a very good instrument to play the various movements, as for example the whole of the first movement, to some level of satisfaction. 

The friendship between Beethoven and the piano builder Nanette Streicher (née Stein) is well known. It cannot be underestimated how much Nanette’s knowledge as a piano builder and technician contributed to Beethoven’s music. With these facts in mind, I have collected Beethoven’s piano works written and published around 1802 to make the first recording on this instrument, made in the same year, by Frère et Sœur Stein. This instrument has been revived by the restorer Sietse Kok. His process of restoration first went through an intensive research into this instrument to unravel the piano making methods of Frère et Sœur Stein. Based on this concept, he first made a replica of the instrument, then finally restored the original. I am immensely grateful for his wonderful work.” (Keiko)




Program

Piano sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op.31-2 ‘The Tempest’

Piano sonata No.14 in C sharp minor Quasi una fantasia, Op.27-2 ‘Moonlight Sonata’

15 Variations and a fugue on an original theme for piano in E flat major, Op.35 ‘Eroica Variations’

 

Keiko Shichijo
cc Deurne Podium
Frans Messingstraat 36
2100 Deurne
zondag 29 november 2020om 11:00
cultuurcentrum Deurne | CC Deurne
gratis
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www.ccdeurne.be/nl/event/71712/beetho...