the late sonatas of Beethoven‏

by richibi

"Music" - Gustav Klimt

Music (1895)

Gustav Klimt


the last three sonatas of Beethoven have
always seemed to me a progression, the
first two being sketches for the third,
however accomplished these earlier ones
might’ve individually nevertheless been

they are not often heard chronologically,
pianists will usually play the full 32 in a
more representative order, some early,
some middle, some late Beethoven, as
they do, not unreasonably, in even less
comprehensive performances

but it’s instructive to hear them played
in a row

let me point out that the Hammerklavier“,
the piano sonata right before them, opus
, had already pronounced, with the
authority of the very Ten Commandments,
the purview of the piano, and by extension
the possibilities inherent in Western music,
or any music, for that matter, yet there was
more to come from this prophet, this
Nietzschean superman

the last sonata, the 32nd, the opus 111, is
his testament, a work of the utmost majesty,
humanity, and reflection, not only a
masterpiece but a prayer, a transcendence,
a musical rendition of the resurrection

this is what I heard one recent Sunday
night at a recital in the city

here are the three by, however, another
pianist, for the performer I saw wasn’t
available on the Internet, but these are
equally, if not even more, effective,
though the player, a youth still, is a boy
putting on a man’s shoes, audibly, they
are not, however, save for that karmic
insufficiency, a bad at all fit, bad is
never so inspiring

note the short, fast, explosive second
movements in both the 109 and 110,
prefiguring the first movement of 111

note how the last movement of the last
, instead of merely rendering
what had been considered beautiful
music, as in 109 and 110, breaks
through into a quite other dimension,
an irresistible level spirituality, a
transcendental elevation, an ascension,
a sublime trajectory for the secular age
which ‘d follow

there still hasn’t been heard anything
quite as profound