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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beethoven's 'Hammerklavier'

I just enrolled in Eric Wagner's Maybe Logic Academy course of Schroedinger's Cat, and I noticed that   Eric's course outline asks members of the class to listen to Beethoven's piano sonata, Opus 106, the "Hammerklavier" at least once a week. RAW wrote a lot about Beethoven, and I've noticed that he seemed to be particularly fond of the symphonies and of the Hammerklavier.

I can't point to a free source for the symphonies,  but there are credible live, free recordings of the Hammerklavier online, including one by Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen at the wonderful music library of chamber music performances at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston; the link to download the recording is here. (One oddity of this particular file is that although the Web site identifies the performer as Jumpannen, the tag on the file identifies the pianist as Jeremy Denk. I asked Gardner spokesman Michael Busack about this, and he replied, "This is tricky as they have both played the Hammerklavier here at the museum in 2008, but Paavali’s recording is the one that we featured on the website.")

Another recording is available from my favorite music blog, Boom's Dungeon. He recommends a live recording by Martina Filjak, writing, "Her Hammerklavier is bracing and propulsive, yet there is always a singing quality to her melodic lines, and the tone never becomes brittle or harsh even in fortissimos. With its flowing tempo the Adagio emerges as a wistful elegy instead of a funereal dirge, and the music only gains from the underlying subtle sense of urgency." For the URL to download the recording, see Boom's entry in the comments.


michael said...

Just thought I'd throw this in:

Bernstein Breaks Down Beethoven:

Just think: this was on TV, when there were only 4 channels or whatever.

Eric Wagner said...

Bravo. I can't wait for the class. I love the Hammerklavier.

I just had the thought: what if we had an election about various models of quantum mechanics? I can imagine the negative ads slurring the Copenhagen Intepretation.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Would the negative ad say, "It seems as if the Copenhagen interpretation is probably wrong if you observe it a certain way"?

michael said...

"Don't let socialist Old Europe determine the indeterminacy of something as wonderful as quantum mechanics. Reject the Copenhagen on Tuesday and affirm American values by voting for the Everett/Wheeler Graham Model."

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...


I will check out the Beethoven link. Classical music folks gripe that classical music used to be on network TV and has been consigned to the "arts ghetto."

Hate to sound like a "homer" but one of my favorite Beethoven essays is the one RAW wrote for "The Illuminati Papers."

Thanks for the negative ad, will Tweet right now.

Anonymous said...

If you find that you really connect with Beethoven piano works, then you might really enjoy the Opus 111 sonata. Also listen closely to the string quartets. You can follow the progression of his inner life from the early Rasomovsky group (7-8-9) to the famously deep and touching later group (14-15-16) which includes some of his last work.