Before and after
Towards the end of the 19th century, thanks to entrepreneurs such as Edison, sound recordings became available, and the facts and legends about the performances of famous pianists could be separated from each other.
You can hear Brahms, born in 1833, albeit faintly, from a cylinder recorded in 1889. Among the other pianists who can record, Pugno was born in 1852, Paderewski 1860, Rosenthal and Sauer 1862, Rachmaninoff 1872, Hofmann 1876.
What about the 18th century? For example, Beethoven; How would he perform his works?
The fact that we do not have any audio recordings to answer this question should not lead to the conclusion that we will never be able to get an idea about the subject.
Anton Felix Schindler, who was with the famous composer in the last ten years, not only served as Beethoven's secretary, but also became his student.
Composer's "The Beethoven I know” can be translated into Turkish as (Beethoven As I Knew HimSchindler, who also wrote his biography titled ) has included a very detailed performance analysis in addition to anecdotes about his life.
Schonberg, one of the music critics of The New York Times, criticized the fact that many pianists were unaware of this source and analysis despite this easily available biography in his book titled “The Great Pianists”.
Schindler's Foreword and Aftermath
I will endeavor to explain how Beethoven performed the two piano sonatas found in Op.14, as words permit.
Beethoven's wonderful performance while playing these two compositions was a kind of musical oratory. A distinctive performance that separates the contrasting colors of the sonata form, like nuances that make you feel like a dialogue is split into two parts by a good speaker with a flexible voice!
Op.14 / 2
The Allegro opening, which began with excitement and spirit, was tempered in the sixth measure and the following passage:
Here is a light ritardandowould serve as a preliminary to the gentle presentation of the theme.
The execution of this section was gracefully shaded, and in the following measures,
The vivid colors created by Beethoven's soft and floating touch combined with his habit of holding down certain notes fascinated the listener.
In the following hex-note groups,
He played the fourth note of each band with strong emphasis, adding a delightful expression to the entire sentence.
When it comes to the following chromatic run, it returns to the original tempo and maintains this tempo until it reaches the passage below;
To this extent, the pace andantino it would turn to the bass and clearly emphasize the third notes you marked at the top of the harmony.
At the ninth measure, he would accentuate the bass remarkably, finishing the following cadence at the original tempo, which he maintained until the first repetition.
In the second part, Beethoven uses the A flat major expression in the two measures immediately preceding it. He served it with ritardando. By emphasizing this expression strongly, he would leave colorful sparkles on the whole painting.
He would strongly emphasize the first notes of the following section in the treble, and keep the note durations longer, slightly exceeding the duration of the notes, to form a fascinating sentence…
His left hand, on the other hand, played the bass with a slightly increased softness, with a crawling motion over the keys. located in the ending measure of the next passage decreasing necessarily a ritardando would accompany.
The new sentence below andante it started at pace.
5. a weak accelerando and a rise in tone would be heard, returning to the original tempo in measure 6. The rest of the first episode would continue at the same pace as the rest of it did at the beginning.
Beethoven prepared these small tempo differences tremendously, captivating the audience in his presentation. If I could express myself correctly, he would precisely blend the colors together quite elegantly.
These elegant tempo touches, which may sound meaningless, but do not contain any characteristic features made to bring the artist himself and his work to the fore, were the kind that advised the audience, who could feel the spirit of the first part, not to repeat the first part.
Op.14 / 1
I would like to explain on a few measures about the performance of the other sonata in E major (Op.14).
First Allegro in measure 8 and 9 of the section,
he would lower the tempo, press the keys harder, and hold the notes I marked longer. In this way, he added an indescribable sincerity to the piece.
to the 10th extent,
would return to the original tempo, maintaining strong accents.
The next measure
Home decreasing It was also played a little slower, and the same principle would continue in the following 12th and 13th measures.
In the presentation of the middle section,
The conversation became emotional. Your common pace andante although it was not maintained regularly; always the previous principle is introduced, it was thought to be a slight pause in the first notes:
If the following is
It would express a joyful mood. The original tempo of the sonata was returned and continued until the end of the first section.
The second part, from the following measure,
It was performed with increasing freedom and breadth. Increased intonation, elegant pianissimo would remain in its shadow, the obvious dialogue would materialize effortlessly.
the second part allegretto by Beethoven allegro furioso would be interpreted as
In the following chord sequence,
It would pause for quite some time. He'd be back at his pace in the sequel.
Greater His pace was moderately moderate. Beethoven would have phrased this place quite nicely. He would not add a single note, but would use accents.
On the subject of emphasis, I must say that small (bumping) notes (appoggiaturas) would significantly add strength. He used this especially in minor duos.
Sonata Rondo In the second part, Beethoven kept the tempo. In the first and third stop measurements, He used to do ritardando.
In the two sonatas in Beethoven, Op.14, the first sonata, Op. 2 (F minor), Op. In 10, in the Pathetique Sonata (Op.13), in the Moonlight Sonata (Op.27), he would change the tempo according to the change of emotions in the performance of almost every movement.
Schonberg, Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present, Simon & Schuster; Revised, Updated edition (June 15, 1987)